This film is part of Free
Crime and Prisons
A strikingly liberal plea for prison reform and a view of the Anschluss seen through the lens of NBC’s news machine.
The case for prison reform in the USA is presented in characteristically dramatic March of Time style, as degrading tasks like rock-breaking are contrasted with a plea for meaningful work to rehabilitate young offenders. The vigorous look at Hitler’s return to Austria following the Anschluss, uses the dictator’s own words from Mein Kampf as a warning of further steps to the domination of Europe.
Both stories show March of Time’s bold style and confident use of the medium. Shots of a clergyman benignly watching prisoners play table-tennis illustrates the brio with which March of Time presents its arguments for reform: even as the commentary insists that the prison is not ‘coddling’ its inmates, the footage risks suggesting the opposite. Nazi Conquest No.1 depicts the Anschluss with a combination of genuine footage and a reconstruction of NBC’s on-the-spot report by Max Jordan in Vienna. The dramatic presentation of NBC’s scoop gives a heightened sense of immediacy to the crisis.