This film is part of Free

On Foreign Newsfronts

Featuring dramatic footage of the Battle of Britain, this film looks at the war in Europe from the point of view of American foreign correspondents and their mission to tell the truth.

1940 19 mins


This March of Time film’s dramatic opening - the New York Times rolling off the printing presses and being loaded into vans bearing the slogan ‘Complete Reliable News from Europe’ - sets the tone for this bold look at the first year of the war. Featuring prominent journalists such as William Stoneman and Otto Tolischus (seen recreating his expulsion from Germany for the cameras) the film is notable for its pro-British angle at a time when many Americans were taking an isolationist stance.

A companion piece to the ‘Newsfronts of War 1940’ issue, this film from September 1940 also looks at the newsgathering process, but this time focuses more explicitly on the reporters and editors responsible for sorting facts from propaganda. Genuine documentary footage - such as Arthur Menken’s footage of the Battle of Britain, filmed at Dover - forms the meat of the issue but a sprinkling of scenes recreated for the cameras add an element of more intimate human drama to the broad brush narrative. The scene where CBS journalist George Fielding Eliot interviews a clueless French colonel about his army’s preparedness has the authentic March of Time touch, making an emphatic point with a smidgen of humour.