University of Nevada Press


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ISBN: 978-0-87417-186-0
Binding: [Hardcover]
Pages: 256
Publication date: 1992
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FDR's Moviemaker
Memoirs and Scripts
In the depths of the Great Depression, the U.S. Government produced a series of films about the pressing problems facing the nation—drought, flood, poverty, and slums. Starting with a minuscule initial budget of $6,000, Lorentz, a young film critic from New York who had never made a motion picture, was hired to head the project. As a result of the success of Lorentz’s first two films, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the U.S. Film Service in 1938. This book combines the autobiographical history of a creative communicator and pioneer documentary filmmaker with the full scripts of The Plow That Broke the Plains, The River, Ecce Homo, and The Fight for Life. Woven into Lorentz’s materials are previously unpublished communications from John Steinbeck and a narrative of the filmmaker’s friendship with that famous author.
"The films of Pare Lorentz are acknowledged masterpieces of world cinema. They are groundbreaking documentary records of our country in the hard years of the Depression."—William M. Drennen, Jr.

"FDR's Moviemaker [is] . . . a service to all who study—and value—America’s socially aware art of the 1930s.” -Robert DeMott, Steinbeck

“This is a valuable collection of some of the finest documentary work done in this country, and to have it together in one volume is not only a rich source for those interested in documentary film, but also a vivid, poetic, and unique perspective on the years of the American Depression leading up to World War II and the role of Roosevelt in these troubled times.” -Joanna E. Rapf, Dartmouth College