March 16 2015: One More Thought on That Inappropriate Clock

Considering the fact that both radio and newsreels of the late 1930s were rife with “reconstructions” of news events that were not identified as such, the indignant outrage directed at Rothstein is even more perplexing. Orson Welles got his start of the March of Time newsreels and broadcasts imitating FDR, Mussolini, and whoever else was called for. Oversees war footage for newsreels were routinely faked, to the point where the movies themselves made made fun of the practice. Check out a 1938 MGM comedy called Too Hot to Handle. Clark Gable plays an unscrupulous newsreel photographer covering the Japanese invasion of China. Reluctant to actually enter a war zone, Gable fakes all his footage using models, fireworks and wires. Did people hold still photography to a higher standard of verisimilitude? If so, why?

My comments on classmates’ posts here.


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