Follow TV Tropes

Following

Newsreel

Go To

A news programme shown in cinemas. These were almost always in black and white. Many of them had a propaganda element to them, subtle or blatant. To give a fictional example of the latter:

"Comrades, the mighty Red Army continues to crush the evil fascists. The brave men of the Rodina have now taken Warsaw and liberated Poland from their evil grip. Casualties were heavy, but the Red Army prevailed."

Advertisement:

A fictional example of the former:

"Soviet troops enter Warsaw. The people of Warsaw cheer the end of Nazi tyranny and the restoration of freedom."

Pretty notorious even in their own day for being flamboyantly censored and emotionally manipulative (edging dangerously close to Documentary of Lies territory in some cases), and for often outright ignoring "troubling" topics in favor of "cute" human-interest stories.

Faded away in the 1950s and 1960s due to the rise of TV network news, and often mocked up in period pieces. The last documented newsreel in the Western world, Polygoon, was screened in The Netherlands in 1987, while Japan's Yomiuri International News ran as late as 1997.

See also Propaganda Piece.


Advertisement:

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime 
  • Space Battle Ship Yamato 2199 has Captain Okita watching a newsreel about first contact during one episode. The official story does not quite match the memories of those who were present, especially on the question of who shot first.

     Film (Animated) 

     Film (Live Action) 
  • In the Monty Python movie And Now For Something Completely Different, during the World's Funniest Joke sketch, a British newsreel introduction is briefly used, with John Cleese's narration leading to the military applications of the Killer Joke.
  • Citizen Kane has one of the earliest (if not the earliest) examples of an in-movie fake newsreel. Furthermore, Orson Welles had the company he worked for, RKO Pictures, use their own newsreel department to create it to make it look authentic.
  • In the 1966 film It Happened Here (in which Great Britain has been occupied by the Nazis), there is a newsreel showing a revisionist history of British/German relations. Chillingly, it is narrated by a well-known voice-over reader of the war years.
  • A League of Their Own uses the newsreel to promote the AAGPBL.
  • The 1978 Australian film Newsfront follows the workers of a fictional newsreel company during the late 1940s and early-mid 1950s as they deal with the challenges of their jobs, their own personal issues, and the political and social changes affecting the country (including the looming approach of Australian commercial television).
  • The movie Patton uses them as exposition. Although it was rather obvious that they were just there for exposition, it did fit the time period, as newsreels were common.
  • Used in the pre-title scene of Race for the Yankee Zephyr (1981) to introduce the titular WW2 aircraft and its cargo (a shipment of medals, booze, and $50 million in gold). The B&W footage of the aircraft ends with smoke pouring from its engine and the pilot looking out the window in alarm, then it vanishes into the clouds, setting up the contemporary events of the film when the crashed plane is discovered.
  • In The Rocketeer, Cliff and Jenny see a newsreel that talks about a German zeppelin on a tour of the continental US.
  • Parodied in Starship Troopers.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a newsreel provides Eddie Valiant with a crucial clue in solving the Acme murder.
Advertisement:

     Literature 

     Live Action TV 
  • Every episode of the 1970s World War II TV series Baa Baa Black Sheep (aka Black Sheep Squadron) opened with a faux newsreel. The images were authentic but the voiceover was modern, settting up the action for the episode.
  • Get Smart: In "The Secret of Sam Vittorio", Max and 99 must impersonate a notorious Outlaw Couple from The '30s, and are shown newsreel footage of their exploits.
  • JAG: The first 20 seconds of "Port Chicago" begins with an authentic Paramount News Reel.
  • Used occasionally in M*A*S*H, either to place an episode's plot during a specific historical event (clips of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics were used during one episode where the 4077th held their own Olympics) or to hammer home a point on how popular media tended to gloss over the ugliness of war (contrasting the harsh realities of life near the front line with footage of a dance contest or a cat who can play table tennis).
  • Private Schulz uses these for exposition purposes during the series, which takes place throughout and after World War II.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: As with It Happened Here, Part Two of "Storm Front", which takes place in an Alternate Timeline where Nazi Germany is winning World War II, begins with a fake newsreel showing Adolf Hitler touring an occupied New York City.
    • While most of the footage was digitally constructed or altered, there was a piece of actual historical footage included - the Nazi rally in front of a full-body portrait of George Washington uses seldom-seen images of a real rally in 1939 by the German-American Bund.
  • The Mickey Mouse Club had a newsreel that reported subjects about science, nature, culture and activities involving children, as well as showcasing material related to Disneyland and the Walt Disney Studios.

     Video Games 
  • StarCraft concludes the Brood War Terran campaign with a newsreel, with all the propaganda elements they could fit in.
    • Before all that there was the UNN which was used by the Confederacy/Dominion as a propaganda machine to promote pro-faction news, and to label Sons of Korhal/Raynor as terrorists.
  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor starts with a mock newsreel of the propaganda-heavy variety. (It's entitled "Propaganda on Parade". Subtle.)

     Western Animation 
  • The first few episodes of Animaniacs began with a newsreel setting up the Back Story of the Warners.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! has two newsreels in the episode "Meet Captain America". The first shows how Captain America became a Super Soldier, then a hero for the Allies. The second plays after Cap becomes a Human Popsicle, and announces that he has fallen in battle.
  • Old-timey newsreels are apparently still attached to films in the 31st century of Futurama.
    Fry: Ooh, this is real futuristic!
  • The Legend of Korra begins every episode with a newsreel recap of the previous events.
  • In the The Scooby-Doo Show episode "The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller", the gang watches a newsreel at the Milo Booth film festival.
  • The Simpsons: Decades ago, Abe Simpson and one of his friends watched one showing Springfield as a "City on the Grow". Flash forward to the present time, showing those days of prosperity are over.
  • Used as the intro for Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as the TV series, sometimes overlapping with Previously On. It also has a "Thought for the Day", which is related to the episode's Aesop. It actually helps set the tone quite nicely in the case of the TV shows, more so than it does for the movie.
  • TaleSpin:
    • There's one in "From Here to Machinery" showing Shere Khan signing a contract buying new pilot robots.
    • "Whistlestop Jackson, Legend" also features Khan in a newsreel to set up his relationship with the titular character.

Top