The newsreel produced primarily between the 1911 and 1967 was a short collection of non -fiction stories compiled on a single reel of film. Besides covering the theatrical programs and feature films, the newsreel covered an assortment of events and stories of human interest, which were mainly, directed at a national audience. During this time, a number of countries produced newsreels for their own domestic purposes. Newsreels were regarded as a form of entertainment in times of peace and gaining national significance as a primary source of news images of combat during the World War II.
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During times of peace, the shorts shown before a theatrical feature provided the viewer with diverse forms of entertainment. However, during the World War II, newsreels content was dominated by topics related to war. It also served several essential functions, for civilians which included dramatization of news, its spread in an effort to unite people. A large amount of the total content in the newsreels was solely devoted to war news. In a nutshell, we can argue that the ostensible content of newsreel was informational, but it seems the real purpose was to dramatize news. For example, during the World War II, newsreels provided visual spectacle of topics reported in the radios and newspapers. In addressing the audience in their context, newsreels adopted many and diverse narrative techniques.
The newsreels at that time did not serve as the only source of news for Americans news, but rather a medium through which cinematic interpretation of the events of the day were presented. However, newsreel came to fall owing to multiple factors such as censorship, reduced industry competition, and the television which was gaining popularity contributed a great deal to the collapse of the medium (Fielding 53). From the very beginning of its existence until 1967 when it collapsed, newsreel faced a dilemma of whether to entertain or inform. The fall of New York's embassy Newsreel Theatre dawned on newsreel companies that competition from television news is a force to reckon. It, therefore, started to provide footage to television stations. It is not only newsreel that suffered from television popularity, but overall film industry panicked over the box office sales that suffered a great deal.
Newsreel has affected fictional combat films in a number of ways. The issues of race, suppressed messages, and prejudice which characterized World War II is still dominant in today's films. In films that are about war in Europe, Hollywood tends to present a conflict between systems of government which are fascism and democracy. On the other hand, films that were about war in the pacific often cast out a conflict in terms of mitigated racial terror. Americas entertainment industry depicts soldiers who are entirely male, demonstrates a repressed level of tension. This is a characteristic which is still prominent in Hollywood.
Modern combat films have been affected significantly by the evolution of televised news coverage of combat with World War II, equally providing the best of times and the worst of times in the film industry. It was a period characterized by challenges, change, accomplishments, and uncertainty about Hollywood and its prospects. American cinema has influenced audience allover the world through its motion pictures. American filmmaking industry involves both art and industry, and the deeper understanding of both concepts creates a savvy and critical viewer (Doherty 23). Film is an artistic creation that reflects on society; react to change, and an expression of people's relationship to the world around us.
In conclusion, this paper has looked into how newsreel was critical in World War II, how they influenced fictional combat film, and lastly how modern combat films affect television news coverage of combat.