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Pare Lorentz

Pare Lorentz

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Also Known As: Died: March 5, 1992
Born: December 11, 1905 Cause of Death: heart failure
Birth Place: Clarksburg, West Virginia, USA Profession: filmmaker, screenwriter, political film advisor, journalist, film critic

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Journalist and film critic who made two landmark documentaries while serving as film advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt's US Resettlement Administration: "The Plow That Broke the Plains" (1936), about soil erosion in the West, and "The River" (1937), about flooding on the Mississippi. Despite Hollywood's resistance to Lorentz's subsidized films (the studios claimed unfair competition), his socially progressive work received widespread critical and popular support. In 1938, Lorentz was appointed head of the newly-formed US Film Service, a unit responsible for producing some noteworthy documentaries--including his dramatized study of infant and maternal mortality in America, "The Fight for Life" (1940)--before Congress withdrew its support in 1940.After a brief, unfruitful stint as a producer and director at RKO in Hollywood, Lorentz made over 200 short training films for the armed forces during WWII and oversaw the production of film, music and theater for re-education programs in the occupied countries after the war. He held two more government posts before setting up shop as a New York-based producer of commercial and industrial films in 1947, and lecturing on documentary filmmaking on the college...

Journalist and film critic who made two landmark documentaries while serving as film advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt's US Resettlement Administration: "The Plow That Broke the Plains" (1936), about soil erosion in the West, and "The River" (1937), about flooding on the Mississippi. Despite Hollywood's resistance to Lorentz's subsidized films (the studios claimed unfair competition), his socially progressive work received widespread critical and popular support. In 1938, Lorentz was appointed head of the newly-formed US Film Service, a unit responsible for producing some noteworthy documentaries--including his dramatized study of infant and maternal mortality in America, "The Fight for Life" (1940)--before Congress withdrew its support in 1940.

After a brief, unfruitful stint as a producer and director at RKO in Hollywood, Lorentz made over 200 short training films for the armed forces during WWII and oversaw the production of film, music and theater for re-education programs in the occupied countries after the war. He held two more government posts before setting up shop as a New York-based producer of commercial and industrial films in 1947, and lecturing on documentary filmmaking on the college circuit.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Nuremberg (1948) Compiler
2.
  The Fight for Life (1940) Director
3.
  The River (1937) Director

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

1924:
Moved to New York
1924:
Appointed editor of General Electric house magazine, the <i>Edison Mazda Lamp Sales Builder</i> (date approximate)
:
Worked briefly in national affairs bueau of <i>Newsweek</i>
:
Became film critic for <i>Judge Magazine</i>
1930:
Became film critic for <i>New York American</i>
:
Also wrote on film for New York <i>Evening Journal, Vanity Fair, Town and Country, Fortune</i> and <i>Story</i>
:
Wrote political column, "Washington Sideshow" which was syndicated by King Features publications
1935:
Hired by Rexford Tugwell, Undersecretary of Agriculture in the Resettlement Administration to advise on program of films to propagandize the department's policy; began work on "The Plow that Broke the Plains" as first of these films
1936:
Directed, wrote and produced first short film, "The Plow that Broke the Plains" (on a $10,000 budget)
1937:
Wrote first medium-length film, "The River" for the Farm Security Administration
1938:
Play, "Ecce Homo"; play was also broadcast on BBC as "Job to Be Done"
1939:
Appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt as director of newly-created US Film Service, an information and distribution center, to co-ordinate the output of 25 other governnment agencies
1939:
US Film Service moved into field of actual film production and placed under sponsorship of Office of Education; USFS disbanded in 1940
1941:
Went to Hollywood; worked as a director and producer at RKO short film department
:
Served as lieutentant-colonel in Air Transport Command of the US Army; served as commanding officer, of overseas techinical unit of USAAF; supervised production on 168 briefing shorts teaching pilots about to fly unfamiliar air routes
1945:
Attached to Department of Interior after WWII
1946:
Appointed chief of films, theater and musical branch of Civil Affairs Division of the War Department; was responsible for acquiring, adapting and producing films for use in re-education programs in occupied territories of Germany, Austria, Japan and Korea; resigned 1947
1947:
Formed a film consultancy agency in New York; unsuccessfully attempted to produce a documentary about atomic-bomb testing
1947:
Began lecturing on documentary film at colleges and universities
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Education

West Virginia Wesleyan College: Buckhannon , West Virginia -
University of West Virginia: Morgantown , West Virginia -
Buckhannon High School: Buckhannon , West Virginia - 1921

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Elizabeth Meyer Lorentz.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Pare Lorentz Jr.
daughter:
Matilda Grey.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Censored The Private Life of the Movie"
"The Roosevelt Year: 1933"
"Lorentz on Film: Movies 1927-1941"

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