Hearst over Hollywood: Power, Passion, and Propaganda in the Movies

By Louis Pizzitola | Go to book overview

3
Film News
1898–1906

STILL REMEMBERING THE MAINE

In November 1911 advertisements began appearing for the release of The Mystery of the Maine. The film was what historians today call an actuality, a term that emphasizes the absence of manipulation of real events in a film (the term was not widely used in 1911). Ads at the time of the picture's release called The Mystery of the Maine a feature film although it was only two reels long. The film showed views of the wreckage of the battleship U.S. Maine, whose sinking in Havana Harbor in 1898 sparked the SpanishAmerican War. With the cooperation of the War Department, which was trying to identify the cause of the Maine's sinking and recovering the remains of about seventy servicemen still entombed in the wreckage, a Cuban cameraman named Diaz working for an American firm had filmed the greatest engineering marvel of its day. Diaz translated the nine-monthlong project of building a huge cofferdam that lifted the ship above the water's surface into a dramatic twenty-minute film.

Notwithstanding the film's title and some shots of gaping holes in the ship's hull, there was little exploration of hard evidence in The Mystery of the Maine. The producer seemed more interested in resurrecting the sensations of war fever that swept the nation in 1898. As huge sections of the ship became recognizable, Diaz's camera focused on the barnacle-encrusted cabin of the ship's captain, where remarkably a washstand faucet still seemed

-40-

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Hearst over Hollywood: Power, Passion, and Propaganda in the Movies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Film and Culture - A Series of Columbia University Press ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • 1 - Behind the Scenes 1880S–1890S 1
  • 2 - The Artist Journalist 1895–1898 17
  • 3 - Film News 1898–1906 40
  • 4 - Midium for a New Cntury 1900–1907 73
  • 5 - It Pays Ot Advertise 94
  • 6 - When Men Betray 1915–1918 111
  • 7 - Perils of Passion 1915–1918 126
  • 8 - Trader 1914–1918 135
  • 9 - The Perils of Propaganda 1917–1918 148
  • 10 - Fits and Starts 1917–1919 162
  • 11 - Over Production 1919–1922 179
  • 12 - Fire and Smoke 1922–1925 207
  • 13 - Industry 1925–1929 230
  • 14 - Above the Law 1929–1934 260
  • 15 - Remote Control 1934–1940 326
  • 16 - Hollywood Isolationist 1940–1947 370
  • 17 - No Trespassing 1947–1951 419
  • Notes 443
  • Index 501
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