Movietone News

“The best publication on film in the English language” Molly Haskell

Not to be confused with the famous Twentieth Century Fox newsreel series of the same name, Movietone News began as a newsletter from The Seattle Film Society in 1971 and soon turned into a vibrant little film magazine that published out of Seattle, under the editorial guidance of Richard T. Jameson, through 1981.

Parallax View is undertaking a project to make every issue of this magazine available to readers in .pdf form, with entire issue reproduced page by page (Adobe Reader, a free program, is needed to read the files). Also, select articles will be republished on the Parallax View website (with the consent of the respective authors). These are identified with a link to the republished piece. This project will take years to complete.

The title “Movietone News” is the property of Twentieth Century Fox Movietonews Inc. and is used by permission.

Note that some of the .pdf files of the complete issues are very large and may take some time to load.

Editor Richard T. Jameson on the “Quickies”:

It just growed.

Ye Olde Quickie—as a headline in Movietone News 6 had it—is a form that evolved with little conscious thought on anyone’s part, yet it became the mainstay of the magazine. There were scarcely any reviews in the first several, 16-page issues of the “Newsletter of the Seattle Film Society,” whose main mission was to announce the neophyte organization’s programming. Then the SFS season came to an end and summer 1971 was upon us. It seemed appropriate in MTN 5 to turn the membership loose with a helpful guide to films currently in theaters. In spirit, the Quickies date from that offering, though those “Summer Stock” entries were much shorter than any that followed, and the term quickie didn’t come into play for another issue yet.

We took a cue from the UCal–Berkeley publication Film Quarterly, which, along with feature articles and article-length reviews, ran “Short Notices”—movie reviews several hundred words long and treated as integral textblocks, no paragraphing. Such a format somehow licensed a stream-of-(critical-)consciousness approach to addressing a movie: making whatever points seemed pertinent while also accommodating digressions, the dragging-in of other film references, internal footnotes, and expressions of personal ecstasy or peevishness. You could shorthand or belabor, as the mood struck and the material warranted. For the writer, it was like seeing how long you could hold your breath. Eventually, quickies running a few hundred words and occupying a column-and-a-half of 8-point type on a three-column page gave way to quickies running as much as a page-and-a-half. At that length, the editor might declare the specimen a mule—a hybrid neither quickie nor feature article—shift to a two-column format, and start making paragraph breaks. Still, there persisted an air of freedom—to run on, to dart sideways, to throw a wide loop without submitting to the discipline (restriction?) of a formal essay. But it needed to be done well. The very name quickie implied something tossed off yet also consummated.

Now, the printed page and the Web page are different creatures—especially the odd, 8 1/2–by–14–inch sheet folded in half that made up MTN’s pages—so the custodians at Parallax View have broken up some of the longer quickies into (sigh) paragraphs. You can still experience the uninterrupted gestalt via the PDF repros of the original pages. The repros also will give you the unapologetic ur-text, though for the Web versions we’ve sometimes tweaked punctuation, corrected typos, and made other minor adjustments to enhance the reading experience. Authors also have the license to tinker with their writing as it reenters the film conversation, but we encourage that this be done by footnote or afterword rather than wholesale revision of the text.

Quickies. They’re baaa-aaack! Hope you enjoy.

Contents of issues 20-29
Contents of issues 30-39
Contents of issues 40-49
Contents of issues 50-59
Contents of issues 60-67




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