Wednesday, March 13, 2019

More fun with newsreels

Not having any idea of what to post today, I decided to look through which of my DVDs had extras on them that I hadn't commented on yet. So I put in the DVD of Lady Killer from the Warner Bros. Gangsters set that I've mentioned several times. I'd blogged about the regular shorts, so decided to watch the newsreel, which was about how Alcatraz was going to be opening, not having done so yet. Alcatraz was only used as a federal prison for about 30 years; before that it was a military prison.

The newsreel is of then-US Attorney General Homer Cummings announcing the forthcoming opening of the prison, followed by a bit of propaganda about how it's going to help solve the gangster problem. I included that link to Cummings for a couple of reasons, one of which I think I mentioned before. Cummings was the prosecutor in the real case that inspired the Fox docudrama Boomerang!, with Dana Andrews playing the prosecutor who comes to believe that one of his defendants is, in fact, not guilty. The real-life Cummings would also go on to show up at the beginning of a 1939 MGM B-movie, They All Come Out, about the federal prison system and basically carrying water for the government about how prisons could rehabilitate people. They All Come Out is also the first feature film directed by Jacques Tourneur. As far as I know it's not on DVD, so you'll have to wait for the full-length post (I already have the draft done so you'll definitely get it) when next it airs.

There's also an extended aerial view of Alcatraz taken from an airplane, as you can obviously see.

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