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June 1998, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
David Pierce <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 27 Jun 1998 16:40:35 -0400
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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(Apologize for the cross-posting)
I am researching the production, release and
impact of the 1940 British anti-Nazi film
"Pastor Hall," inspired by the life of Martin Niemoller,
and released in the United States by United Artists.
James Roosevelt acquired the film for U.S. release
through United Artists, and his mother, Eleanor, appeared
in a special prologue, speaking an introduction written
by Robert E. Sherwood. I have the text, but have not
found a print of the prologue.
The Boulting Brothers had intended to start production
in 1938, but the British Board of Film Censors turned
down their application- telling them that the story was
anti-Nazi propaganda (which was the whole point), and
contrary to the British government's policy of
appeasement. After the invasion of Poland, the film
was rushed into production, and released just as British
troops were being evacuated from Dunkirk.
I have interviewed director Roy Boulting about
the film, and researched the paper holdings of many
of the major libraries (BFI, LoC, MoMA, Lincoln
Center, UA collection at Madison, AMPAS). I
would appreciate any suggestions on other resources.
The story follows a minister who stands up against
the Nazis as they begin their takeover of a small
town in Germany in 1934. The film still has the power
to move an audience, as was clear when I showed
"Pastor Hall" as part of a movie series I host in
Columbia, Maryland. The title role is played by Wilfred
Lawson, who is best known as Eliza's father in the 1938
David Pierce
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