Pare Lorentz Film Center

An interview with Pare

On a cold and rainy St. Patrick’s Day in 1976, Alan Fern of the Library of Congress interviewed Pare Lorentz, legendary documentary filmmaker of the 1930s and 40s. They met at the Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C. just blocks from the White House where forty years before Lorentz had provided a private viewing of his film The Plow That Broke the Plains for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

From that point on, Pare Lorentz was known as “FDR’s filmmaker.” In all, Lorentz would make three ground-breaking and award-winning films: The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936), The River (1938), and The Fight for Life (1940). In this never-before-heard series of recordings, a reflective Pare Lorentz recounts the influences and struggles he and his small, underfunded band of filmmakers faced in the making of what many believe were the first of the great documentary films in the 20th century.

An interview with Pare

Chapter 1: I Had No Particular Horizon

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Chapter 2: I Started Writing

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Chapter 3: I Was Never A Gadget Man

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Chapter 4: Nobody Anywhere Was Reporting

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Chapter 5: Mr. Lorentz Goes to Washington

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Chapter 6: The Roosevelt Year 1934

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Chapter 7: Talk to Tugwell

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Chapter 8: The Sky of New York City was Blotted Out

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Chapter 9: Stryker was a Brilliant Man

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Chapter 10: Never in the History of America

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Chapter 11: We Were Still Experimental

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