The Films of Louis de Rochemont
  • Print
Written by Seacoast NH Film

louisfilm00.jpgNH FILMMAKERS

As this amazing list shows, the career of maverick producer Louis de Rochemont was long and provocative. Always pushing the envelope, the NH-based filmmaker produced spy thrillers, military and war, social commentary, romance, cartoons, family films, fantasy, nature and educational films. A work in progress, here is our updated list.

 

 

 

 

SEE ALSO: Father of the Docu-Drama 

FILMOGRAPHY:
Louis de Rochemont
(1899-1978)


louis01.jpgABOUT LOUIS -- Born in Chelsea. MA in 1899, the man whose monthly documentaries would reach an audience of millions shot his first newsreel at age 12. His professional, insightful and snappy March of Time newsreels defined film news from 1935 to 1951 when television took over. Attracted to Seacoast, NH by family genealogy, Louis de Rochemont and his wife screen writer Virginia Shaler settled in Newington, NH at "Blueberry Hill" on the Piscataqua River. Snubbing Hollywood studios, de Rochemont chose to produce films based on real stories in actual locations, often with local people in the cast. After three spy films that helped define film noir, he produced an eclectic array of feature films, including three shot near his hometown. He was an early pioneer in cinerama and did not shy away from such controversial topics like race and labor relations. He often experimented with unknown and theater- trained actors, likely because they matched his small budgets. De Rochemont did cast top names including Vivian Leigh, James Cagney, Leo G. Carroll, Dorothy Gish, plus newcomers like Lloyd Bridges, Ernest Borgnine and Warren Beatty. Considered experimental and a maverick by Hollywood, he has been called the "father of the docu-drama." His early documentary productions won two Academy Awards. De Rochemont’s insistence on depicting the dangerous regime of dictator Hitler prior to WW2 caused some to label him a Nazi sympathizer. He died in the Seacoast region in 1978 survived by a daughter and a son, Louis III, who himself recently passed away. His wife lived in Portsmouth until her death in 1985. - JDR

SEE ALSO: The films de Rochemont Never Made 

QUICK LIST
(see next page for more detail)

March of Time theater newsreels (1935-1951)
March of Time: Inside Nazi Germany (1938)
The Ramparts We Watch (1940)
We Are the Marines (1942)
Show Business at War (1943)
The Fighting Lady (1944)
The House on 92nd Street (1945)
13 Rue Madeleine (1946)
Boomerang! (1947)
Lost Boundaries (1949)
Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951)
also called Richer Than the Earth
Walk East on Beacon! (1952)
also The Crime of the Century
Martin Luther (1953)
Cinerama Holiday (1955)
Animal Farm (1955)
Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich, (1958)
Man on a String (1960)
The Sand Castle (1961)
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)
(also Widow and the Gigolo) 

CONTINUE for Complete FILLMOGRAPHY


 

 louisfilm03.jpg

COMPLETE (more or less) FILMS OF
LOUIS DE ROCHEMONT

(** search for these on Amazon.com or Ebay.com)

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)
Vivian Leigh, Warren Beatty, Jill St. John, Lotte Lenya
Actress Karen Stone is considered past her prime when she meets a young handsome man named Paola on a Roman holiday (**)

The Sand Castle (1961)
Barry Cardwell, Laurie Cardwell
Two children left alone on a beach create a fantasy world filmed in the style of a Victorian paper theatre. NYT called it "an intimate and totally engaging yarn" but the film seems to have disappeared. (NA)

Man on a String (1960)
Ernest Borgnine, Colleen Dewhurst, Kerwin Matthews
Actor Borgnine is on the run in this fast=paced spy thriller shot on location in Germany, (NA)

Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich (1958)
Using Cinemagic technology, the documentary team follows a Norwegian square rigger across the Atlantic to Portsmouth, NH and South America (NA)

Animal Farm (1955)
George Orwell's totalitarian barnyard vision transformed into the first feature length British cartoon. De Rochemont worked on this propaganda film courtesy of the CIA in a deal brokered by E. Howard Hunt of Watergaate fame. (**)

Cinerama Holiday (1955)
Tour the USA with the miracle of cinerama with two typical American couples with a score by Morton Gould. Still used and distributed by Lutheran groups. (NA)

Martin Luther (1953)
Niall MacGinnis
Irving Pichel acted in and directed this history of the Protestant Reformation later reprised with Stacey keach in the title role. (**)

Walk East on Beacon! (1952)
George Murphy, Finlay Currie, Virginia Gilmore
Watch real G-man capture spies in this real life drama about the workings of the FBI. Shot in Boston and Seacoast NH area. (NA)

Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951)
Lloyd Bridges, Ernest Borgnine, Anne Francis, Dorothy Gish
Doubleday Plastics in NH is at the crossroads, and when a labor leader takes over management, a wild cat strike threatens the whole town. Filmed in Seacoast, NH region. (NA)

Lost Boundaries (1949)
Mel Ferrer, Beatrice Pearson, Richard Hylton, Canada Lee
A New Hampshire family with African-American heritage "passes" as white in this early race film based on a true story. (**)

Boomerang! (1947)
Dana Andrews, Jane Wyatt, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden
One of many movies with this title, de Rochemont's version was directed by Elia Kazan about a priest murdered in Connecticut (NA)

13 Rue Madeleine (1946)
James Cagney, Annabella, EG Marshall, Karl Malden
James Cagney is up against a German "mole" and is forced to go after him in this OSS spy thriller with a documentary flavor (**)

The House on 92nd Street (1945)
Lloyd Nolan, William Eythe, Leo G. Carroll, Signe Hasso
An American double agent and an FBI agent team up to track down Nazi spies seeking to steal the formula for the atomic bomb (**)

The Fighting Lady (1944)
Academy Award winning WW2 documentary on the Navy directed by William Wylie (Funny Girl, Ben-Hur, Collector) and narrated by Robert Taylor. (**)

March of Time: Inside Nazi Germany (1938)
Special feature coming March of Time shorts and re-issued on Embassy. (**)

Show Business at War (1943)
Special feature coming March of Time shorts and re-issued on Embassy.

We Are the Marines (1942)
Full length fighting feature documentary produced and directed by March of Time’s Louis de Rochemont (**)

The Ramparts We Watch (1940)
John Adair, Andrea King
Documentary directed by de Rochemont and re-issued as part the Embassy series.De Rochemont reportedly used this anti-isolationist film about WWI to prompt FDR to enter WWII. (**) 

March of Time (1935-51)
Starring just about every famous person in the world as seen through the direction of Lois de Rochemont, Time/Life Magazine and with the booming voice of Westbrook Van Voorhis. These highly produced segments ran in 50,000 movie theaters with new shows every four weeks and shaped the way Americans saw the world and the world saw Amerce. (**)

(c) 1998 SeacoastNH.com. Updated 2008.