The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168926 Message #4087520
Posted By: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
11-Jan-21 - 12:56 PM
Thread Name: Stinson Records Revisted
Subject: RE: Stinson Records Revisted
This one is really, really long. In defense, at this stage Noel Meadow is now Stinson Trading's sole and exclusive supplier of A&R; press agent & liner notes writer and owner of their top New York retail outlet, all-in-one. His influence over Bernay & Keynote is not far behind. By those same job titles, I would disagree with Straw's observation that Meadow's ...personal political commitments are not clear….:
“The documentary ?lm, regarded as one of our chief war born boons, need not be an end-of-the-war casualty, like female welders.
Noel Meadow, Screen Writer (1946)
In 1943, Noel Meadow, a New York publicist and one-time tabloid journalist, bought the Stanley Theatre in Manhattan for the purpose of exhibiting wartime documentary ?lms. Meadow had been the press agent for the Stanley in 1942, when it broke U.S. attendance records for a Soviet ?lm with Guerrilla Brigade, the American release of the 1938 ?ction ?lm Vsadniki. Set during the First World War, Vsadniki was produced to glorify the Soviet Army on the eve of World War II, and its U.S. release in the midst of that war was part of the broader nurturing (and exploitation) of U.S.-Soviet solidarity. Over the next two years, and in collaboration with producers like Maurice Lev or Joseph Plunkett, Meadow assembled war-related documentary feature ?lms out of newsreels and other available footage, showing them at the Stanley and distributing them throughout the United States. These features included compilation titles such as One Inch from Victory (which used enemy footage provided by the Soviets) and What Price Italy?
At the end of the war, Meadow formed Noel Meadow Associates, to undertake the American distribution of films imported from Europe. The ?rst ?lm handled by the new company was the French ?ction ?lm Resistance (Peleton d’Execution, André Berthomieu, 1945). Resistance catered to an American interest in topical, war-related ?lms but signaled as well the shift by Meadow and other independent distributors away from an exclusive interest in documentaries. The U.S. release of Resistance was one step in Meadow’s effort to develop a broader, postwar market for European feature ?lms in the United States, building outward from specialized cinema houses in Manhattan. Over the next decade, Meadow imported, promoted,and occasionally wrote the subtitles for such ?lms as Dedée (Yves Allegret, 1948), L’Aigle à deux têtes (Jean Cocteau, 1948), and El (Luis Buñuel, 1952). His various companies, such as Omni ?lms and Uniworld, distributed foreign features alongside domestically produced educational ?lms and documentaries.
Noel Meadow (who died in 1968) was a minor but emblematic ?gure in the wartime and postwar culture of the American Left. His name is absent from the available lists of those blacklisted or witch hunted, and his personal political commitments are not clear. Nevertheless, Meadow’s creative and entrepreneurial activities in the 1930s and 1940s followed the key pathways of progressive American culture. In the 1930s, Meadow had co-produced a stage comedy dealing with matrimony in the new Soviet Union, and reported for American magazines on developments in Soviet dance. His writing output in the 1940s included liner notes for 78rpm albums released by the fellow-traveling Stinson record label, among them “Fighting Songs of the U.S.S.R.: Songs That Glori?ed the Unconquerable Red Army” and “Memphis Favorites,” by the New Orleans jazz band the Memphis Five. In their combination, these albums occupy signi?cant portions of that terrain of progressive af?nities which Michael Denning has called the “cultural front.” While serving as managing editor of the New York—based trade paper Writers’ Journal, Meadow wrote regularly for the Screen Writer , the journal of the Screen Writer’s Guild, during the period of its most intense radicalism.”
[Straw, Documentary Realism and the Postwar Left, 2007, pp.130-131]