Mysteries in the Archives: Series 1

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History Documentary hosted by Dana Westberg, published by Arte in 2009 - English narration

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Mysteries in the archives, ten investigations into ten events of the twentieth century that have marked our memory and our imagination. What do the archival images tell us? What are their origins, their hidden meaning? The documentary collection "Mysteries in the Archives", directed by Serge Viallet, airs in Arte to satisfy our curiosity. Ten unpublished surveys reveal the secrets of audiovisual archives. "Images tell stories, we tell the story of images." Viallet examines films that are often forgotten or ignored, shot during historical events: Marilyn Monroe's tour of Korea in 1954, the American atomic tests at Bikini in 1946, the crossing of the Atlantic by aviator Charles Lindbergh in 1927, the entry of General de Gaulle into Paris in 1944, the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963 ... All of them fulfill a decisive function in the great evolutionary narrative of the television epic. Viallet skips over and over again the sequences, zooms in on details, explains the meaning of this or that object, draws the eye to what to see behind the facade. By highlighting the deceptions, staging and editing, these documentaries are also an opportunity to review technical means and their evolution. Mysteries in the archives is a collection aiming to uncover and rediscover known or unpublished images that bear witness to our history. The audiovisual document becomes a piece of evidence that it is up to us to question, to make people talk. The image is scrutinized, dissected, and often, Mysteries in the archives takes our gaze away from what the camera operator had seen or expected. Each episode is constructed as an investigation. Some are about cheerful and amusing topics, others are about more solemn, momentous events. Serge Viallet, a true detective of the image, reveals a multitude of new elements and significant anecdotes hidden behind the story as it was shown to us in cinemas and then on television. Meticulous investigations are undertaken - film is rummaged, sifted through and sorted, examined frame by frame and analyzed until it finally reveals its secrets. This collection includes all 10 episodes of season 1. Series idea & director Serge Viallet; A Co-Production of ARTE France and INA-Institut National de l'Audiovisuel in Association with YLE Teema and RTSI-Televisione Svizzera

[edit] 1910: Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill was, by reputation, the greatest buffalo hunter of all time. His celebrity included a stint as cavalry scout for George Armstrong Custer, the general killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. But film of William F. Cody shot as early as 1894 and through 1916 presents another image of Buffalo Bill.
These images reveal his friendly relations with American Indian tribal chiefs. Footage of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which toured the United States and Europe for more than 30 years, documents its early, considerable influence on a film genre that still fascinates movie goers: the Western.

[edit] 1927: Lindbergh Crosses the Atlantic

June 1927. The young aviator Charles Lindbergh crosses the Atlantic in his Spirit of Saint Louis in 33 hours and 30 minutes. In a short time, from his arrival at Le Bourget which cameras missed to diplomatic visits, cameras and press create an international hero of this shy and discreet young man. The media machine will churn its fodder on both sides of the Atlantic. Why? Lindbergh wasn’t even the first pilot to have crossed the Atlantic in a plane.
Like an investigation, the narrator's voice-over comments scrutinize and carefully decipher the archive images, revealing significant elements and anecdotes and highlighting how the media coverage of Lindbergh's exploit served the improvement of Franco-American relations.

[edit] 1934: King of Yugoslavia Assassinated

Marseille, Tuesday, October 9, 1934. King Alexander I of Yugoslavia arrives in the port of Marseille for an official visit to France. Several minutes later, he is shot point-blank – killed by a Croatian nationalist opposed to his regime. The close-up filming of an assassination was a first in the history of cinema. The footage revealed serious lapses in security. Why so many? Why were the cameramen able to get so close to film the dying king? What became of their footage?
The Yugoslavian king could have come directly to Paris by train. Why, then, did he travel to Marseille by ship – a choice that played a large role in complicating security arrangements. A closer look at the footage reveals that however unintentionally, the celebrated Fox Movietone newsreel of the assassination served French authorities. The Fox Movietone report, for example, neglected the civilian casualties – and the number of shot bystanders exceeds the number of bullets fired by the assassin – revealing that security forces also opened fire in the chaos…

[edit] 1937: Crash of the Hindenburg

A behind-the-scenes look at one of the biggest scoops in the history of scoops. May 6, 1937. Four newsreel company cameramen await the arrival of the celebrated Hindenburg in Lakehurst, New Jersey outside New York City. During the final approach as night falls, the 110-metre German dirigible explodes in front of their eyes – and their cameras. All four scoops are deciphered and analyzed – as the canny use of the new media for the American promotion of a dirigible brandishing the Nazi swastika.
Was it an accident or a terrorist attack? We'll never know, but what were four cameramen doing in Lakehurst as night took away the light, and rain fell? Why were these four cameramen there? What became of their respective scoops?
The Hindenburg had been forbidden to fly over England and France. Why had those countries prohibited the Hindenburg's passage over their territory while the Americans welcomed the dirigible?

[edit] 1944: De Gaulle in Liberated Paris

This episode of the "Mysteries in the Archives" collection is devoted to the triumphal disembarkation by General Charles de Gaulle on the event of the Liberation of Paris. In the early afternoon of August 26 1944, after four years of German occupation de Gaulle strides gallantly down the celebrated Avenue des Champs Elysees. Arriving in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, shots ring out. Renowned cameraman Gaston Madru filmed several minutes of the fire fight in front of Notre Dame and the start of panic in the crowd, but most of his footage was long forgotten, or lost. Or had they been intentionally forgotten?
These unpublished images were recently found, testifying to this event that General De Gaulle had wished to downplay at the time. How could that have happened? What does his footage reveal of the gun fire – as well as other moments during that famous day?

[edit] 1946: A-Bomb Tests on Bikini

In July of 1946, a year after Nagasaki and Hiroshima the United States Air Force dropped two even more powerful atomic bombs over the Bikini atoll, the culmination of Operation Crossroads, a military endeavour with multiple objectives. No event in the history of cinema had ever been so thoroughly covered. Nearly 700 cameramen and photographers were hired to film the entire operation. The images, devised by American propaganda, were broadcast around the world. The stakes were high: to show American supremacy over the Soviet Union, at the very start of the Cold War.
Why so many cameras and equipment to film two atomic explosions just after the end of the Second World War? What happened the minute before a historic photo was taken? And what is the relationship between atomic testing and the famous bathing suit?

[edit] 1954: Marilyn Monroe in Korea

Two weeks after their wedding in San Francisco, Marilyn Monroe and baseball icon Joe DiMaggio set off for Japan. In January, on their honeymoon in Japan, pre-season training for the baseball season begins. DiMaggio’s arrival in Tokyo with his new bride thrilled the press and both baseball and movie fans of the two stars.
After two weeks, Marilyn leaves for Korea to sing for 100,000 GIs still stationed along the border between the communist North and capitalist South. During her four-day singing tour, moving from camp to camp by helicopter, she's filmed by military cameramen. Did she really interrupt her honeymoon? Why sing "Do it Again" and "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" in the Army and Marine camps? And what does the footage shot during the tour reveal about Hollywood's latest mega-star?

[edit] 1955: Tragedy Strikes Le Mans' 24 Hours

On June 11, 1955, between 200 and 300 thousand people are attending automobile racing's most celebrated endurance event: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Like every year, Le Mans attracts important media attention and this 23rd edition boasts the sport's most elite race cars. But at the 147th minute, a Mercedes crashes and explodes. Eighty spectators die, and 140 are injured. In only seconds, Le Mans is the scene of the deadliest accident in automobile racing history.
How did the catastrophe take place? Why were there so many victims? And why did the organizers allow the race to continue despite the tragedy?

[edit] 1963: John F Kennedy's Funeral

From the announcement of President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas to his burial in Washington, D.C. four days later, the three television networks devoted their entire air time to coverage of the tragedy. During these days of national mourning, no advertisements were aired.
For the first time in the history of television, the three networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – worked together to coordinate hour upon hour of live coverage for millions of viewers. Was it during these mournful, late November days in 1963 that American television won its place as the dominant newsmedia?

[edit] 1969: Live from the Moon

On July 22, 1969, man walked on the moon for the first time. About 600 million people watched it live on television. In an incessant battle of technology and political nerve with the Soviets, media coverage of the Apollo 11 mission – including Neil Armstrong's first steps – was closely prepared, orchestrated and produced by NASA from some 360,000 kilometres away. These live images of the Moon provide proof of America's victory in the frenzied race against the USSR for the conquest of space.
More than 600 million viewers have the privilege of following this adventure live on the small screen. But who films Neil Armstrong as he descends from the ladder and takes his first steps on the moon? Who placed the camera which shows Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin posing next to the American flag and listening to President Richard Nixon send them a congratulatory message? Is it really a coincidence that this fantastic show was in prime time for the people of the American East Coast.

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Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L3.1
Video Bitrate: 2 195 Kbps
Video Resolution: 720x400
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 26 min
Number Of Parts: 10
Part Size: 445 MB
Source: DVD
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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