Rush Hour 1938!

1938 Detroit – shift change at Dodge Assembly plant

This roll illustrates a shift change at the Dodge assembly plant in Detroit in 1938. This film, shot by Academy Award winning documentary film director Pare Lorentz and Academy award winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby, was part of an uncompleted feature length docu-fiction film on unemployment produced for the short-lived “U.S. Film Agency”. The film, based on a radio documentary, was originally titled “Ecce Homo” was later named more prosaically as “Name, Age and Occupation”. The filmmakers wanted to emphasize that the unparalleled productivity of U.S. industry should make unemployment a thing of the past.

The film is un-described at the roll level in the National Archives Catalog and therefore inaccessible to all but those prepared for a “deep dive” into the film collections at the National Archives at College Park. I was able to identify the location based on advertising on one of the commuter buses and street signs. I was able to pinpoint the site as a street corner across from the Dodge plant (later the site of GM’s Hamtramck Assembly Plant) using Google Maps. Also depicted is a nearby suburb of Detroit.

Web search is not the same as research. Don’t depend on a production assistant or intern to locate the exact footage or stills that will add impact to your production or project. Hire an professional archival media researcher!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s