History Piece

The Making of Power and the Land (1939-1940)


APRIL 14, 2005

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Did POWER AND THE LAND lead to other jobs for you ?
Yes, the next was at Paramount in the shorts department from 1940-42. We did everything: musicals, short comedies, Robert Benchley series, Copacabana Girl series. This was followed by work for the US Office of war Information, Domestic Division where among other things I worked on foreign versions of Frank Capra’s WHY WE FIGHT series. Then, on to the United Nations for three or four years working on information shorts, much heart-breaking footage of post-war children in Holland and Italy, etc.

Later I worked for CBS Television on several of their series including TWENTIETH CENTURY, YOU ARE THERE, and WORLD WAR I.

Of the directors I have worked with through the years, I feel that Bill Jersey was the best director. I am especially proud of the work I did on his INCIDENT ON WILSON STREET. Another memorable experience was Eli Landau’s MONTGOMERY TO MEMPHIS, which I edited with John Carter. A highlight was Arthur Barron’s SIXTEEN IN WEBSTER GROVES, an insightful study of the values of young people in mid-America during the Vietnam War.

Among the feature films I have edited are BLACK LIKE ME. ALL THE WAY HOME, KEEPING ON (Barbara Kopple), and OUSMANE SEMBENE: THE MAKING OF AFRICAN CINEMA (Mathia Diwara)

Off and on, I have produced a good number of films. A BOY WITH A BOA was a twenty part children’s series. The film COVER ALL BASES, I made with Catherine Egan, won a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival. I served as a consultant with the award winning filmmaker Beverly Peterson on all of her major productions. With Chris Pelzer I produced TELL IT LIKE IT IS on the censorship of children’s literature, made for the National Coalition Against Censorship.

In 1992 I won an Emmy for “years of editing.”

What are you doing today?
Today I am still deep in film, editing, teaching and producing.

© 2005 William Sloan

Note: The above interview was conducted by William J. Sloan on April 14, 2005. A little over a year before, Dr. Ephraim K. Smith (Heritage Productions) and Jeff Forster (VP, Detroit Public Television) conducted an interview with Lora Hays recorded by David Bagnall. Present at this interview were two of Lora's good friends, William J. Sloan and George C. Stoney. At times, all three participants joined in the discussion. Although the purpose of the interview was to learn more about Joris Ivens and Power and the Land, the discussion was so wide ranging and preceptive that segments from that 2004 interview have been excerpted and can be viewed below.

Dr. Smith would like to express his appreciation to Lora Hays and to William Sloan and George Stoney for their assistance with this project. He also wishes to thank Lora Hays for allowing us to reproduce earlier photographs of her in the documentary and on this web site.

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