Old videos: Two from 1940s Rhode Island

From "xxx," made in, I think, 1944.

From “Report From Rhode Island,” made in, I think, 1944. (YouTube.com)

Two old film clips of Rhode Island take viewers on tours of the nation’s smallest state – the smallest but not the least significant! The first is a propaganda film focusing on the home front and its values; the second is a historical tour of the state. Both lack the intrinsic fascination of the film of a San Francisco cable-car ride in 1906, but they both put old attitudes on display in ways today’s viewers will find, um, charming. For example, the first film’s segment on Newport displays an undisguised classism – that’s class-ism, not classicism! – that will raise some eyebrows.

The 1944 “why we fight” film is here. The “smallest state” film, from 1947, is here. Both are about eight minutes long.

By the way, can anyone identify the building seen at 3:07 minutes into the first film? It looks like it’s at the base of or farther up College Hill. A church? A former church? A school?

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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