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Louis de Rochemont

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(Editor's Note: We recently came across a rare copy of the original  press book for LOST BOUNDARIES sent to movie theaters in 1949. The following press release was designed for theatres to send to local newspapers. This feature focuses on producer Louis de Rochemont of Newington, New Hampshire and his unique documentary style of creating films outside the Hollywood mainstream.  Films of Louis de Rochmont .)

Lost Boundaries on
Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail

The original press release:

Louis de Rochemont Scores Greatest
Screen Triumph in True-to-Life Drama
of a Secret Held for Twenty Years

Louis de Rochemont, producer of the daring "Lost Boundaries," which opens (fill in date) at the (fill in) Theatre, may not be the father of semi-documentary movies, but he's nurtured them with all the tender care and energy of a man who expects to see his offspring grow up to be a big force in the world.

Why? Louis de Rochemont has a ready answer to that question because he's got a bug in his bonnet -- almost an obsession -- the value of real-life movie-making.

Lost Boundaries poster

"The aim of any drama," he says, "is to give the illusion of real things -- real things happening. So why not use real things in the first place?"

And that's exactly what de Rochemont does. The majority of the characters of "Lost Boundaries," are very real New England people -- not caricatures of cracker-barrel philosophers. His scenes are filmed in homes and inns pre-dating the Revolutionary war. Again, why?

Well," says de Rochemont, "the Hollywood people can make good sets -- almost perfect ones in fact, but they can't give that basic, lived-in look to them such as we have in the old inn and the Sparhawk Mansion in "Lost Boundaries." There are the little things that count, like aged cracks in the paint, the worn look of furniture, the wallpaper's markings, the familiar look of furniture in the rooms ... all those things.

"That holds with people, too," de Rochemont continued. "If you want a hotel clerk, who knows all the little movements, the expressions, the nuances of feeling better than a hotel clerk himself?"

De Rochemont has injected all the fabled realism possible into "Lost Boundaries." He did it in "Boomerang," in "House on 92nd Street," in "13 Rue Madeleine," and, of course, in "Fighting Lady," that was filmed by navy combat photographers under fire in the Pacific. De Rochemont won an Academy Award for his brilliant editing of "Fighting Lady."

Actor Canada Lee with Richard Hylton

De Rochemont's movie-making started more than 30 years ago when he shouldered his way boldly through a crowd watching the dedication of some new buildings in Chelsea, Mass. A cameraman was making pictures and Louis and a companion later saw themselves on the screen of a local theatre.

De Rochemont was so fascinated with the process of movie-making that he sent a dollar to Popular Mechanics magazine for the blueprints of a motion picture camera. Then he scoured the shops of Greater Boston until he picked up the material to build one.

Soon, he found that there was money to be made in filming local scenes and selling them to local theatres. When he was later assigned to film the launching of the first submarine in Portsmouth, N. H., by a news reel company, he earned $40; promptly spent all of it on a trip to New York to sit through six or seven showings of t.he picture he had taken.

Lost Boundaries, the book

During World War I, de Rochemont went to the naval aviation school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the naval cadet school at Harvard. He stayed in the navy until 1923 when he left to join International Newsreel. After four years he became assistant editor of Pathe News. In 1934, he joined Time, Inc., as the originator of March of Time. In 1940, he produced March of Time's first full length film, "Ramparts We Watch," based on Maj. George Fielding Elliot's treatise on the defenses of the United States.

When he quit March of Time he passed the job on to his brother, Richard de Rochemont-"and I was glad to keep it in the family, because it was my baby."

De Rochemont now has a contract with M-G-M-one of the most unique in Hollywood-in that it gives him a virtual free rein, to produce his movies on the set he selects and round up much of the talent he himself chooses.

His contract almost permits him to operate from his own dinner table in his quaint Newington, N. H., farm home. All around his New England home he is surrounded by historic communities, beautiful sea resorts -- and, he says, "the makings and people for great movie stories."

So there he is back at his original contention -- "to get realism, you need real people and real places."

De Rochemont proves it in "Lost Boundaries," the dramatic story of a New Hampshire Negro doctor and his family who "passed" for whites until their secret was discovered.

Lost Boundaries
Sample Newspaper Ad
from original 1949 Press Book

Lost Boundaries Ad

Layout and notes copyright 2004

See more on LOST BOUNDARIES and order the movie

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