Au service du marechal?
: French documentary under German occupation

  • Steve Wharton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Following the fall of France in June 1940 and the installation of the Vichy Regime, government set about establishing its own New Order. A reprogramming of national consciousness was attempted through an emphasis on a return to traditional values which was disseminated in various fora. Despite publications on divers aspects of Vichy's propaganda machine, work on film production of the period has merely touched on mainstream documentary without further analysis. Such a lacuna appears inexplicable in light of the production of 550 or so documentaries between 1940 and 1944, especially in view of a 1948 comment by the film writer Roger Régent that documentary in many ways provided a focal point for the regime's wishes for "moralisation collective". This thesis sets out the first steps of a new evaluation of the role of documentary during the Occupation. After an overview of the changes to the industry and the ideological framework of the Révolution nationale, the thesis discusses theories of propaganda together with direct examples of Vichy propaganda documentary. The 'control' thus established is then applied to an examination of the 'Arts, Sciences, Voyages' series of documentary screenings (1941-43) and the Premier congrès du film documentaire (1943), tracing thematic and ideological consonances and evaluating the use of documentary film of the Occupation in the Service of the Marshal.
Date of Award1991
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSusan Hayward (Supervisor)


  • Au service du marechal
  • French documentary
  • German occupation

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