- Lorentz, Pare
- (1905-1992)Born Leonard McTaggart Lorentz in West Virginia and educated at West Virginia Wesleyan College and the University of West Virginia, Lorentz moved to New York City in 1924. After working as an editor for General Electric, he became a film reviewer and critic and adopted his father’s name, Pare. In addition to reviewing for the New York Evening Journal, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, and McCall’s, Lorentz wrote two books, Censored: The Private Life of the Movies (1930) and The Roosevelt Years (1934). A supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, he joined the Resettlement Administration in 1935 to produce “films of merit.” His first film, The Plow That Broke the Plains, a study of soil erosion and the Dust Bowl, was well-received by critics and the public. He then made The River (1938), a study of the Mississippi River and Ohio River and the problems of flooding for the Farm Security Administration. Impressed by the film, Roosevelt created the U.S. Film Service with Lorentz as its head in 1938. His study on the impact of poverty on infant mortality, The Fight for Life, was made in 1940. However, congressional opposition to such work, viewed by some as New Deal propaganda, led to the cessation of funding. After briefly but unsuccessfully working in Hollywood, during the war Lorentz served as a major in the Army Air Corps and made 200 briefing films. He was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1944. In 1946, he became head of the Film Section of the War Department’s Civil Affairs Division and in 1946 made The Nuremberg Trials. He resigned his position in 1947 and established his own production company but mainly worked as a consultant and film reviewer. Lorentz’s documentaries from the 1930s received several awards from the film industry, and in 1963 he was awarded a gold medal for The River by the secretary of agriculture.See also Cinema.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.