Today on Counterpunch, Richard Ward takes another tack on Louisiana Story:
In an interview with Robert Gardner at Harvard’s Peabody Museum in 1960, Francis Flaherty, wife of the great filmmaker, Robert Flaherty, who died in 1951, reads from a letter sent by Standard Oil of New Jersey proposing a film that would be: “A classic—a permanent artistic record of the contributions in which the oil industry had made to civilization. A film that would present the story of oil with dignity, the epic sweep it deserved, and assure the story of a lasting place on the highest plane in the literature of the screen. The film would also be such an absorbing human story that it would stand on its own feet as an entertainment anywhere. Because of its entertainment value it would be distributed theatrically, through the regular motion picture houses, both in America and abroad.” The result of this proposal, later followed by a check for $125,000, resulted in the propaganda piece the Rockefeller’s company wanted, and for posterity a hauntingly beautiful film laced with heartbreaking irony.