Native Land

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Native Land
Directed byLeo Hurwitz
Paul Strand
Written byLeo Hurwitz
Ben Maddow
Produced byLeo Hurwitz
StarringPaul Robeson (Narrator/Vocalist)
Fred Johnson
CinematographyPaul Strand
Edited byLionel Berman
Leo Hurwitz
Bob Stebbins
Music byMarc Blitzstein
Frontier Films
Distributed byFrontier Films
Release date
11 May 1942
Running time
79 minutes
CountryUnited States

Native Land is a 1942 docudrama film directed by Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand.[1]


A combination of a documentary format and staged reenactments (influenced by the cinematic works of Sergei Eisenstein and Aleksandr Dovzhenko), the independently produced film depicted the struggle of trade unions against union-busting corporations, their spies and contractors. It was based on the 1938 report of the La Follette Committee's investigation of the repression of labor organizing.[2][3]

Famous African-American singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson participated as an off-screen narrator and vocalist.[4][5]


  • Paul Robeson as Narrator and vocalist (voice)
  • Fred Johnson as Fred Hill, a farmer
  • Mary George as Hill's wife
  • John Rennick as Hill's son
  • Amelia Romano as Window scrubber
  • Houseley Stevenson as White sharecropper
  • Louis Grant as Black sharecropper
  • James Hanney as Mack, Union president
  • Howard Da Silva as Jim, an informer
  • Art Smith as Harry Carlyle
  • John Marley as Thug with crowbar


Restoration and re-release[edit]

A restored version of the film was released in 2011. The film was restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, funded by the Packard Humanities Institute.[6]

The new print was made “from the original 35mm nitrate picture negative, a 35mm safety duplicate negative, and a 35mm safety up-and-down track negative.”[6]

The restoration premiered at the UCLA Festival of Preservation on March 26, 2011[6] and was screened at other North American cities in 2011 including Vancouver.[7]


  1. ^ Grant, Barry Keith and Jim Hillier. BFI Screen Guides: 100 Documentary Films, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. pp. 147–148.
  2. ^ The Criterion Collection
  3. ^ Leo Hurwitz
  4. ^ Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist (Criterion) – Senses of Cinema
  5. ^ Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist - Criterion Collection - DVD Talk
  6. ^ a b c Jan-Christopher Horak. "UCLA Film & Television Archive: Native Land (1942)". Retrieved 2011-11-07.
  7. ^ "Recent Restorations: Treasures From The UCLA Festival Of Preservation » Native Land". Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2011-11-07.

External links[edit]