On September 25, 1934, Irving Lerner devoted an entire column in New Masses to “the first [film] to come out of the revolutionary movement,” a “dramatic documentary” on the farm crisis that had just been screened at the headquarters of the radical collective Film & Photo League. Sheriffed was a three-reel 16mm silent motion picture that had been written, directed, and photographed by Nancy Naumburg and James Guy. Lerner was not entirely happy with the film, which lacked the technical skill of Vertov or Dovzhenko, the obvious models for this sort of genre. The farmers played themselves as best they could, while the filmmakers fought a losing battle against a series of technical deficiencies. But the “vitality, freshness, and honesty that springs from its revolutionary convictions” was undeniably impressive (30).
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