De Rochemont, Louis, 1899-1978

Alternative names
Birth 1899-01-13
Death 1978-12-23
Norwegian, German, English, French

Biographical notes:

Louis de Rochemont was a film producer who created the "March of Time" newsreel series. He was also a pioneer in camera technology and developed projects using the Cinerama technique. De Rochemont began his professional career as a filmmaker for the U.S. Navy in the 1920s. He initiated "March of Time" in 1934. In 1943 de Rochemont began working for Darryl Zanuck at Twentieth Century Fox; and in 1947 he formed his own company, Louis de Rochemont Associates.

From the description of Louis De Rochemont papers, 1899-2004. (University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center). WorldCat record id: 56524156

Louis Clark de Rochemont was perhaps best known as the first producer of The March of Time. He produced numerous documentary, commercial and educational films as well as feature films. He was an imaginative and energetic non-Hollywood filmmaker.

De Rochemont was born in 1899 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He started making movies when he was in high school, filming people on the streets and selling his films to the local movie house. He joined the U.S. Navy at the close of World War I, earned a naval commission and remained on active duty until August, 1923. He made recruitment films for the Navy until he retired from the Naval Reserve in 1928. In 1929, de Rochemont married Virginia Shaler in New York City. The couple honeymooned in India and Southeast Asia where de Rochemont worked for Fox Movietone News. He continued with Fox after returning to New York in 1930.

In 1934 De Rochemont and Roy Larsen of Time, Inc. conceived the idea for The March of Time, a visual news magazine. The March of Time was awarded an Oscar in 1936. De Rochemont made The Ramparts We Watch in 1940 as the European war was reaching out towards the United States. Louis de Rochemont’s brother Richard took over the reins of The March of Time in 1943 when Louis left Time, Inc. to work as a producer for Darryl Zanuck at Twentieth Century Fox. While there, de Rochemont produced the Academy Award winning The Fighting Lady (1944), the story of the U.S.S. Yorktown, an aircraft carrier at war; House on 92nd St. (1945), based on an FBI operation; 13 Rue Madeleine (1946), a story of OSS operations in Nazi-occupied France; and Boomerang (1947), a story of a potential miscarriage of justice.

De Rochemont left Twentieth Century Fox to form Louis de Rochemont Associates in New York City. Within this framework, and three other related companies, de Rochemont produced Lost Boundaries (1949), which explored racial issues; The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951), showing both sides of labor/management problems; Walk East on Beacon (1952), an anti-Communist statement; Martin Luther (1953), a dramatic presentation of a man who sought freedom from religious tyranny; and Animal Farm (1955), an animated version of George Orwell’s anti-Communist book. Following these were Cinerama Holiday (1956), which traveled with Swiss and American couples as they visited each other’s countries; Windjammer (1959), which chronicled the voyage of a Norwegian square-rigger; Man On a String (1960), a drama of espionage in the U.S. and Russia; and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961), an adaptation of the Tennessee Williams novel. In addition, the de Rochemont companies produced numerous commercial, educational and public service films, including The Earth and Its Peoples (1948) and Parlons Francais (1960). Louis de Rochemont was involved with writing, shooting, editing, and directing many of these films.

While most of Louis de Rochemont’s career centered in New York City, he and his wife renovated an old family house in Newington, New Hampshire, called Blueberry Bank. They had two children, Louis III and Virginia. In the early 1950s de Rochemont united many citizens of Newington and the Seacoast Region in an ultimately unsuccessful battle against the construction of Pease Air Force Base. Louis de Rochemont retired to Blueberry Bank and died there in 1978.

From the guide to the Louis De Rochemont papers, 1899-2004, (University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.)


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  • Motion pictures--Production and direction
  • Motion picture industry--United States
  • Advertising--Tobacco
  • Education--Audio-visual aids
  • Documentary films--United States
  • Documentary films
  • Motion pictures--Production and direction--United States
  • Motion picture industry
  • Advertising--Motion pictures
  • Language--Study and teaching
  • Newsreels


  • Motion picture producers and directors


  • Burma (as recorded)
  • Indonesia (as recorded)
  • Burma (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Indonesia (as recorded)