Associated Screen News

The Associated Screen News studio in Montreal, initially controlled by American interests, became the largest private Canadian production company following massive investment in it by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), which became the principal shareholder in February 1921. For several decades the company was run by Bernard E. Norrish, former head of the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau.

Associated Screen News produced mostly travelogues and geographical films, which in many cases were thinly-disguised advertisements for CPR. The company also produced industrial films and a series of newsreels and documentaries for commercial movie theatres. In addition, several American producers struck prints of their films for the Canadian market in the company’s highly-regarded laboratory.

In 1926, Associated Screen News built modern new facilities in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood of Montreal. In 1931, it acquired sound recording equipment. That same year, the company hired a talented director, Gordon Sparling, who made films in the Canadian Cameos series (1932-53) which often used an inventive treatment to transcend their banal subject matter. This was the case for example with Rhapsody in Two Languages, a short documentary about the city of Montreal. Associated Screen News also produced the series Kinogram Travelogues and Camera Rambles. Until the company was acquired by Du-Art in 1958, the films in these series were often the only images of themselves that Canadians could see on their movie screens.