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"From a truck passing near me a volume fell at my feet. I seized it and thrust it swiftly into the pocket of my raincoat. As I walked away from the opera house square, I opened the book. It was a collection of Heine's poetry. I glanced at the page which chanced to offer itself to my eyes and read, 'The future smells of blood.'"

-- GEORGE RONY, This, Too, Shall Pass (1945)

GEORGE RONY independently amassed a substantial collection of documentary footatge of 20th century war-torn Europe from the period of approximately 1900 to 1940, with emphasis on the Russian Revolution, the formation of Czechslovakia, the decline of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the rise of Italian dictatorship, German militarism, political cowardice that led to World War II and important political figures from England, France, Austria, Italy and other European countries. Some of the footage was public-domain news film. Some was purchased outright.

RONY edited the film into a series, Fifty Years of History, and narrated the shows with noted philosopher and long-time friend, Manly Palmer Hall. He licensed footage to Hallmark Productions, Inc., which created Halfway to Hell (exhibited in theaters in 1953), to NBC for a television show the same year, and to KCOP in 1955 for a weekly television series called Background to Battle.

Listed among his film credits are these: (this list is work in progress as archival documents continue to be examined)

  • Writer, Melody Lane (1941)
  • Distributor, The Blue Light (1939)
  • Director, La Tour de Babel (1949)
  • Producer, Blood Brothers (1953)
  • Contributor, Halfway to Hell (1954)
  • Translator, Taras Bulba (1957)

Motion picture producer Leni Riefenstahl, comments in A Memoir, the following:

In 1949, another emigré visited me at my apartment on Hohenzollernstrasse; it was none other than Harry Sokal, my co-producer on The Blue Light. . . . I was very angry with him because he had taken off with the original negative of The Blue Light, and claimed that it had been accidentally burned in Prague. At the time, I had no proof that he was lying. It wasn't until twenty years later that Kevin Brownlow, the British film director, told me that the original negative was in the United States, in the possession of a friend of Brownlow's, George Rony, who, just before the outbreak of the war, had bought it from Sokal along with the U.S. distribution rights. Rony was able to prove this and, after some negotiating, he told me he'd be willing to return my negatives to me for six thousand dollars; unfortunately, I didn't have the money.1

1. Leni Riefenstahl, A Memoir (Macmillan: New York) 1995, p. 367. 
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