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Mysteries in the Archives: 1934 the Assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia

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Marseille, Tuesday, October 9, 1934.

King Alexander I of Yugoslavia arrives in the port of Marseille for an official visit to France.  Several minutes later, he is shot point-black – killed by a Croatian nationalist opposed to his regime. 

The close-up filming of an assassination was a first in the history of cinema.  The footage also revealed serious lapses in security. Why so many?  Why were the cameramen able to get so close to film the dying king?  What became of their footage? 

The Yugoslavian king could have come directly to Paris by train. Why, then, did he travel to Marseille by ship – a choice that played a large role in complicating security arrangements. 

A closer look at the footage reveals that however unintentionally, the celebrated Fox Movietone newsreel of the assassination served French authorities. The Fox Movietone report, for example, neglected the civilian casualties – and the number of shot bystanders exceeds the number of bullets fired by the assassin – revealing that security forces also opened fire in the chaos…

2007, 26 min 16 s

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