It is 80 years since the arrest of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the “Crime of the Century” – the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindberg’s baby son. Pathé News covered the story from beginning to end, and key films from the archive are presented below. The crime remains shocking even eight decades later.
BABY ‘LINDY’ KIDNAPPED (1932)
Views of Charles Lindbergh’s home – just after his baby son was kidnapped – from a British Pathé newsreel released in cinemas on 14 March 1932. Unfortunately, the film ends abruptly and it appears the ending is lost.
INTERVIEW WITH POLICE CHIEF (1932)
“Hopewell Police Chief First on Scene Tells of Lindy Kidnapping. Charles E Williamson declares note was found on window sill of baby’s nursery.” Interview.
HOME MOVIE SHOTS OF BABY LINDY (1932)
“Surely the most detestable crime in history! Twenty months-old little ‘Charles Augustus’ Lindbergh, found murdered near his home – 2 months after his kidnapping.” Newsreel from 16 May 1932.
WHERE BABY LINDBERGH WAS FOUND (1932)
Shots of the woodland where the body of the kidnapped child was discovered. Newsreel released in cinemas on 23 May 1932.
LINDBERGH TRIAL SCENES (1935)
Colonel Charles Lindbergh arrives at court and witness Betty Gow avoids photographers at the trial of Bruno Hauptmann. This short item was part of British Pathé’s News in a Nutshell series and was released in cinemas on 7 January 1935.
THE LINDBERGH BABY CASE (1935)
Scenes at Hauptmann’s trial at Flemington. N.J. for the murder and kidnapping, from a newsreel released in British cinemas on 14 January 1935.
HAUPTMANN FOUND GUILTY (1935)
“Closing scenes of America’s most thrilling trial” from a 18 February 1935 edition of Pathé Gazette. Richard Bruno Hauptmann is found guilty for abduction and murder of aviator Colonel Charles Lindbergh’s baby. Dramatic examination of the witness in court.
HAUPTMANN’S NEW LAWYER (1936)
Interview with Mr Samuel Liebowitz, new lawyer of the convicted murderer Bruno Hauptmann, in New York. The lawyer makes clear that Hauptmann could not have done the crime alone. Newsreel from 16 March 1936. Hauptmann was executed on 3 April.
Even more footage of the case, including a brief interview with Hauptmann’s wife, is held in the archive than can be presented here. To watch this footage on the British Pathé main website, click this link.
2 thoughts on “Crime of the Century”
nice history review
Hardly any of the ransom was recovered. The U.S. allowed some of Hauptmanns cohorts to leave the country after the crime.How did Hauptmann know which window to put the ladder up to when supposingly kidnapping the baby. This was a concerted effort by more than one person, but the U.S. are never interested in such conspiracies when they can pin a crime on one person. Hauptmann could hardly speak English and was totally vilified even before the trial. Just another cover up….