Best Documentary Movies of 1917
A Trip Through China
Documentary on the then-new Chinese Republic, taken over a ten-year period. Footage includes races at Shanghai, imperial ceremonies at the national Temple of Heaven, scenes of the destruction caused by the typhoon of 1914, and the installation of government officials at the Peking palaces.
How the Cowboy Makes His Lariat
Wild West performer Pedro Leon is the highlight of this three-minute film that shows how cowboys make rope and various other items. Within the three-minutes we learn that horsehair is the best thing to use so we see a couple men, including Leon, put the hair together and from here we see how they get it prepared to use for rope and other items.
The Key to Beauty
A lot has changed in the years since this promotional short film was made—but a lot hasn’t. Gym clothes have certainly improved, and exercise equipment is sleek and modern. But the message this film sends—“Ladies, the key to beauty is to be fit and be thin”—is still prevalent in 21st-century American society. The various exercises demonstrated here are designed to improve one’s health, posture, muscle tone, and according to the filmmakers, bring happiness.
A documentary about life in Cape Cod which shows the streets of Provincetown as they were at the time. Children are featured playing hide and seek, ships with big masts are seen in the harbor and fishermen are filmed mending nets.
Women’s Munition Work
This early public information film puts out an appeal for more women to take up munitions work - showing training centres, opportunities for work in the aircraft industry as well as the tempting prospect of a fun social life. (source: British Film Institute)
A documentary film describing the family planning work of Margaret Sanger.