Best Documentary Movies of 1930


The Silent Enemy

7.0/10 IMDB

In the Canadian Northwest, the Chippewa tribe struggles to find food before the onset of winter.

Starring: Chief Yellow Robe, Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance, Mali Spotted Elk, Chief Akawanush, Mary Alice Nelson Archambaud, Cheeka ..
Directed by: H.P. Carver
Release date: 1930-08-02
Best Documentary Movies of 1930 : With Byrd at the South Pole

With Byrd at the South Pole

6.9/10 IMDB

With Byrd at the South Pole (1930) is a documentary film about Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd and his 1st quest to the South Pole beginning at the Little America-Exploration Base. The film's soundtrack consists mostly of music and sound effects, with narration read by Floyd Gibbons. The film won at the 3rd Academy Awards for Best Cinematography.

Starring: Floyd Gibbons, Richard E. Byrd ..
Directed by: Julian Johnson
Release date: 1930-06-19
Best Documentary Movies of 1930 : Mechanical Principles

Mechanical Principles

6.8/10 IMDB

Close up we see pistons move up and down or side to side. Pendulums sway, the small parts of machinery move. Gears drive larger wheels. Gears within gears spin. Shafts turn some mechanism that is out of sight. Screws revolve and move other gears; a bit rotates. More subtle mechanisms move other mechanical parts for unknown purposes. Weights rise and fall. The movements, underscored by sound, are rhythmic. Circles, squares, rods, and teeth are in constant and sometimes asymmetrical motion. These human-made mechanical bits seem benign and reassuring.

Directed by: Ralph Steiner
Release date: 1930-02-05

Pleasure Trips

6.5/10 IMDB

The beach and the bathers, poses and gestures. A series of sketches and portraits, little touches that build up into a wry, affectionate portrait of a Sunday at the beach.

Directed by: Henri Storck
Release date: 1930-12-31

Dance of the Hands

6.0/10 IMDB

Tilly Losch in Her Dance of the Hands.

Starring: Tilly Losch ..
Directed by: Norman Bel Geddes
Release date: 1930-12-31

Rural Life in Maine

5.7/10 IMDB

This 12-minute silent film was an amateur film, which seems to have been made just so people would know how hard the folks in Maine work. The film starts off in the morning as these people raise the American flag and then head out to work where they do that all day. By the time the sun goes down we see how hard they work, what they eat and of course the few breaks they get with grandpa on the fiddle. I'm sure many people would be left scratching their heads as to what the point of this film was but it's also important to remember that traveling around wasn't as easy in 1930 as it is today and back then people didn't have two-hundred different television stations. So, in many ways this is an important film because it gives people the chance to see what it was really like working on a farm back in the day.

Directed by: Elizabeth Woodman Wright
Release date: 1930-01-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1930 : Self-portrait or What we all miss

Self-portrait or What we all miss

5.5/10 IMDB

Mix of surrealist images of bubbles and smoke with some documentation of the world lived by Man Ray and Lee Miller

Starring: Man Ray, Elizabeth Lee Miller ..
Directed by: Man Ray
Release date: 1930-12-29
Best Documentary Movies of 1930 : Experimental Treatment of a Hemorrhage in a Dog

Experimental Treatment of a Hemorrhage in a Dog

4.8/10 IMDB

Jean Painleve short about an experimental canine surgery.

Directed by: Jean Painlevé
Release date: 1930-12-31

Any Evening After Work

4.9/10 IMDB

A man contracts a sexually transmitted disease, but is reluctant to seek medical help - until a no-nonsense lecture about the risks he is taking forces him to change his mind.

Directed by: Mary Field
Release date: 1930-12-31

Sinister Harvest

5.5/10 IMDB

Early "shockumentary", apparently shot in Egypt, which documents the habits of opium addicts. The interiors of drug dens are shown, and at the conclusion the film an addict is shown collapsing on a sand dune; the booming voice of the narrator informs us that the addict has perished. Footage used is from the silent film Dope Fiends.

Directed by: Dwain Esper
Release date: 1930-05-26

Japan in Cherry Blossom Time

6.2/10 IMDB

A springtime Traveltalk visit to Japan.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1930-04-25

Charming Ceylon

5.1/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short takes the viewer to the island nation when it was still a British crown colony and the name Sri Lanka was 40 years in the future.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1930-11-25
Best Documentary Movies of 1930 : Africa Speaks!

Africa Speaks!

5.3/10 IMDB

Explorer Paul Hoefler leads a safari into central Africa and what was then called the Belgian Congo, in the regions inhabited by the Wassara and the famous Ubangi tribes.

Starring: Harald Austin, Paul L. Hoefler, Lowell Thomas, Charles Gemora ..
Directed by: Walter Futter
Release date: 1930-08-14

Cobb Goes Fishing

0.0/10 IMDB

Humorist Irvin S. Cobb goes fishing with sportswriter Grantland Rice.

Starring: Irvin S. Cobb, Grantland Rice ..
Release date: 1930-10-05
Best Documentary Movies of 1930 : A Quaint Little Railway

A Quaint Little Railway

0.0/10 IMDB

This short, silent film captures one of Britain's minor little railways: the Leek and Manifold Light Railway on the Staffordshire Moorlands. The railway opened in 1907, linking the villages of Waterhouses and Hulme End, and was built mainly for agricultural traffic, with a passenger service being a secondary consideration. Its route went through beautiful countryside in Staffordshire, and it is unfortunate that the intertitles state it as being shot in Derbyshire.

Release date: 1930-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1930 : The Eyes of Science

The Eyes of Science

0.0/10 IMDB

The optical company Bausch & Lomb of Rochester, New York, contracted Watson and Webber to create this corporate industrial film to showcase the company’s extensive catalog of lenses and other optical instruments, displaying their practical applications in industry and everyday life. The Eyes of Science easily straddles the fields of avant-garde and industrial filmmaking, making both a fascinating object of form and style, as well as a highly educational, entertaining, and informative piece of film and industrial history.

Directed by: James Sibley Watson, Melville Webber
Release date: 1930-12-31


0.0/10 IMDB

Although Marinetti wrote the Manifesto of Futurist Cinema, Velocità is seen by some as the only futuristic film in its own right. Beside a dense intertextual network and a mechanic dance of the screen titles and objects dancing to stop-motion beats, the movie features a unique showcase of air painting on film and a few swinging frames from the streets of Turin.

Directed by: pippo oriani, Tina Cordero, Guido Martina
Release date: 1930-11-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1930 : Irish Songs

Irish Songs

0.0/10 IMDB

A little bit of Irish laughter, where you'll enjoy a selection of periodic Irish songs in the form of a short film.

Release date: 1930-12-31

Emperor Franz Joseph As Ruler and As a Man

0.0/10 IMDB

Material shot in 1908-16.

Release date: 1930-11-01

From Stump to Ship

6.2/10 IMDB

The long log drive: a spring journey down icy streams and rivers moving logs from the forest to the mill for sawing into boards, laths, and clapboards. For more than 150 years, logging techniques remained the same. Men cut trees by hand and loaded them on horse-drawn sleds to be hauled over snow to the river. Skilled river drivers maneuvered the logs downstream, risking their limbs and lives every day. This film survives as a record of the long log business.

Directed by: Alfred Ames, Howard Kahn
Release date: 1930-12-31

Alfama, the Old Lisbon

6.0/10 IMDB

A documentary on a neighborhood shouldn't limit itself to the coldness of the houses; but reveal the human realism of its life, with all its defects and virtues.

Directed by: João de Almeida e Sá
Release date: 1930-02-03

Peas and Cues

0.0/10 IMDB

Part of BFI collection "Secrets of Nature."

Directed by: Mary Field
Release date: 1930-12-31

Strange Birds

4.4/10 IMDB

"Strange Birds" is a documentary short made by Mack Sennett for Educational Pictures. It's unusual in that they used an early form of color, 'Sennett Color', a two-color process typical of the era (similar to Cinecolor and Two-Color Technicolor). As far as the film goes, it consists of three folks looking at birds at the newly opened California Aviaries Bird Park on Catalina Island.

Starring: Marjorie Beebe, Luis Alberni, Frank Eastman ..
Release date: 1930-11-23

Ban Josip Šilovi?

0.0/10 IMDB

One of the oldest preserved sound film recordings shot in Croatia is a short speech by Ban of the Sava Banovina Josip Šilovi?.

Release date: 1930-12-31

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