Best Documentary Movies of 1931


Industrial Britain

6.4/10 IMDB

Grierson set out to make "propaganda," and this film--with it's voice-over proclaiming the great value of the British industrial worker, without a hint of ambiguity or doubt--fits that category well. The authoritatarian narrator feels out-of-date and unsophisticated, but the footage is well shot and interesting, and the transparency of the propaganda aspect is almost a reflief at a time when so many films have hidden agendas.

Starring: Donald Calthrop ..
Directed by: Robert J. Flaherty
Release date: 1931-01-31

Little Journeys to Great Masters

6.0/10 IMDB

This short film provides a glimpse at famous art galleries of Rome, Florence, and the Vatican.

Directed by: E.M. Newman
Release date: 1931-08-01

Wild and Woolly

5.1/10 IMDB

This Sports Champions entry visits a rodeo and highlights the three main events: bronco busting, bull riding, and bull-dogging steers.

Starring: Pete Smith ..
Directed by: Charles Dorian
Release date: 1931-11-07

Europa Radio

0.0/10 IMDB

Commissioned by Philips, Europa Radio celebrates the company’s experimental PCJJ shortwave radio station in Eindhoven that went on air in 1927 and broadcasted to Europe as well as the rest of the world in various languages. Hans Richter’s film covers one day from morning to night, showing the range and scope of the daily radio programs – from stock market news and sports events to live concerts and a speech by Albert Einstein. (via:

Directed by: Hans Richter
Release date: 1931-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1931 : How I Play Golf by Bobby Jones No. 11: Practice Shots

How I Play Golf by Bobby Jones No. 11: Practice Shots

0.0/10 IMDB

Golf expert Bobby Jones arrives on the golf course to join actors James Cagney, Anthony Bushell, Donald Cook, Evalyn Knapp, and Louise Fazenda in shooting a golf instruction film. Louise Fazenda however has no knowledge of golf and her ongoing commentary disrupts Jones's attempts to practice. While Cagney and Bushell hold Louise's mouth shut, Jones demonstrates his approach to golf. Later, upon arrival of director George Marshall, Louise is sent off "to practice" alone while the cast and crew go about shooting the film.

Starring: James Cagney, Louise Fazenda, Anthony Bushell, Evalyn Knapp, George Marshall, Bobby Jones, O.B. Keeler, Donald Cook, Percy Ikerd ..
Directed by: George Marshall
Release date: 1931-04-15

Intimate Interviews: Bela Lugosi

0.0/10 IMDB

Actor Bela Lugosi discusses his career, his social life, and his feelings about his most famous role, Count Dracula.

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Dorothy West ..
Directed by: Grace Elliott
Release date: 1931-11-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1931 : A Bronx Morning

A Bronx Morning

0.0/10 IMDB

Arrival in the Bronx is shown with a view from an elevated train as it enters the city. Then follows a montage of sights from the Bronx. Many typical neighborhood activities are shown, along with scenes from many local businesses.

Directed by: Jay Leyda
Release date: 1931-11-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1931 : Round About Hollywood

Round About Hollywood

6.3/10 IMDB

This short travelogue depicts snippets of locations in Hollywood, California, most of them as seen from the streets. Considerable time is taken showing the kinds of architecture of private homes. There are images of various important buildings, and a depiction of the Hollywood Bowl. Finally, there is a sequence revolving around the premiere of the film “Dirigible” (1931) at the famed Chinese Theatre.

Starring: Frank Fay, Carl Laemmle, Gladys Lloyd, Bessie Love, Sally O'Neil, Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Gloria Swanson ..
Release date: 1931-05-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1931 : The House That Shadows Built

The House That Shadows Built

7.0/10 IMDB

The House That Shadows Built (1931) is a short feature film, roughly 55 minutes long, from Paramount Pictures, made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the studio's founding in 1912. The film was a promotional film for exhibitors and never had a regular theatrical release. The film includes a brief history of Paramount, interviews with various actors, and clips from upcoming projects (some of which never came to fruition). The title comes from a biography of Paramount founder Adolph Zukor, The House That Shadows Built (1928), by William Henry Irwin.

Starring: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Ben Taggart, Charles Ray, Sarah Bernhardt, Lon Chaney, Miriam Hopkins, Sylvia Sidney ..
Release date: 1931-07-08
Best Documentary Movies of 1931 : Screen Snapshots (Series 10, No. 8)

Screen Snapshots (Series 10, No. 8)

5.9/10 IMDB

Pola Negri, Bebe Daniels, Mitzi Green, Polly Moran, Mack Sennett and Marjorie Beebe are seen relaxing at Palm Springs, a California winter resort; Barbara Stanwyck and Ricardo Cortez play golf; other celebrities are shown in Malibu Beach.

Starring: Harriet Parsons, George Bancroft, Marjorie Beebe, Joe E. Brown, June Clyde, Ricardo Cortez, Bebe Daniels, Mitzi Green, James Hall, Neil Hamilton ..
Directed by: Ralph Staub
Release date: 1931-06-01

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