Best Documentary Movies of 1934


Man of Aran

7.2/10 IMDB

A documentary on the life of the people of the Aran Islands, who were believed to contain the essence of the ancient Irish life, represented by a pure uncorrupted peasant existence centred around the struggle between man and his hostile but magnificent surroundings. A blend of documentary and fictional narrative, the film captures the everyday trials of life on Ireland's unforgiving Aran Islands.

Starring: Colman 'Tiger' King, Maggie Dirrane, Michael Dirrane, Pat Mullin of Aran, Patch 'Red Beard' Ruadh, Patcheen Faherty, Tommy O'Rourke, 'Big Patcheen' Conneely of the West, Stephen Dirrane, Pat McDonough ..
Directed by: Robert J. Flaherty
Release date: 1934-05-06
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : The Song of Ceylon

The Song of Ceylon

6.3/10 IMDB

Ambitious documentary chronicling the cultural life and religious customs of the Sinhalese and the effects of advanced industrialism on such customs.

Starring: Lionel Wendt ..
Directed by: Basil Wright
Release date: 1934-11-30
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : City of Wax

City of Wax

6.3/10 IMDB

City of Wax is a 1934 American short documentary film produced by Horace and Stacy Woodard about the life of a bee. It won the Oscar at the 7th Academy Awards in 1935 for Best Short Subject (Novelty).

Starring: Gayne Whitman ..
Directed by: Horace Woodard, Stacy Woodard
Release date: 1934-02-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Death Day

Death Day

6.4/10 IMDB

During his adventure in Mexico, Sergei Eisenstein made footage of a Mexican "Death Day" celebration for inclusion in his "Que Viva Mexico!" film project. When the 200,000-plus feet of film he eventually exposed in Mexico was first attempted to be made into a feature film, "Thunder Over Mexico", the producers excluded the Death Day material for subsequent compilation as an independent short subject. Silent with music track and explanatory English intertitles.

Directed by: Sergei Eisenstein
Release date: 1934-06-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Strikes and Spares

Strikes and Spares

6.3/10 IMDB

This short features professional bowler Andy Varipapa. He first shows the correct way to grip a bowling ball and the proper form for delivering the ball down the alley. He then performs several trick shots.

Starring: Pete Smith, Andy Varipapa, Buster Brodie, Ray Turner ..
Directed by: Felix E. Feist
Release date: 1934-10-20
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : The Hollywood Gad-About

The Hollywood Gad-About

7.8/10 IMDB

A parade highlights the Screen Actors Guild's Film Stars Frolic, hosted by Walter Winchell as Master of Ceremonies.

Starring: Walter Winchell, Mary Astor, James Cagney, Eddie Cantor, Gary Cooper, Billy Barty, Sy Bartlett, Billy Barty, Monte Carter, Gordon De Main ..
Release date: 1934-10-04
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : The Story of the Wheel

The Story of the Wheel

6.0/10 IMDB

The history of wheels, roads and vehicles from cavemen to the coming of steam.

Directed by: Humphrey Jennings
Release date: 1934-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove

Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove

5.4/10 IMDB

Several members of MGM's 'galaxy of stars' attend an evening of music and a fashion show.

Starring: Leo Carrillo, Gary Cooper, Mary Pickford, Jack Oakie, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mack Brown, Toby Wing, Richard Cromwell, Mary Brian, Ann Sheridan ..
Directed by: Louis Lewyn
Release date: 1934-12-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Granton Trawler

Granton Trawler

5.6/10 IMDB

Documentary following an Edinburgh fishing trawler, the "Isabella Grieg".

Directed by: Edgar Anstey, John Grierson
Release date: 1934-10-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : The First World War

The First World War

8.4/10 IMDB

Produced by the Fox Movietone News arm of Fox Film Corporation and based on the book by Lawrence Stallings, this expanded newsreel, using stock-and-archive footage, tells the story of World War I from inception to conclusion. Alternating with scenes of trench warfare and intimate glimpses of European royalty at home, and scenes of conflict at sea combined with sequences of films from the secret archives of many of the involved nations.

Starring: Pedro de Cordoba ..
Release date: 1934-11-08
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : 6.30 Collection

6.30 Collection

4.9/10 IMDB

Short documentary showing the workings of a large London sorting office.

Directed by: Harry Watt, Edgar Anstey
Release date: 1934-07-31

World's Fair

6.6/10 IMDB

Technicolor tour of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

Starring: Graham McNamee ..
Directed by: Robert M. Parks
Release date: 1934-04-03
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : John Atkins Saves Up

John Atkins Saves Up

6.4/10 IMDB

Combining a whimsical romantic tale, practical information about the Post Office Savings Bank, and a gently experimental film-making technique, this film entertainingly depicts some of the prospects opened up by having a savings account.

Starring: V.C. Clinton-Baddeley, Leslie Higgins, Eileen Lee ..
Directed by: Arthur Elton
Release date: 1934-01-01

Weather Forecast

6.0/10 IMDB

Short documentary about weather forecasting, emphasising the importance of the GPO's telecommunications systems.

Directed by: Evelyn Cherry
Release date: 1934-10-01

Switzerland the Beautiful

6.9/10 IMDB

In this Traveltalk series short we learn that four million ethnic French, German and Italian people live in Switzerland. The Alps and their important part in the country's history is noted. We view vividly-coloured alpine wildflowers which cover the mountain meadows in the spring. We see rushing mountain streams, fed by melting snows, and then learn of colourful alpine chalets and traditional wood-carving amongst other highlights.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: Ruth FitzPatrick
Release date: 1934-10-02

Pro Football

6.6/10 IMDB

This MGM Oddity features the 1933 National Football League champion Chicago Bears. The team demonstrates various plays, which are shown first in real time, then in slow motion.

Starring: Pete Smith, William 'Link' Lyman, George Musso, Charles 'Ookie' Miller, Jules 'Zuck' Carlson, Gene Ronzani, Bill Hewitt, Jack Manders, Bronko Nagurski, Carl Brumbaugh ..
Directed by: Ray McCarey
Release date: 1934-09-22
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Air Post

Air Post

6.1/10 IMDB

Shows the workings of Britain's Air Post service.

Directed by: Geoffrey Clark, Ralph Elton
Release date: 1934-07-06

The Hollywood You Never See

6.4/10 IMDB

The making of Cleopatra (1934), showing pre-production, DeMille directing a scene, and the addition of music to the soundtrack.

Starring: Cecil B. DeMille ..
Directed by: Herbert Moulton
Release date: 1934-01-20
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Zion: Canyon of Colour

Zion: Canyon of Colour

6.1/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short visits Zion National Park, Utah. Amongst the sights, we view the seven-hundred foot long Arch of Zion. To provide human access to the park, man-made structures are just as spectacular in their engineering accomplishments; these include the Mount Carmel Highway and Tunnel, and Zion Lodge.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1934-11-27

Holland in Tulip Time

6.3/10 IMDB

This FitzPatrick Traveltalks short visits Holland in springtime, going first to the below-sea-level fishing village of Volendam, then to the capital city of Amsterdam. We then turn our sights to the cultivation of flowering spring bulbs - tulips and hyacinths. No other country is as renowned for bulb cultivation as is Holland.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: Ruth FitzPatrick
Release date: 1934-09-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Roping Wild Bears

Roping Wild Bears

5.9/10 IMDB

Wild bears that bother livestock are captured with ropes and shipped to zoos.

Starring: Pete Smith ..
Directed by: W. Earle Frank
Release date: 1934-02-10

Hail Columbia

5.5/10 IMDB

This short film provides highlights from American history, focusing on George Washington's farewell to the troops to the War of 1812.

Starring: John B. Kennedy ..
Release date: 1934-08-28

Ireland: 'The Emerald Isle'

5.5/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk visit to Ireland starts with a look at the countryside, with its farms, small villages, and fields with walls and fences built of stone without the use of mortar. We then visit Hope Castle in Castleblayney and end our journey in Galway.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: Ruth FitzPatrick
Release date: 1934-12-11

Movie Memories #2

5.3/10 IMDB

This film contains excerpts from for Paramount silent films: Blood and Sand (1922), The Covered Wagon (1923), The Miracle Man (1919), and Beau Geste.

Release date: 1934-12-12
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Hitler's Reign of Terror

Hitler's Reign of Terror

5.2/10 IMDB

A documentary meant to show Americans what had been going on in Germany since Hitler's rise, centered on a fact finding trip by Cornelius Vanderbilt, with newsreel footage of book burnings and such.

Starring: Adolf Hitler ..
Directed by: Michael Mindlin
Release date: 1934-01-01

MGM's March on in 1934-35 with Metro Goldwyn Mayer: Convention of the Century

2.7/10 IMDB

In 1934, MGM held a convention in Chicago, inviting its company distributors from all over the United States to preview the films scheduled for the 1934-1935 exhibition season. After a welcome from studio executive Felix E. Feist, the people in each geographic division are introduced, and the chief of each division says a few words.

Release date: 1934-03-17

Japanese Puppetry

0.0/10 IMDB

British potter Bernard Leach made 16mm films during his travels in Japan and Korea in 1934-35. In this short film, Leach is clearly fascinated by the special “Kuruma Ningyo” (cart-doll performance) practiced in Hachioji, a suburb of Tokyo. Commentary by puppeteer Nishikawa Koryu V was recorded at his rehearsal studio and added to the film.

Directed by: Bernard Leach
Release date: 1934-02-07
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Papermaking in Japan

Papermaking in Japan

0.0/10 IMDB

In this short film Bernard Leach follows the papermaking processes at the workshop of renowned papermaker Abe Eishiro, one of the early members of the Mingei movement. The entire process of making Japanese washi in Yakumo Village, Shimane Prefecture, is shown. The voice of Abe Shinichiro, grandson of the Eishiro was recorded as commentary.

Directed by: Bernard Leach
Release date: 1934-04-11
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Evangeline


0.0/10 IMDB

A silent film hagiography of the Grand Pré region of Nova Scotia. Title cards illuminate the historical plight of the Arcadians in the time of the Great Upheaval. An unknown actress portrays Longfellow's Evangeline.

Directed by: Edward Bollinger
Release date: 1934-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : The River of Death

The River of Death

0.0/10 IMDB

A pictorial record of the Wanderwell's trip to the Brazilian jungle in search of Col. Fawcett who was lost in the wilds in 1925

Starring: Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Aloha Wanderwell, Walter Wanderwell ..
Directed by: Aloha Wanderwell
Release date: 1934-01-01

A Call for Help from Sing Sing!

0.0/10 IMDB

This plea to reduce the growing numbers of imprisoned youths, with its warning from the celebrated warden of Sing Sing prison, is drawn from the October 1, 1934, issue of Hearst Metrotone News. The segment’s dynamic visuals, on-camera personal appeal, and extended length make the story atypical for a newsreel, but the form’s usual breathless pace is applied to a cautionary fable: the too-frequent “road” of youth from school through unemployment, homelessness, and crime and on to the gates of the penitentiary. -National Film Preservation Foundation

Release date: 1934-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : Edinburgh


0.0/10 IMDB

Directed by Marion Grierson, who ran the film unit of the Travel and Industrial Development Association (TIDA), this short film contains some fine photography of the delights on offer to Edinburgh visitors - including trams, bustling streets, restful parks and some familiar tourist sights.

Directed by: Marion Grierson
Release date: 1934-01-01


0.0/10 IMDB

A documentary looking at a day at Croydon Airport south of London.

Starring: Carleton Hobbs ..
Directed by: Roy Lockwood
Release date: 1934-01-01

Irish Melody

0.0/10 IMDB

Robert C. Bruce’s “Musical Moods” travelogues

Directed by: Robert C. Bruce
Release date: 1934-10-01

America Today

0.0/10 IMDB

One of the key works in creating the American social documentary film, this 1934 newsreel compilation crams a lot of information into just 11 minutes. Skillfully edited, the picture captures a panorama of international events centered on the labor movement. Scenes include Mussolini, Hitler and FDR preparing for war, Nazi soldiers persecuting German Jews, a political strike in Paris, the Scottsboro demonstration in Washington, DC, police violence against striking steelworkers in Pennsylvania and union members stopping scab workers from delivering milk during a dairy farmers strike in Wisconsin. Under the direction of pioneering documentarian Leo Hurwitz, the images are edited together to create a powerful image of a world that, in his view, desperately needed radical change.

Directed by: Leo Hurwitz
Release date: 1934-01-01

Dealers in Death

7.2/10 IMDB

This documentary film is a pacifistic polemic that presents the argument that the world's largest munitions works, principally those in Europe, work in conjunction with one another, even when their countries are wartime enemies. These munitions works, in the interest of making money, manipulate wartime conditions to prolong wars.

Starring: Basil Ruysdael ..
Directed by: Monroe Shaff
Release date: 1934-01-01

Studio Highlights

0.0/10 IMDB

A short promotional film about Ruby Keeler and her upcoming film "Flirtation Walk." It provides a brief look at her career on Broadway, early films, and personal life away from the studio before showing a trailer for the new film.

Starring: Warner Baxter, Al Jolson, Ruby Keeler, Pat O’Brien, Dick Powell ..
Release date: 1934-08-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1934 : S.E. Tibet - Sherriff & Ludlow, 1934

S.E. Tibet - Sherriff & Ludlow, 1934

0.0/10 IMDB

Sherriff and Ludlow first met in Kashgar, Chinese Turkestan, where their shared love of ornithology, plants and travel led to a life-long partnership. They travelled widely in Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet collecting and documenting specimens. In 1933-34, they travelled to Tibet, Nang-kartse, Gyantse and back to India selecting over 500 plants and seeds; their collection included 69 species of rhododendron, 15 new to science.

Release date: 1934-01-01

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