Best Documentary Movies of 1934
Man of Aran
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.
The Song of Ceylon
Ambitious documentary chronicling the cultural life and religious customs of the Sinhalese and the effects of advanced industrialism on such customs.
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.
Strikes and Spares
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.
The Hollywood Gad-About
A parade highlights the Screen Actors Guild's Film Stars Frolic, hosted by Walter Winchell as Master of Ceremonies.
Documentary following an Edinburgh fishing trawler, the "Isabella Grieg".
The First World War
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.
John Atkins Saves Up
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.
Short documentary about weather forecasting, emphasising the importance of the GPO's telecommunications systems.
Switzerland the Beautiful
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.