Best Documentary Movies of 1936
This documentary short examines the special train on which mail is sorted, dropped and collected on the run, and delivered in Scotland on the overnight run from Euston, London to Glasgow.
Hollywood - The Second Step
This short follows the early career of actress Jane Barnes. She starts by doing extra work. After several months she is offered a studio contract (the "first step"). However, her work consists mostly of fashion shoots and bit parts that end up on the cutting room floor. She is even used as a stand-in for Maureen O'Sullivan on the set of a Tarzan movie when camera angles and lighting must be set up.
Rio de Janeiro 'City of Splendour'
This Traveltalks short showcases the sights and sounds of Rio de Janeiro, emphasizing its Portuguese influence.
Cherry Blossom Time in Japan
In this Traveltalk short, the symbolic role of cherry blossoms in Japanese culture is explored as well as the traditional Japanese religions of Shintoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.
Documentary short film showing the production of cars at a Chevrolet factory in the mid 1930s.
The Plow That Broke the Plains
A documentary about what happened to the Great Plains of the United States and Canada when uncontrolled farming destroyed the soil and led to the Dust Bowl.
Intended as a cinematic proof for the shared destiny of the German woods and the German people beyond the vicissitudes of history, Ewiger Wald portrays a perfect symbiosis of an eternal forest and a likewise eternal people firmly rooted in it between Neolithic and National Socialist times.
This Sports Parade series entry follows the life of Dixie Dan, a harness racehorse, from birth through age three.
The Jonker Diamond
Re-enactment of how the 726-carat Jonker diamond was discovered in South Africa in 1905 by the family of Jacobus Jonker; how it was sold to Harry Winston; and how it was cut by Lazarre Kaplan.
Screen Snapshots (Series 16, No. 1)
Viewers are provided a visit to Ken Maynard's private circus; Bette Davis poses for her portrait; Frank McHugh plays with his children; a visit to the West Side Tennis Club affords glimpses of many stars.
Enough to Eat?
A British documentary short about nutrition
An educational documentary short, commissioned by the Chevrolet Motor Company, explaining a manual car transmission works.
People of Britain
Short campaigning documentary putting the case for "peace by reason" rather than through re-arming.
St. Helena and Its 'Man of Destiny'
The remote island of St. Helena, a British possession located in the south Atlantic, is perhaps best known as where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled/imprisoned for the final six years of his life and where he died in 1821. His legacy on the island remains today, despite his body being disinterred and moved back to France in 1840. His home was at Longwood, one area of the island now ceded to the French in respect of its former resident. The island was discovered and named by the Portuguese in 1502. Until the British took over, many other European countries had or wanted possession of the island because of its location along natural trade routes. Jamestown is the island's only port, named after King James. With 4,000 inhabitants, St. Helena is self supporting, growing primarily potatoes and flax. However, its primary economic generator is the sale of the rare St. Helena postage stamp.
Yellowstone Park: 'Nature's Playground'
This Traveltalk series short showcases the natural wonders in one of the USA's most famous national parks. Waterfalls, grizzly bears, and the Old Faithful geyser are featured.
Can You Imagine?
This short shows various curiosities of people and nature across the United States, in the style of the "Believe It or Not" series. Among the dozen subjects are Milwaukee's Monkey Island; a boy in Salt Lake City who wrestles with his pet lion; a tree that grows out of a courthouse's stone roof; a well shaft in Pennsylvania that freezes in summer and melts in cold weather; and the town crier of Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Calendar of the Year
A series of scenes that comprised both new material (featuring frontal nudity), and old footage from an Italian version of Dante's Inferno (also featuring frontal nudity) and vignettes from the March of Crime series.
Television Comes to London
In this film, specially taken for the BBC, viewers are given an idea of the growth of the television installation at Alexandra Palace and an insight into production routine. There will be many shots behind the scenes. One sequence, for instance, will show Adele Dixon as she appears to viewers in the Variety at 3.30 this afternoon, and will then reveal the technical staff and equipment in the studio that made this transmission possible.
Driving safety film from the 1930's showing good and bad sides of a driver's mind.
This Nazi propaganda film attempts to justify and extols the "benefits" of euthanasia.
The Development of English Railways
We learn of the beginnings of the English railways and how they were devised in the 1800s.
This short follows a day of work for an Everglades wildlife trapper catching animals for zoos around America. In this film, his assignment is to go out into the swamp with his Indian assistant and find a bobcat, 2 black bear cubs and six rattlesnakes.
Mary Field's delightful documentary showcases the birdlife of Northumberland's Farne Islands: courting kittiwakes, baby oyster-catchers, guillemots and of course the puffin, described as "the ridiculous-looking bird on the left". Un-aided by modern stealthy cameras, Oliver Pike's breath-taking photography stands the test of time, while the wry commentary is refreshing and at times very funny. Nursery Island benefits from the direction of Mary Field, a former teacher who became education manager at British Instructional Films, and the photography of nature enthusiast Oliver Pike, who developed groundbreaking techniques to film animals in their natural habits (including an early camouflaged cine-camera). Field and Pike worked on the pioneering natural history series Secrets of Nature (1922-33), followed by Secrets of Life (1934-1950), effectively launching the popular genre of wildlife documentary as we know it today.
The Conquest of the Air
This early docudrama uses dramatic re-enactment, working models of early flying machines, and archival footage to trace man's attempts to fly from ancient times through the 1930's.
Message from Genova
This expository film with music by Benjamin Britten shows the mood of European society on the eve of the Second World War while promoting the values of international cooperation. Using the Swiss office of the BBC as an example, the film describes the functioning of radio and presents the possibilities opened by mass communications. After the advent of sound film, Cavalcanti promoted experimentation with sound, and in this connection he was interested in the communicational, organizational, and social aspects of radio.
The Handy Man
J.T. Baily will demonstrate how to repair a broken window. Broken windows are never very picturesque, and at this time of the year extra ventilation is not at all welcome. After this demonstration, however, every viewer should be able to look forward to window breakages as a fine opportunity for a show of skill.
Sociological documentary presenting various aspects of a village in Northern Romania in the 1930s.
This silent b&w film has intertitles in gothic script (in German). The film features cineradiography of x-rays of eating, drinking and digestion. Solid food is consumed sideways on with a good view of the mouth, then the thorax as food and drink pass down to the stomach. Finally stools are seen forming and dropping through the intestines to the colon.
Gardens of the Orient
This portait of life on the tea plantations is decidedly rosy – clearly, there are no exploited workers here. However, the film provides an intriguing overview of tea production – from the planting of tea seeds to the final shipping of the precious leaves across the globe.
Inn Signs Through the Ages
Fred Taylor displays a number of items from the Building Centre's 'Inn Sign Exhibition' held in November 1936. Some signs in the exhibition date back to the reign of Charles II, while others are more contemporary.
Among the Hardwoods
In mid-1936 a sound engineer visited the Pemberton region of south-west Western Australia to make a film that focused more on the atmosphere of the forest as it was irrevocably changed by the axe and saw of the loggers.
Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936
Berlin in the Olympic summer 1936. A Nazi propaganda film and a portrait in colour of the early 20th century city.
Diving Part 1
Official Film of the Amateur Swimming Association. An instructional documentary on diving.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Story of Papworth, the Village of Hope
A educational drama about Tuberculosis.
Cats, Birds and Fishes
Some champion exhibits from the National Cat Club Show and the Combined Bird and Aquaria Show, described by W. Cox-Ife, F. Hopkins, and L.C. Mandeville.