Best Documentary Movies of 1938
This Traveltalk series short visits Hungary's capital, Budapest.
Czechoslovakia on Parade
This FitzPatrick Traveltalk series short looks at Czechoslovakia before World War II, including images of bridges, churches, and castles in Prague, also a non-military parade through the city.
Documentary short made by Humphrey Jennings.
Singapore and Jahore
A visit to Singapore, an essential port city in Britain's empire, established in 1813 when Raffles negotiated its separation from the independent Malay state of Jahor. The camera observes Singapore's traditional neighborhoods, trade, and small craft, which are dominated by people of Chinese ancestry. Then, we drive the modern causeway to Jahor's small capital, Johor Bahru, for a look at imposing buildings and a visit to the grounds of the sultan. The sultan's son invites the crew in, and we meet the sultan, "H.H." himself. The narrator relates the sultan's commitment to commerce, economic well-being, and tolerance, stemming in part from his European education.
Tree Trunk to Head
“The personality of the sculptor Chaim Gross, his mannerisms, his characteristic method of work, his tendencies are all intimately disclosed in minute details, as though unobserved—a sort of candid-camera study. Dramatic form and cinematic structure endow the presentation with excitement, humor, and interest.” —Lewis Jacobs
Breakdowns of 1938
This was one of the annual "blooper" reels screened by the Warners Club, an organization of Warners actors, crew and executives. It was meant to poke fun at the flubs and bloopers that occurred ont the set of some of the major Warner Bros. pictures of 1938.
Documentary short by Humphrey Jennings
A travelogue of Port-au-Prince, Haiti concentrating on the daily life and rhythm of tropical island life.
This short Depression-era documentary describes the importance of the Mississippi River to the United States and laments the environmental destruction committed in the name of progress, particularly farming and timber practices and their impact on impoverished farmers.
The Great Heart
This short film tells the true story of the heroic sacrifice of Father Damien, the Belgian priest who suffered a living death in order to bring hope and God's comfort to the lepers confined on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.
As the subtitle of the film suggests - The Story of a Post Card from Manchester to Graffham - this journey is very much focused on the process of sorting, transporting and delivering the postcard in question.
Documentary short by Humphrey Jennings
Sydney: 'Pride of Australia'
This Traveltalk series short visits Sydney, Australia and its harbour.
Madeira: 'Isle of Romance'
This Traveltalk short takes the viewer to Madeira Island, the largest of the group of Madeira islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
Another Romance of Celluloid: Electrical Power
This short begins at Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam). The electricity generated here by the Colorado River is sent to Hollywood, where movie studios need it to make movies. After a tour of the MGM studios' power plants, we see short advertisements for upcoming MGM releases.
The Road of Health
The lecturer shows a microcinematographic sequence of spirochaetes and drawings of the gonoccus (the bacteria responsible for syphilis and gonorrhea). He then turns to an easel and begins to draw 'the road of health'; the cartoon takes this up in magic drawing, in a style that is highly reminiscent of the 'Giro the Germ' series made for the Health and Cleanliness Council a few years before.
Another Romance of Celluloid
This second entry in MGM's "Romance of Film" series documents how celluloid movie film is processed and features behind-the-scenes glimpses of current MGM productions.
Mony a Pickle
Documentary on savings
A short film on Republican efforts to improve education standards during the Spanish Civil War.
Fuentes Family Ranch
This 1938 home movie, shot by longtime Corpus Christi resident Antonio Rodríguez Fuentes, captures Fuentes' parents at their ranch near Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico. Fuentes' father rides in on horseback, while his mother tends feeds the chickens and tends to the crops. A proficient photographer, Fuentes takes note of the weather conditions during filming. He labels the footage of his father as taken on a cloudy, rainy day, and the footage of his mother as shot on a clear, sunny day.
The Expose of the Nudist Racket
This is a "road show" from 1938. There is no director credited. For a few years in the late thirties, "nudist colony" movies were quite popular on the "sexploitation" circuit. Notice that the girls featured with bare breasts are quite attractive, more so than average people who might be in the colony. These are probably models and aspiring actresses brought in for the movie only. As one producer of the time put it, "If you are going to make a nudist colony movie, bring your own nudists" Notice the title. Nudism is a "racket." an indication of the middle class morality which is imposed on all these movies. Also note how they make fun of the fat woman. This is another aspect of these films.
Gestern und heute
Nazi propaganda film contrasting Germany in the days before Adolf Hitler became Chancellor with the Germany of "today" and how much better it is.
Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra
In a nightclub setting, Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, with two of his vocalists, perform four of the group's best known songs. For the complete list of songs, check the soundtrack listing.
Glimpses of Austria
This Traveltalk short takes us to Vienna, the largest city in Austria. We visit the Schönbrunn Palace, the Charles Church, and the historic Opera House.
This MGM short provides brief glimpses of over sixty screen actors and actresses, all whom started in silent films.
Cairo 'City of Contrast'
This Traveltalk series short takes a look at Cairo's landmarks, people, and culture.
Screen Snapshots Series 17, No. 12
A visit to Buck Jones's new ranch and his horse, Silver, to James Gleason and his dog, to Charles Ruggles and his kennels; on the set of 'You Can't Take it With You', director Frank Capra and stars James Stewart and Jean Arthur celebrate Lionel Barrymore's sixtieth birthday; a ski meet is held at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Yesterday Lives Again
Compilation of newsreel items showing various people.
An examination of the history of anesthesia, from ancient Egyptian times to contemporary times.
The City of Little Men
The story of Boys Town, founded by Father Edward Flanagan in 1917 as a haven for wayward, homeless, and neglected boys.
Temples of India
Hindu temples at Benares and Belur and the mythologies associated with them.
This short film takes the viewer to several towns and historical sites of rural Sweden.
Paris on Parade
This Traveltalks short showcases the Paris International Exposition of 1937. It features a tour of the pavillions of several nations, as well as the spectacular water and light displays.
Filmed in 1938, less than a decade before Indian independence, Delhi has a curious tale to tell. ‘Delhi’, the viewer is informed, ‘is the cockpit of the Indian Empire’, it provides the ‘gateway to the riches of the south’. The opening sections of the film focus upon those who have tried and failed to establish a lasting power in the capital. ‘At Delhi’, the commentator states, ‘successive cities have been built by conquering invaders – each has fallen into disuse and decay’. The camerawork focuses on the ‘impressive ruins’ of these earlier invaders. Although the film also depicts the enduring architecture of Muslim rulers, such as Akbar and Shahjahan, it is stressed that their power has been superseded. Legend has it that it will be the ninth city of Delhi that ‘will endure and will rule forever’. Shahjahan had built the eighth.
The Adventures of Chico
A Mexican boy without young neighbors to play with, befriends a diverse group of desert animals.
Wonderfully photographed promotional film of an Austin engine being installed into a yacht which then sails around the Cornish coast visiting villages from Rye to The Lizard. Some villages are visited by Austin motorcar.
Return of the Buffalo
A 1938 NFB short. Part of a series called 'Canada Cameos' that traces the history of buffalo in Alberta, it's threat of extinction and the efforts to protect it as an endangered species. Narrated by Lorne Greene. (black and white)
Behind the Spanish Lines
Documentary short directed by Sidney Cole and Thorold Dickinson.
Titans of the Deep
Prominent scientists Dr. William Beebe and Otis Barton, using the Bathyspere invented by Barton, descend several thousand feet to the ocean floor off of the shores of Bermuda to study and film sea creatures seen and filmed at that depth for the first time. A sometimes staged semi-documentary that was often sold and advertised as an exploitation/horror picture.
A Voyage to Cebu
Travelogue by Andre de la Varre from 1938 that highlights key travel destinations throughout the island of Cebu in the Visayas, in the Philippines.
Study on Dactylaria brochopaga's predacious strategy
The Spider and the Fly
Few amateur films with sound were produced in the 1930s and fewer remain extant. A charming artifact that demonstrates the expressive possibilities and technical limitations of amateur talkies, "The Spider and the Fly" includes a backyard Labor Day gathering, a trip to the Riverview Amusement Park, and a homemade Halloween parade of witches and ghouls.
Challenge to Fascism: Glasgow's May Day
The film follows the preparations for Glasgow's 1938 May Day March and the march itself, with the participation of students, workers and politicians.
portrait of one aspect of rural life
Highlights and Shadows
Watson crafted a dazzling visual ballet that stands on its own as an aesthetically rewarding and educationally inspiring tour of the massive Kodak factories. Utilizing the multiple exposure imagery he had used to such great effect in The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) and Lot in Sodom (1933), Watson makes tool and die drill presses, assembly lines of camera parts, and the film coating process every bit as expressive and interesting as an MGM historic drama.
Symptoms in Schizophrenia
Shows masked mental patients enacting various schizophrenic symptoms as they were understood at the time. A disturbing film that raises questions about the condition and treatment of its subjects. (archive.org) “Abstract: This film describes and demonstrates four types of schizophrenia. Filmed at various New York institutions, it shows patients singly and grouped in large, outside recreational areas. Some patients are blindfolded. Symptoms shown include: social apathy, delusions, hallucinations, hebephrenic reactions, cerea flexibilitas, rigidity, motor stereotypes, posturing, and echopraxia.” (Guide to Mental Health Motion Pictures)
The Eternal Fire
Technicolor tour of Mt. Vesuvius and surrounding area.
Fleischer Studios Behind The Scenes
This fascinating and informative 1938 film, part of Paramount's Popular Science series, offers a tour through Fleischer Studios’ newly-built Miami studio during the making of the classic Popeye film Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp.
Photographic Studies in Hypnosis: Abnormal Psychology
Silent film showcasing hypnosis and its effects.
Opening with shots of the Basque region, this film collects the performances of the children's dance group Elai Alai and the Eresoinka chorus. They performed throughout France in order to bring awareness to the reality of the Basque Country and to raise funds to help refugees from the Spanish Civil War.