Best Documentary Movies of 1940

1.

Cavalcade of the Academy Awards

3.5
8.8/10 IMDB

This 1940 presentation features highlights of earlier (1928 onward) Oscar ceremonies including Shirley Temple and Walt Disney, plus acceptance speeches for films released in 1939 with recipients and presenters including Vivien Leigh, Judy Garland, Hattie McDaniel, Fay Bainter, Mickey Rooney, Thomas Mitchell, Sinclair Lewis, and more, with host Bob Hope.

Starring: Carey Wilson, Janet Gaynor, Emil Jannings, Mary Pickford, Warner Baxter, Norma Shearer, George Arliss, Marie Dressler, Lionel Barrymore, Helen Hayes ..
Release date: 1940-07-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1940 : Seattle: Gateway to the Northwest
2.

Seattle: Gateway to the Northwest

3.4
6.6/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short visits Seattle and other areas in the state of Washington. Seattle was a small city until the 1897 gold rush. During World War I, it served as a major shipping center for lumber that was transported through the Panama Canal to East Coast shipbuilders. We also visit a Weyerhaeuser lumber camp located between Longview and Tacoma, and the city of Everett, where lumber is used in the burgeoning aircraft industry.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1940-02-17
3.

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms

3.1
6.8/10 IMDB

This film shows experiments performed by Soviet scientists reviving the lungs, heart, and even the head of a dead dog.

Starring: J.B.S. Haldane ..
Directed by: D.I. Yashin
Release date: 1940-05-29
4.

The Capital City: Washington, D.C.

3.1
6.3/10 IMDB

A Traveltalk look at the exteriors of Washington, D.C.'s famous buildings and monuments.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Directed by: James A. FitzPatrick
Release date: 1940-09-07
5.

Old New Orleans

3.0
7.0/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short looks at several landmarks and neighborhoods in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sights include the Cathedral of St. Louis, Pirate's Alley, the Old French Market, and Broussard's Restaurant.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1940-12-21
Best Documentary Movies of 1940 : Quicker'n a Wink
6.

Quicker'n a Wink

2.9
7.3/10 IMDB

In this Pete Smith Specialty short, Dr. Harold E. Edgerton demonstrates stroboscopic photography, which he helped develop. This process allows us to see in slow motion what happens during events that occur too fast to be seen by the naked eye. Examples shown here include a bullet in flight as it shatters a light bulb, the moment of impact when a kicker kicks a football, and the motion of a hummingbird's wings as it hovers.

Starring: Pete Smith, Harold E. Edgerton ..
Directed by: George Sidney
Release date: 1940-10-12
Best Documentary Movies of 1940 : Spring Offensive
7.

Spring Offensive

2.9
6.5/10 IMDB

Documentary short by Humphrey Jennings. The GPO Film Unit was a subdivision of the UK General Post Office. The unit was established in 1933, taking on responsibilities of the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit. Headed by John Grierson, it was set up to produce sponsored documentary films mainly related to the activities of the GPO.

Directed by: Humphrey Jennings
Release date: 1940-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1940 : Eyes of the Navy
8.

Eyes of the Navy

2.9
5.8/10 IMDB

Produced by MGM in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, this short film follows U.S. naval aviators through their basic training in Florida and advanced training in California.

Starring: Frank Whitbeck, Charles Middleton, Warren McCollum, Russell Wade, James Conaty ..
Release date: 1940-10-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1940 : Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940
9.

Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940

2.8
6.0/10 IMDB

Field recordings of religious services in a South Carolina Gullah community. Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940 is a 1940 short documentary film which shows religious services taking place in a South Carolina Gullah community. In 2005, Commandment Keeper Church was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Directed by: Zora Neale Hurston
Release date: 1940-03-24
Best Documentary Movies of 1940 : Power and the Land
10.

Power and the Land

2.8
6.8/10 IMDB

A documentary showing the struggle to bring electricity to rural areas of the United States.

Starring: William Adams ..
Directed by: Joris Ivens
Release date: 1940-08-31

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