Best Documentary Movies of 1940
Cavalcade of the Academy Awards
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.
Seattle: Gateway to the Northwest
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.
The Capital City: Washington, D.C.
A Traveltalk look at the exteriors of Washington, D.C.'s famous buildings and monuments.
Old New Orleans
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.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse
The collapse of the bridge was recorded on film by Barney Elliott, owner of a local camera shop. The film shows Leonard Coatsworth leaving the bridge after exiting his car. In 1998, The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. This footage is still shown to engineering, architecture, and physics students as a cautionary tale.Elliott's original films of the construction and collapse of the bridge were shot on 16 mm Kodachrome film, but most copies in circulation are in black and white because newsreels of the day copied the film onto 35 mm black-and-white stock. Most copies in circulation also show the bridge oscillating approximately 50% faster than real time, due to an assumption during conversion that the film was shot at 24 frames per second rather than the actual 16 fps. (Wikipedia)
Experiments in the Revival of Organisms
This film shows experiments performed by Soviet scientists reviving the lungs, heart, and even the head of a dead dog.
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.
Quicker'n a Wink
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.
Eyes of the Navy
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.
Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940
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".