Best Documentary Movies of 1941
The Reluctant Dragon
Humorist Robert Benchley attempts to find Walt Disney to ask him to adapt a short story about a gentle dragon who would rather recite poetry than be ferocious. Along the way, he is given a tour of Walt Disney Studios, and learns about the animation process.
Kukan: The Battle Cry of China
Rey Scott received an Honorary Academy Award for this documentary "For his extraordinary achievement in producing Kukan, the film record of China's struggle, including its photography with a 16mm camera under the most difficult and dangerous conditions."
Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler In Action
Chronicles combat action of Hitler's elite bodyguard regiment from 1940 to 1941. From Rotterdam to Greece, German frontline cameramen captured footage of early victorious campaigns. Scenes of camp life and ceremonies convey an impression of the comradeship, pride, and elan of this mighty military formation.
When the Pie Was Opened
Surrealism, avant-garde sound montage, and irreverent wit might be the last thing you'd expect from a government-sponsored film about wartime cookery. But director, artist, animator and all-round firework of a man Len Lye specialised in the unexpected. A simple tale of a mother cheering up her daughter with a pie from her rationing-stricken pantry (interestingly the war is never directly referred to) is skilfully crafted into a work of real artistic depth, while retaining an unpretentious charm.
This Traveltalk series short spotlights the natural beauty of the Northwestern United States. Our first stop is Mount Saint Helen's and Spirit Lake in the state of Washington. As we admire the majesty of the scene, visitors are picnicking on the shore and canoeing on the lake. These scenes were filmed many years before the volcanic mountain erupted in 1980. We then take a boat trip on the southern shore of Alaska to see the Columbia Glacier.
Christmas Under Fire
How Britain coped with a Christmas during the war.
Main Street on the March!
This Best Short Subject Academy Award winning film begins in the spring of 1940, just before the Nazi occupation of the Benelux countries, and ends immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It chronicles how the people of "Main Street America", the country's military forces, and its industrial base were completely transformed when the decision was made to gear up for war. Original footage is interspersed with contemporary newsreels and stock footage.
Mediterranean Ports of Call
This Traveltalk short visits the ports of Algiers and Monaco in the Mediterranean.
The Forgotten Village
Documentary examining the conflicts between the coming of modernization and the traditional culture of a small Mexican village.
This Pete Smith Specialty short focuses on the young men who have signed up for the U.S. Army. The film uses the analogy of the speed, accuracy, and teamwork of sports and how these qualities are translated into the weapons training of American soldiers. We watch target practice by Army personnel with shoulder weapons, mortars, and various artillery pieces.