Best Documentary Movies of 1942
Live-action segments show members of the Disney staff touring South America and recording their impressions in sketches. These segue into four animated sections: "Lake Titicaca" depicts tourist Donald Duck's troubles with a stubborn llama; and in "Aquarela do Brasil," Jose Carioca shows Donald the sights and sound of Rio de Janeiro.
Why We Fight: Prelude to War
Prelude to War was the first film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series, commissioned by the Pentagon and George C. Marshall. It was made to convince American troops of the necessity of combating the Axis Powers during World War II. This film examines the differences between democratic and fascist states.
Listen to Britain
A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.
The Film That Was Lost
In this John Nesbitt's Passing Parade short, a look is taken at the problems of film preservation efforts in the 1930s and early 1940s.
The Battle of Midway
The Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as it happened.
South of the Border with Disney
Winning Your Wings
Winning Your Wings is a 1942 short American World War II recruitment film produced by Warner Bros. Studios for the US Army Air Forces, starring Jimmy Stewart. It was aimed at young men who were thinking about joining the Air Force.
The Woman in the House
This short looks at the illness anthropophobia, the fear of people. In 1901, young Catherine Starr, who lives in a small English coastal town, has an argument with her fiancé. He leaves her house, goes off to serve in the Boer War, and dies of malaria. Catherine blames herself for his death and fears others will also blame her. She does not leave her house for forty years. Groceries are delivered to the house, but no one sees who retrieves them. When the Nazis bomb her house in September 1941, she is forced to cope with the outside world.
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Firing Line
Documentary short film demonstrating the process by which waste fats from the kitchens of American homes can be transformed into the raw materials for explosives for the war effort.
John Ford splices together footage of Torpedo Squadron 8, all but one of whom were later shot down and killed in the Battle of Midway.
This Passing Parade series entry looks at three instances of people who either caused or were the victims of errors.
The New Spirit
Animated documentary promoting timely filing and payment of Federal income taxes, demonstrated by Donald Duck's difficulties with his tax return.
Marines in the Making
This short film shows U.S. Marines in training at a number of unidentified bases, with a focus on hand-to-hand combat.
No information available regarding the film's director. Just under 10 minutes of over an hour's footage survive.
The White Eagle
An Oscar-nominated British documentary about the Polish people who escaped Poland and were living in England during World War II, both civilians and soldiers.
Conquer by the Clock
Conquer by the Clock was a short dramatic propaganda film produced by the RKO Pathé in 1942 to encourage wartime industrial production. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1943.
Documentary short demonstrating American reasons for interning Americans of Japanese ancestry following the outbreak of war between the U.S. and Japan.
Lake Patzcuaro, located 230 miles west of Mexico City, is one of the highest and most picturesque bodies of water in Mexico. The heritage of the indigenous peoples of the area, the Tarascans, still prevails, such as the production of lacquer-ware handicrafts, and the means of hunting and fishing, the latter which uses nets shaped like large butterfly wings. Although most current day Tarascans are Roman Catholic, they have not totally abandoned their indigenous pagan gods. On Janitzio, one of the many islands in the lake, stands a large statue commemorating José María Morelos, a prominent figure in Mexican liberation and a great benefactor to the Tarascans. Janitzio is also the inspiration for many famous paintings. The town of Tzintzuntzan just inland from the lake's shore acts as the regional center for the market and for festivals.
Henry Browne, Farmer
Documentary short film dramatizing the efforts of a black farmer and his family to help the American war effort by increasing production.
We Must Have Music
A short history of movie music is presented, from silent films accompanied by a single piano, to the elaborate song scores for musicals (with scenes from MGM's musicals) and background music for dramas. Conductor/composer
A Ship Is Born
This Vitaphone 'Technicolor Special' (production number 8001) portrays the behind-the-scenes story of the building and manning, during World War Two, of the USA supply line to Victory against the Axis powers, the United States Merchant Marine service.
Mister Gardenia Jones
Documentary short film depicting the work of the United Service Organizations (USO) in providing recreational and morale-boosting services for American troops.
Short WW II documentary
A short film about how builders help contribute to the war effort.
Minnesota: 'Land of Plenty'
This Traveltalk series short visits some of the important cities and sites of Minnesota.
West Point on the Hudson
This Traveltalk series short visits the United States Military Academy at West Point just before America's entry into World War II. It starts with a short history lesson on the area's strategic importance in the Revolutionary War. We then get a look at some of the historic buildings on the campus. New soon-to-be-cadet arrive by train on their first day. After a look at the troops in some of the training areas on the post, the film ends with cadet marching on the parade ground.
Documentary style presentation of the work of RAF Coastal Command. Shows their work in protecting convoys and attacking enemy aircraft, ships and U-boats, all done by the actual men & women of the RAF.
Glimpses of Ontario
This Traveltalk series short visits Ontario, the second largest province of Canada. Toronto is the province's largest city, sitting on the shores of Lake Ontario. After the War of 1812, the Rideau Canal was built connecting the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario. The canal figures prominently in the geography and history of the City of Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
Glacier Park and Waterton Lakes
We begin at the train station near Montana's Glacier National Park, where Blackfeet Indians meet the arriving tourists. Glacier Park, an off-screen narrator tells us, has the remnants of 60 glaciers, from three ice ages. We visit the lodge, built in Swiss style, where college students dressed in Swiss garb do the serving at the restaurant. We watch Indian dancing and a ceremony. After views of lakes, mountains, and trails in the park, it's north to Canada's Waterton Lakes, a vacation spot for Canadian and U.S. families.
Modern Mexico City
This Traveltalk series short brings us to the capital of Mexico, where we learn a little about the three million people living there. Their living quarters are viewed, as are various monuments found throughout the city, including a monument to George Washington. We also see the Museum of Fine Arts and the Washington Apartments. From here, we visit the bullfights.
A humorous look at various circus and other acrobatic feats. One of the "Pete Smith Specialties" produced and narrated by "A Smith named Pete."
A documentary edited by Ji?í Weiss on the role of Soviet women in the Second World War
World War II propaganda film that shows the war-time agricultural work of women from the Women's Institute.
In this short, members of the California Water Bugs club demonstrate new ways to get thrills when water skiing.
This Traveltalk series short takes the viewer to sites in Massachusetts. Places visited include Plymouth Rock and harbor; John and Priscilla Alden's 300 year-old house; and the birthplace of Clara Barton, founder of the U.S. Red Cross. We also see Cape Cod windmills and pay a visit to Provincetown, including its picturesque harbor and its artist community.
The Scorched Earth
Once upon a time, the nation of Japan was not home to the peace-loving Japanese people that live there today but, rather, soulless sadistic devils called The Japs. Among The Japs’ many anti-social activities was not only the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but the full-scale invasion of China, the latter of which is chronicled in The Scorched Earth through remarkable – and probably quite rare – documentary footage which must’ve made audiences gasp in the pre-CNN days when one’s only glimpse of worldwide events came from the black & white newsreels at the local Bijou.
This Traveltalk short visits southern Mexico.
In this "Romance of Celluloid", MGM showcases performers whose careers are just starting. Excerpts from their recently released films are included. The narrator says that moviegoers will have to decide whether these fledgling actors and actresses have that certain quality that made superstars out of MGM players Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Lana Turner.
Made by the Realist Film Unit for the Ministry of Agriculture, the film details how to make sturdy, long-lasting hedges.
The Right Timing
The importance of timing in athletics
A narrator provides very brief info on the beginnings and history of Vaudeville while Vaudeville acts are staged by impersonators and contemporary performers.
The Price of Victory
U.S. Vice-President Henry Wallace narrates a patriotic, propaganda short designed to boost morale in the the early days of World War II.
The Thousand Days
Associated Screen Studios' 'The Thousand Days' is a dramatic, impressionistic review of an historic one thousand days--since September 1939. You see Winston Churchill speaking to the Canadian Parliament, you see activities in the largest machine gun factory in the world (Canadian), factories producing shells, tanks, army vehicles.
Four Methods of Flush Riveting
Flush riveting is a way of connecting two pieces of sheet metal together, using rivets whose heads do not protrude above the surface of the metal. In aircraft construction, a flush rivet reduces drag, thus increasing aircraft performance. This World War II-era Walt Disney industrial-training film teaches four methods of flush-riveting aircraft aluminum sheet metal: the Countersink method, the Double Dimple method, the Pre-Dimple method, and the Combination Pre-Dimple and Countersink method. The choice of method to use is based upon the thicknesses of the top and bottom metal sheets.
The Arm Behind the Army
Official War Film produced by the U.S. Army Signal Corps shows the importance of U.S. and allied factories in turning out military arms and vehicles to help in the war effort.
People of Russia
This FitzPatrick Miniature visits the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the largest geographically unbroken political unit in the world, covering one-sixth of the world's land mass.
Making a Compost Heap
This is a half-reel film telling its audience how to use inedible parts of plants from their garden to make compost. It seems pretty basic stuff, but there were a lot of city boys working in what were called Victory Gardens in the United States. Letting them know how easy it was to make compost for a better truck garden meant a lot of fresh food on the home front.
A Great Railroad at Work
A documentary outlining railroad work and the effects on the lives impacted by the iron horse
Joan Crawford Home Movies
The private Joan Crawford (always called “Billie” by her friends) fought as hard to create a normal family life as she did to establish her career. She forged her own path and to that end became a single parent, eventually adopting and raising four children. Like many parents, she picked up a 16mm camera and began filming both the special and the ordinary events of her family’s life. These home movies present that which one rarely gets to see: a larger-than-life personality at home, unadorned, just being herself.
Ukrainian Winter Holidays
Ukrainian communities of the Canadian prairies still follow the Julian calendar and celebrate Christmas on the seventh of January. Traditional foods are prepared for the holy Christmas Eve supper, eaten when the first star of the evening appears. Then traditional carols and light-hearted dances in gay costume continue the festivities. In striking contrast, on Christmas Day the Ukrainians gather at the Greek Orthodox church to worship in a solemn service with ancient ritual.