Best Documentary Movies of 1943
Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia
The fifth film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series, revealing the nature and process of the fight between the Soviet Union and Germany in the Second World War.
Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi
A propaganda film during World War II about a boy who grows up to become a Nazi soldier.
Victory Through Air Power
This is a unique film in Disney Production's history. This film is essentially a propaganda film selling Major Alexander de Seversky's theories about the practical uses of long range strategic bombing. Using a combination of animation humorously telling about the development of air warfare, the film switches to the Major illustrating his ideas could win the war for the allies.
Show-Business at War
A multi-studio effort to show the newsreel audience the progress of the Hollywood war effort.
Why We Fight: The Battle of Britain
The fourth of Frank Capra's Why We Fight series of seven propaganda films, which made the case for fighting and winning the Second World War. It was released in 1943 and concentrated on the German bombardment of the United Kingdom in anticipation of Operation Sea Lion, the planned German invasion.
Hemp for Victory
An informational film produced to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort during WW2. The film details the many industrial uses of hemp, including cloth and cordage, as well as a detailed history of the plant's use.
A Welcome to Britain
An uncredited Anthony Asquith is one of the directors of this WWII film (a joint UK/US production) which aims to explain British culture and character to the newly arrived American soldier. Starting with the ubiquitous pub visit, the film breezes through geography lessons, food and entertainment on the Home Front.
The Silent Village
The true story of the massacre of a small Czech village by the Nazis is retold as if it happened in Wales.
Why We Fight: Divide and Conquer
The third film of Frank Capra's 'Why We Fight" propaganda film series, dealing with the Nazi conquest of Western Europe in 1940.
Why We Fight: The Nazis Strike
The second film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series. It introduces Germany as a nation whose aggressive ambitions began in 1863 with Otto von Bismarck and the Nazis as its latest incarnation.
This Traveltalk series short begins along the mighty Columbia River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean at Portland. The river passes through three dams. The salmon have a difficult task of making it up Celilo Falls, a spot where many native fishermen await. Outside of Bend, Rasmus Petersen has constructed a miniature village composed primarily of volcanic rock, semi-precious stone and petrified wood. At Crater Lake National Park, its waters and its bears are our final views.
Don't Be a Sucker!
Propaganda short film depicting the rise of Nazism in Germany and how political propaganda is similarly used in the United States. The film was made to make the case for the desegregation of the United States armed forces.
This Is Tomorrow
This John Nesbitt's Passing Parade short takes a look at the evolution of the American city, from the initially small farming village, to the eventually hectic, congested metropolis, to the future planned suburban community.
Grand Canyon, Pride of Creation
This Traveltalk series short begins with a look at Arizona's Painted Desert. We then get two views of the Grand Canyon's majesty. The first is from the rim, looking down from an automobile. The second view is from within the canyon, where mules take tourists along the various trails.
The Winged Scourge
The Seven Dwarfs fight malaria.
Through the Colorado Rockies
This Traveltalk series entry on Colorado begins in Colorado Springs, then proceeds to Pike's Peak. We experience a train ride over Royal Gorge and the sights along the Gunnison River. In Palisade, Colorado, we see men on stilts picking the local peach crop in order to avoid ladder damage to the fragile fruit trees.
Swedes in America
1943 documentary with Ingrid Bergman.
Report from the Aleutians
A documentary propaganda film produced by the U.S. Army Signal Corps about the Aleutian Islands Campaign during World War II. The film opens with a map showing the strategic importance of the island, and the thrust of the 1942 Japanese offensive into Midway and Dutch Harbor. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
A featureless land fit only for war, as the narrator, J. L. Hodson stated in the early scenes: "If war was to be fought then let it begin here". In endless miles of rock-strewn scrub desert, where civilians hardly existed. Desert Victory tells the story of the Allied campaign to drive Germany and Italy from North Africa is analysed, with the major portion of the film examining the battles at El Alamein, including some re-enactment. Won "Best Documentary Feature" at the 16th Academy Awards in 1944.
Plan for Destruction
Plan for Destruction is a 1943 American short propaganda film directed by Edward Cahn. It looks at the Geopolitik ideas of the ex-World War I professor, General Karl Haushofer, who is portrayed as the head of a huge organization for gathering information of strategic value and the mastermind behind Adolf Hitler's wars and plans to enslave the world. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Land of Orizaba
This Traveltalk series short chronicles the sights and sounds on a train ride from Veracruz to Mexico City.
A look at how the weather bureau tries to warn farmers and businessmen about approaching large storms. Although some precautions can be taken to lessen their impact, storms have to run their course, and there is really not much we can do about them.
Fala: The President's Dog
Fala was the famous Scotch Terrier owned by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his last two presidential terms.
Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines
A training film for OSS agents who are to be dropped behind enemy lines.
The Geography of the Body
A quotation from Aristophanes, "The desire and pursuit of the whole is called love," precedes views of a man and a woman's bodies, often in extreme close up. Off-screen, a voice recites fragments of oracular literature and purple prose. We see an eye, an ear, a mouth, a tongue, bits of hair, a hand, the tips of fingers, toes. Occasionally, the frame includes a larger scape of a body: a chest, a back, a breast. Usually the camera is stationery; sometimes, it moves across a body, remaining in close up. They hold hands for one moment. The bodies are without clothes; no genitalia are visible.
Produced in 1943 under the guidance of Army Air Force Lieutenant Clark Gable, this film follows a single 8th Air Force B-17 crew from training through a series of missions over Europe.
Mexican Police on Parade
This Traveltalk series short showcases the Mexico City police department's various units as they participate in a yearly festival. Included are a marching band, a parade of patrol cars, the motorcycle unit, equestrian unit, and the department's pistol team.
This Traveltalk series short opens with views of Nevada's natural wonders, then visits a mining town and a dude ranch. It's then on to Reno.
Cavalcade of Dance
Ballroom dancers Veloz and Yolanda perform the various dance fads of the first half of the twentieth century.
This Pete Smith Specialty is a semihumorous look at basic first aid techniques for mishaps that often occur around the house. It was produced in cooperation with the Beverly Hills First Aid Unit of the American Red Cross Disaster Service. —David Glagovsky
Youth in Crisis
There is a vast increase of youth crime, doubling in the two years since the US entered World War II. With fathers off to war, women are working in the factories leaving children at home for the day or after school, unsupervised and free to get into trouble. Young men and women, some working and making an adult wage, now feel that they have the right to act and do as adults. Others are trying their hands at new thrills, such as smoking marijuana. Young women are getting into trouble by getting involved with the many servicemen that they are attracted to. This film shows how these kinds of subversive thoughts that lead to juvenile delinquency can be broken by having youths selling war bonds and organizing 4-H clubs, among other activities.
The Grain That Built a Hemisphere
This animated documentary outlines the history and importance of corn in North America.
Food and Magic
A sideshow barker uses magic and visual aids to alert the public that proper food management is both a resource and a weapon that could be to America's advantage if conserved properly in winning the then current World War.
Recognition of the Japanese Zero Fighter
Military training film on the characteristics, capabilities, weaknesses, and recognition of the World War II Japanese fighter aircraft known as the Zero.
The Tree in a Test Tube
Stan and Ollie are stopped by narrator Pete Smith for the purpose of showing the audience how much wood and wood by-products the average person carries. Stan and Ollie then begin to open their pockets and briefcase, pulling out a variety of things that derive from the tree. The narrator talks all the way through this short film (about 7 minutes long). The idea is that scientists can put everything that comes from the tree into one test tube.
Cameramen at War
A tribute to the cameramen of the newsreel companies and the service film units, in the form of a compilation of film of the cameramen themselves, their training and some of their most dramatic film.
Documentary/training film depicting the duties of a pilot in the Pacific Theatre of the Second World War as he flies reconnaissance missions over enemy-held islands.
Words and Actions
Information on the different groups and organizations that are there to help the population during wartime.
Stars on Horseback
A profile of blacksmith George Garfield, among whose Hollywood clients were the horses of Joel McCrea and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams.
Summer on the Farm
A look at the rural farming community during WW II and how farmers help stop food shortages during the war.
This John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series short highlights the film preservation efforts of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Several scenes from early newsreels are shown.
Learn and Live
Joe Instructor, an Army Air Forces flight instructor, visits Pilot Heaven and has a discussion with Saint Peter about the unacceptable number of pilots who have died and gone to heaven without ever getting into combat, all as a result of haphazard or inattentive flying. Joe points out several pilots as examples and tells Saint Peter just what they did wrong that landed them in Pilot Heaven.
On the journey from Gangtok, India, to Lhasa, Tibet during World War II. The party journeys through Natu La and Kechu La passes, stops at the British trail station, Gyantse, reviews troops of Tropji Regiment and is ferried across the Brahmaputra River. Scenes of Tibetan natives, terrain, travel facilities, housing, a New Year religious festival, the Dalai Lama's palaces in Lhasa and monasteries.
This Traveltalk entry visits places along the Niagara River and gives the viewer spectacular images of Niagara Falls.
Corvette Port Arthur
This short documentary examines the role of convoy ships during World War II, focusing on the Corvette Port Arthur. The corvette, a highly mobile weapon of destruction, is used to combat German U-boats and escort convoys through the Atlantic Ocean. Following the corvette through an encounter with an enemy submarine, the film offers a glimpse into a day in the life of the Royal Canadian Navy.
Salt Lake Diversions
About an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, Utah is the ski resort of Alta, a former mining town, nestled within the Wasatch Mountains. Skiing and other winter alpine pursuits take place well into mid-spring. The relatively new ski lift is one of the longest in the western US. Some ride the lift not to ski down but to glance at the view from the 1,500 foot summit. Being the end of May, people at nearby Salt Lake are instead enjoying more summerly pursuits, such as boating. Behind only the Dead Sea, it ranks second among all large inland lakes for the saline content at 27%, the buoyancy from which makes it almost impossible to sink in. On shore at Black Rock Beach of the Bonneville Salt Flats is the site of many attempts of land speed records, most records held by Ab Jenkins. Another popular activity in the lake itself is the crystallization of salt around wire forms, the process which requires relatively still water and takes about two hours.
Over the Andes
This Traveltalk series short looks over the South American Andes mountains, and the South American west coast, also Rio de Janeiro.
Motoring in Mexico
This Traveltalk series short takes viewers along the Pacific International Highway, which starts in Mexico City (not seen) and proceeds west to Acapulco. We see the Spanish colonial architecture in Morelia, the famous Popocatépetl Volcano, and Acapulco's famous cliff divers and beaches.
Hit Parade of the Gay Nineties
Newsreel-type short about music from the 1890s making a resurgence in the '40s
On the Road to Monterrey
This Traveltalk series short visits three cities in Mexico. We start in the village of San Miguel de Allende, known for its churches. A monastery has been converted to a school of arts. The second stop is Queréaro, where a 5-mile-long aqueduct built hundreds of years ago is still functional. It was near this city that Emperor Maximilian was executed in 1867. Then it is on to Monterrey, the large industrial city whose nickname is the Pittsburgh of Mexico. Here are steel mills, other factories, and the largest brewery in Latin America.