Best Documentary Movies of 1944
The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress
This documentary centers on the crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress Memphis Belle as it prepares to execute a strategic bombing raid on sub-pens in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
Jammin' the Blues
In this short film, prominent jazz musicians of the 1940s gather for a rare filming of a jam session. This highly stylized chronicle features tenor sax legend Lester Young.
With the Marines at Tarawa
Documentary short film depicting the harrowing battle between the U.S. Marines and the Japanese for control of the Pacific island of Tarawa.
Why We Fight: The Battle of China
The sixth film illustrates Japan's occupation of China, including Madame Chiang Kai-Shek's stirring address before congress, the rape of Naking, the great 2,000 mile migration, and Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers.
The Fighting Lady
Oscar winner William Wyler directed this 1944 "newsdrama," narrated by Lieut. Robert Taylor, USNR (Bataan), and photographed in zones of combat by the U.S. Navy. The film follows one of the many new aircraft carriers built since Pearl Harbor, known as THE FIGHTING LADY in honor of all American carriers, as it goes into action against the Japanese in the Pacific Ocean in 1943. See the ship and its pilots undergo their baptism of fire, attacking the Japanese base on Marcus Island.
Documentary made by the U.S. Army Signal Corps after the North African campaign.
The Negro Soldier
Documentary focusing on the contributions to the American war effort of African-American soldiers.
Naples Is a Battlefield
The capture of Naples, the first great European city to be liberated, revealed the magnitude of the tasks involved in re-creating the means of livelihood and the machinery of government in a devastated, starving and disease-ridden city.
This Is Guadalcanal
This U.S. Marine Corps documentary from 1944 showcases the battle of Guadalcanal. The small island of Guadalcanal was, like many of the Pacific islands, defended with great determination by the Japanese forces. Both the landing on the beaches and the subsequent inland fighting resulted in heavy casualties for the Americans - and the Japanese fought to almost the last man and the last bullet.
You Can't Kill a City
A film which features the people of Caen in Normandy, France after the allied armies had forced out the occupying German army. The film demonstrates the courage and perseverance of the city's people as they slowly begin the long and difficult process of rebuilding a city which has been destroyed by war. Shots include machinery clearing away rubble, a flag raising ceremony and distribution of food, water and a locally produced newspaper. The people of Caen begin the process of establishing lines of communication with other regions of the liberated country, searching for spies in the community and repairing the pipes and sewers buried beneath the streets. Life is slowly returning to normal as people enjoy idle time spent fishing or enjoying a concert but they also remember the allied soldiers who have given their lives for their freedom. Included is a shot of a grave-site with a cross which reads "Bdr. Hill, E.I.; July 18, 1944".