Best Documentary Movies of 1949
Across Arctic Ungava
This documentary follows four scientists and their Native guides into the unmapped wilderness of the Ungava Peninsula, in northern Quebec. Crossing this territory in large canoes, they collect samples of Arctic flora and rocks, take readings of soil temperature and record the correct bearings for rivers and lakes en route. The keen excitement of opening a new chapter in Canadian exploration is evident throughout the film.
Let's Go to the Movies
What goes in to the phrase, "Let's go to the movies"? An off-screen narrator takes us back to the earliest days of film: clips remind us of early stars and blockbusters. He explains how sound came to motion pictures: we see Jolson singing "Mammy" and John Barrymore playing Richard III. Next is a salute to the 30,000 people working in Hollywood at 272 different crafts. A montage shows us some of those jobs. It ends with a look at the physical production of celluloid (cotton and silver) and the many aspects of movie making. The narrator promises more short films about each step in production.
City of Children
This final John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series short looks at a community, Mooseheart, in Illinois that orphaned children call home.
The film tells of the Armand Denis/Lewis Cotlow expedition that had the two men cover 22,000 miles through Tanganyika, Belgian Congo, and British East Africa. The high points of their ten-month trip are an impressive elephant hunt by the Pygmies of Belgian Congo, the crowning of King Mbofe Mabiashe and the capture of a rhino.
Short about the famous Danish sculptor
After several farmyard analogies featuring chicks and calves, the well-spoken narrator and director of the film, Winifred Holmes, considers the subject of girls and how they reach adulthood and readiness for the 'important job of motherhood.
Meditation on Violence
Chao-Li Chi shadow boxes indoors and practices with a sword outdoors. Theoretically, the film describes in a single continuous movement three degrees of traditional Chinese boxing, Wu-tang, Shao-lin, and Shao-lin with a sword. A long sequence of the ballet-like, sinuous Wu-tang becomes the more erratic Shao-lin; in the middle, there is an abrupt change to leaping sword movements, in the center of which, at the apogee of the leap, there is a long held freeze-frame.
Playlands of Michigan
This Traveltalk series short visits several popular vacation spots in Michigan. Among them are Saugatuck, which hosts a school for artists during the summer; Zeeland, where descendants of Dutch settlers perform traditional Dutch dances wearing wooden shoes; the Silver Lake sand dunes, where specially outfitted cars race; and Colon, "The Magic Capitol of the World", which hosts an annual gathering of magicians.
Glimpses of Old England
This Traveltalk series short focuses on the sights and culture that define "Old England". Included is a visit to the Cotswold Hills area, a ride on the Wye River, and visits to Tintern Abbey in Wales and Laycock Abbey in Wiltshire, England.
Heart to Heart
This Theatre of Life short focuses on heart disease, and how bad diet, lack of exercise, and the stress of fast-paced living contribute to the rising rates of heart disease and heart attacks.