Best Documentary Movies of 1949
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.
The Dim Little Island
Osbert Lancaster, James Fisher, John Ormston and Ralph Vaughn Williams meditate on the history and culture of England.
In Old Amsterdam
This Traveltalks entry looks at the sights, sounds, people, and art masterpieces in the capital of the Netherlands.
Roaming Through Northern Ireland
A look primarily at the beauty of the countryside and seacoast, starting at Carrick-a-Rede Island then on to Enniskillen, the cathedral at Downpatrick, an appreciation of Medieval Irish craft and architecture, visits to a peat farm and the ruins of Castle Dunluce, and the pastoral beauty of County Down. There we visit the resort seacoast town of Bangor. It's on to Cushendun in County Antrim and finishing at the Giant's Causeway as we examine fascinating rock formations and the mysteries of creation.
This short film purports to be a documentary (a semi-documentary?) featuring Shaw Desmond, founder of the International Institute for Psychical Research. Desmond relates several famous British hauntings.