Best Documentary Movies of 1951
Day of the Fight
American short subject documentary film in black-and-white, which is notable as the first picture directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick financed the film himself, and it is based on an earlier photo feature he had done as a photographer for Look magazine in 1949. 'Day of the Fight' shows Irish-American middleweight boxer Walter Cartier during the height of his career, on the day of a fight with black middleweight Bobby James, which took place on April 17, 1950.
Told with authenticity and perception, David looks back on the life of a school caretaker in a Welsh mining town, from the marriage and birth of his son to the trauma of a pit accident. David was the first film produced by the BFI, in 1951, and the Welsh selection for the same year’s Festival of Britain screenings in London.
Two days in the life of priest Father Fred Stadtmuller whose New Mexico parish is so large he can only spread goodness and light among his flock with the aid of a mono-plane. The priestly pilot is seen dashing from one province to the next at the helm of his trusty Piper Club administering guidance (his plane, the Flying Padre) to unruly children, sermonizing at funerals and flying a sickly child and its mother to a hospital.
Notes on the Port of St. Francis
Experimental, impressionistic documentary of San Francisco with narration based on a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson and narrated by Vincent Price
The Singing Street
Short film documenting children's street games and songs in 1950s Edinburgh.
Land of the Zuider Zee
This Traveltalks visit to Holland spotlights The Hague and two smaller tourist destinations. We learn that the economy of Holland, which for many centuries has been based on fishing and the growing of tulips, is slowly changing to an agricultural base.
Our Cities Must Fight
"Our Cities Must Fight" is a civil defense film that was produced for the U.S. government to illustrate the importance of not abandoning urban centers during an atomic bombing. The film cautions that doing so would make it easier for the invading "enemy."
Of Men and Music
A documentary featuring musicians including Artur Rubinstein, Jan Peerce-Nadine Conner, and Jascha Heifetz.
Marriage Is a Partnership
Flashback on the problems, adjustments and transformations occurring in the first year of a couple's married life. Pretty surprising film coming from Coronet about the "honeymoon is over" drama that newlyweds face. The marriage between Dotty and Pete is pretty traditional--Dotty quits her job to be a homemaker once they are married--but some more modernistic ideas come out, such as the idea that the two newlyweds decide together how the money that Pete earns will be spent, and the small mentions of sex. (!!) The "educational collaborator" listed at the beginning, Lemo Rockwood, was a professor at Cornell University, and her marriage course advocated sexual frankness and pre-marital experimentation, so it's easy to see her stamp on this film.
To Be a Woman
Documentary arguing the case for equal pay for women. Women are seen employed in their homes, in factories, teaching, nursing, in politics and in the professions. There are also some newsreel shots of marching suffragettes.