Best Documentary Movies of 1952


The Olympic Elk

7.1/10 IMDB

Part of the "True-Life Adventure Series"; The subject of this two-reel are the elk of Washington state's Olympic Peninsula. We see these deer learning to walk, climbing downhill in a herd, and braving local bears. Those, plus some colorful arctic flowers, are the nice bits. We also see the elk engaging in duels (something amusingly observed and "imitated" by marmots), athletic fights with deadlocks said to often end in death by starvation to both participants. If that brutish behavior isn't enough to turn you off, then wait until you see how the polygamous bull males gather up wives and do battle with another (with wives as a wager) before unmelodically announcing the end of their bachelorhood.

Starring: Winston Hibler ..
Directed by: James Algar
Release date: 1952-02-13

This Is Cinerama

6.9/10 IMDB

This is Cinerama is a 1952 full-length film designed to introduce the then-new widescreen process Cinerama, which broadens the aspect ratio so the viewer's peripheral vision is involved. This is Cinerama premiered on 30 September 1952 at the New York Broadway theatre, in New York City. The film includes scenes of the roller coaster from Rockaways' Playland, then moves on to a scene of the temple dance from Aida, views of Niagara Falls, a Viennese choir, scenes of the canals of Venice, a military tattoo in Edinburgh, a bullfight, more from Aida, a sound demonstration in stereo, scenes from the amusement park in Cypress Gardens, Florida for a water skiing sequence, and the playing of America the Beautiful as scenes are shown from the nose of a low flying B-25.

Starring: Lowell Thomas ..
Directed by: Merian C. Cooper, Gunther von Fritsch
Release date: 1952-09-30
Best Documentary Movies of 1952 : Water Birds

Water Birds

6.7/10 IMDB

Water Birds is a 1952 short documentary film directed by Ben Sharpsteen. The film delves into the still waters of lagoons and marshes to the wild blue wilderness of the vast oceans, to experience the beauty and variety of their majestic birds, each perfectly designed for its habitat. It won the Oscar for Best Short Subject, Two-Reel.

Starring: Winston Hibler ..
Directed by: Ben Sharpsteen
Release date: 1952-06-26
Best Documentary Movies of 1952 : Hôtel des Invalides

Hôtel des Invalides

6.7/10 IMDB

A tour of the Hotel des Invalides, and more particularly of the Army Museum and the Saint Louis Chapel. From François I's armor to Guynemer's airplane, to Napoleon's and Marshall Foch's tombs. But this is no ordinary tour,it is rather a chilling visit guided by Georges Franju and narrated by Michel Simon emphasizing - at times through biting humor -not the glory but the nonsense of wars, but their tragic aftermath.

Starring: Michel Simon ..
Directed by: Georges Franju
Release date: 1952-12-31
Best Documentary Movies of 1952 : Royal Scotland

Royal Scotland

6.2/10 IMDB

Royal Scotland is a 1952 short documentary film directed by Gerard Bryant. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject, One-Reel.

Directed by: Gerard Bryant
Release date: 1952-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1952 : A Portrait of Ga

A Portrait of Ga

6.3/10 IMDB

The 'Ga' of the title refers to the film maker's mother. The film gathers together this elderly lady's everyday actions to offer an abstract insight into her life. Margaret Tait described this film as follows: 'My mother seemed a good subject for a portrait, (she was there), and I thought it offered a chance to do a sort of 'abstract film', in the sense that it didn't have what you might call 'the grammar of film'. It's mostly discontinuous shots linked just by subject, in one case by colour, only rarely by movement'.

Starring: Margaret Tait ..
Directed by: Margaret Tait
Release date: 1952-01-01

Ancient India

6.3/10 IMDB

This Traveltalk series short visits a few locations where the centuries-old traditions of ancient India are kept alive in contemporary times.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1952-06-06
Best Documentary Movies of 1952 : Alchimie


7.1/10 IMDB

The film is a short documentary about alchemical engravings.

Directed by: Jean Grémillon
Release date: 1952-09-03
Best Documentary Movies of 1952 : Wakefield Express

Wakefield Express

6.4/10 IMDB

Documentary about the production of a small town weekly newspaper from reporting to printing.

Directed by: Lindsay Anderson
Release date: 1952-12-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1952 : Duck and Cover

Duck and Cover

6.1/10 IMDB

Instructional short aimed at school-aged children of the early 1950s that combines animation and live-action footage with voice-over narration to explain what to do to increase their chances of surviving the blast from an atomic bomb.

Starring: Robert Middleton ..
Directed by: Anthony Rizzo
Release date: 1952-01-07

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