Best Documentary Movies of 1953

1.

The Living Desert

3.9
7.5/10 IMDB

The Living Desert was the first feature-length film in Disney’s True-Life Adventures series of documentaries focusing on zoological studies; the previous films in the series, including the Academy Award-winning Seal Island, were short subjects. The documentary was filmed at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona. Most of the wildlife shown in the film was donated to what would soon become the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The film was inspired by 10 minutes of footage shot by N. Paul Kenworthy Jr., a doctoral student at the University of California at Los Angeles. Kenworthy’s footage of a battle between a tarantula and a wasp intrigued Disney, who funded a feature-length production following the lives of diverse desert species. Disney was highly supportive of Kenworthy’s work and its impact on nonfiction filmmaking, stating, “This is where we can tell a real, sustained story for the first time in these nature pictures.”

Directed by: James Algar
Release date: 1953-11-10
Best Documentary Movies of 1953 : Daybreak Express
2.

Daybreak Express

3.1
7.4/10 IMDB

Set to a classic Duke Ellington recording "Daybreak Express", this is a five-minute short of the soon-to-be-demolished Third Avenue elevated subway station in New York City.

Directed by: D. A. Pennebaker
Release date: 1953-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1953 : A Is for Atom
3.

A Is for Atom

3.0
6.3/10 IMDB

General Electric sponsors this explanation of atomic energy, detailing some of its uses besides the bomb. Using animation and an off-screen narrator, the film describes the atom, elements and isotopes, the discovery of transmutation, experiments in artificial transmutation, and the reasons for the power of nuclear fission. The film argues that now, besides war, the atomic age holds promise for energy, farming, medicine, and research. The promise of the atomic age will depend on human wisdom.

Directed by: Carl Urbano
Release date: 1953-01-01
Best Documentary Movies of 1953 : The Conquest of Everest
4.

The Conquest of Everest

3.0
7.1/10 IMDB

A documentary of the first successful expedition to the summit of Mount Everest. New Zealand's Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay climb Mount Everest in 1953.

Starring: Meredith Edwards, Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay ..
Directed by: George Lowe
Release date: 1953-12-09
Best Documentary Movies of 1953 : The Alaskan Eskimo
5.

The Alaskan Eskimo

3.0
6.8/10 IMDB

Oscar Winning short documentary

Starring: Winston Hibler ..
Directed by: James Algar
Release date: 1953-02-18
Best Documentary Movies of 1953 : The Sea Around Us
6.

The Sea Around Us

2.8
6.1/10 IMDB

Irwin Allen explores the mysteries of the deep blue sea in this Technicolor documentary. Based on Rachel L. Carson's famous study, this Oscar winning project investigates everything under the sea, from sharks, whales and octopuses to microscopical creatures and their coexistence in this vast underwater world.

Starring: Don Forbes, Theodore von Eltz ..
Directed by: Irwin Allen
Release date: 1953-06-30
Best Documentary Movies of 1953 : The Seafarers
7.

The Seafarers

2.7
5.4/10 IMDB

Acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick's first film made in color. The documentary focuses on the benefits of membership to the Seafarers International Union.

Starring: Don Hollenbeck ..
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Release date: 1953-10-15
Best Documentary Movies of 1953 : O Dreamland
8.

O Dreamland

2.7
6.5/10 IMDB

Lindsay Anderson's early documentary film of a British amusement park, the irony of its manufactured fun on full display.

Directed by: Lindsay Anderson
Release date: 1953-01-01
9.

Land of the Ugly Duckling

2.7
6.5/10 IMDB

The ugly duckling of the title is Hans Christian Andersen, the author who wrote fairy tales that still delight readers to this day. This Traveltalk series entry tells the story of Andersen's life. We visit the city of his birth and journey to other places important in his life.

Starring: James A. FitzPatrick ..
Release date: 1953-01-03
10.

The Elephant Will Never Forget

2.7
7.6/10 IMDB

A fond farewell to London's trams - whose peculiarly endearing qualities were discovered only at the threat of their disappearance.

Starring: Brewster Mason ..
Directed by: John Krish
Release date: 1953-01-01

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