Best Documentary Movies of 1954
The Vanishing Prairie
Story of the American Prairie as it was when vast herds of bison and elk grazed.
Helen Keller in Her Story
Narrated by actress Katharine Cornell and filmed in black and white, it spends the first 24 minutes introducing viewers, through newsreels, interviews, and old photographs, to the story of the deaf and blind disabled-rights pioneer. News footage shows her international appearances and visits with heads of state, including President Eisenhower allowing her to feel his face. The second half takes a day-in-the-(exceptional)-life approach to Keller's existence circa 1955. Made just 13 years before her death, Keller's famed tutor-translator-friend Anne Sullivan had already died, leaving her live-in replacement, Polly Thomson, to share the film's focus. From the time Keller takes her morning walk along the 1,000-foot handrail around her yard through her workday to her nightly reading of her Braille Bible, her serene acceptance of her life will amaze and inspire.
It's Everybody's Business
Animated propaganda advocating for the importance of unregulated capitalism to the American way of life.
Elizabethan Express is a 1954 British Transport Film that follows The Elizabethan, a non-stop British Railways service from London to Edinburgh along the East Coast Main Line. Although originally intended as an advertising short, it now acts as a nostalgic record of the halcyon years of steam on British Railways and the ex-LNER Class A4.
Won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Short of 1954. The subject deals with the children at The Royal School for the Deaf in Margate, Kent. The hearing-handicapped children are shown painstakingly learning what words are through exercises and games, practicing lip-reading and finally speech. Richard Burton's calm and sometimes-poetic narration adds to the heartwarming cheerfulness and courage of the children.
In Paris Parks
This short film displays the dynamic movement of people as they enter and exit parks in Paris.
Glimpses of Western Germany
This James A. FitzPatrick Traveltalks short visits the West German cities of Hamburg, Bremen, Munich, and Heidelberg. Included are scenes of World War II destruction that lingered at the time.
This Mechanical Age
This Mechanical Age is a 1954 American short documentary film about the early days of aviation, produced by Robert Youngson. In 1955, it won an Oscar for Best Short Subject [One-Reel] at the 27th Academy Awards
The Back of Beyond
This 1954 classic follows an outback mailman as he travels along the Birdsville Track.
The Stratford Adventure
This short film depicts how a small Canadian city, bearing the name of Stratford and by a river Avon, created its own renowned Shakespearean theatre. The film tells how the idea grew, how a famous British director, international stars and Canadian talent were recruited, and how the Stratford Shakespearean Festival finally became a triumphant reality.