Best Documentary Movies of 1960
Jazz on a Summer's Day
Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational music to Gospel. It's a concert film that suggests peace and leisure, jazz at a particular time and place.
Blue Pullman is a 1960 short documentary film directed by James Ritchie, which follows the development, preparation and a journey from Manchester to London on new British Railways Blue Pullman units. As with earlier British Transport Films, many of the personnel, scientists, engineers, crew and passengers were featured in the 20 minute film. It won several awards, including the Technical & Industrial Information section of the Festival for Films for Television in 1961. The film is also particularly noted for its score, by Clifton Parker, which, unlike the earlier Elizabethan Express is uninterrupted by any commentary.
Primary is a documentary film about the primary elections between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey in 1960. Primary is the first documentary to use light equipment in order to follow their subjects in a more intimate filmmaking style. This unconventional way of filming created a new look for documentary films where the camera’s lens was right in the middle of what ever drama was occuring.
Nominated for an Academy Award, this live-action short film playfully chronicles the construction of the Tishman Building at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City.
A triumph of film art, creating on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space, this film was among the sources used by Stanley Kubrick in his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Realistic animation takes you into far regions of space, beyond the reach of the strongest telescope, past Moon, Sun, and Milky Way into galaxies yet unfathomed.
Description of a Struggle
Working primarily in the arena of nonfiction, Marker rejected conventional narrative techniques, instead staking out a deeply political terrain defined by the use of still images, atmospheric soundtracks, and literate commentary. In Description d’un Combat, Marker’s idiosyncratic style, combining location footage with archival material, builds a complex and personal portrayal. Israel’s demography is explored, from the kibbutzim to the Arab minorities, the orthodox Jews, and the tourists. The “battle” of the title does not refer to the tank-and-artillery variety, but to the inner struggle of Israeli citizens to adapt to a new view of themselves, in a new country.
When Comedy Was King
A compilation featuring comedic stars of the silent era including Fatty Arbuckle, Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Charley Chase, and Laurel and Hardy.
Integration Report 1
Integration Report 1, Madeline Anderson's trailblazing debut, was the first known documentary by an African American female director. With tenacity, empathy and skill, Anderson assembles a vital record of desegregation efforts around the country in 1959 and 1960, featuring footage by documentary legends Albert Maysles and Richard Leacock and early Black cameraman Robert Puello, singing by Maya Angelou, and narration by playwright Loften Mitchell. Anderson fleetly moves from sit-ins in Montgomery, Alabama to a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. to a protest of the unprosecuted death in police custody of an unarmed Black man in Brooklyn, capturing the incredible reach and scope of the civil rights movement, and working with this diverse of footage, as she would later say, “like an artist with a palette using different colors.”
A House in Bayswater
A personal and nostalgic film about an apartment building in Bayswater, where Russell once lived, and about the residents who inhabited it. The building is demolished to make way for an unattractive and bland office.
Shelagh Delaney's Salford
Short documentary about Shelagh Delaney and her hometown Salford.