Best Documentary Movies of 1974
Hearts and Minds
Many times during his presidency, Lyndon B. Johnson said that ultimate victory in the Vietnam War depended upon the U.S. military winning the "hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese people. Filmmaker Peter Davis uses Johnson's phrase in an ironic context in this anti-war documentary, filmed and released while the Vietnam War was still under way, juxtaposing interviews with military figures like U.S. Army Chief of Staff William C. Westmoreland with shocking scenes of violence and brutality.
Animals Are Beautiful People
Animals Are Beautiful People (aka Beautiful People) is a 1974 nature documentary about the wildlife in Southern Africa. It was filmed in the Namib Desert, the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango River and Okavango Delta. It was produced for cinema and has a length of slightly more than 90 minutes.
Various MGM stars from yesterday present their favorite musical moments from the studio's 50 year history.
JERRY'S DELI is a testament to a bygone era when shrieking lunatics could run successful (even popular) businesses. Shot on film-stock leftover from television cameramen, Tom Palazzolo's portrait of Jerry Meyer offsets sequences of the tyrannical deli owner (seen berating his employees and physically dragging customers to the counter) with personal interviews in which a soft-spoken Meyer calmly describes his decorated military service in World War II, his early stand on civil rights and this one time when he stabbed an employee in the arm. - Tom Fritsche
A Poem Is a Naked Person
Les Blank's first feature-length documentary captures music and other events at Leon Russell's Oklahoma recording studio during a three-year period (1972-1974).
Released just a few years after her death, this forms a picture of who Janis was through interviews and performance clips.
Rivers of Sand
The people portrayed in this film are called Hamar. They dwell in the thorny scrubland of southwestern Ethiopia, about one hundred miles north of Lake Rudolph, Africa's great inland sea. They are isolated by some distant choice that now limits their movement and defines their condition. At least until recently, it has resulted in their retaining a highly traditional way of life. Hamar women eagerly accept their ritual whipping when boys come of age. Part of that tradition was the open, even flamboyant, observance of male supremacy. In their isolation, they seemed to have refined this not uncommon principle of social organization into a remarkably pure state. Hamar men are masters and their women are slaves. The film tries to disclose the effect on mood and behavior of lives governed by the idea of sexual inequality.
Glenn Gould: The Alchemist
Filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon visits piano virtuoso Glenn Gould more than ten years after his self-imposed exile from the stage, which results in a mixture of interview and performance.
Shocking fire safety 'filler' from the COI.
Primate sees realist documentarian Frederick Wiseman hone his lens on the inmates of the Yerkes Primate Research Centre. A representative scientist explains the aims and outcomes of the organisation, describing the mating habits and relationships of the animals.