White Wilderness (film)
White Wilderness is a 1958 American-Canadian nature documentary produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is noted for its propagation of the misconception of lemming suicide; the film was narrated by Winston Hibler. It was filmed on location in Canada over the course of three years, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. White Wilderness contains a scene that depicts a mass lemming migration, ends with the lemmings leaping into the Arctic Ocean; the narrator of the film states that the lemmings are not committing suicide, but rather are in the course of migrating, upon encountering a body of water are attempting to cross it. If the body of water the lemmings encounter is too wide, they can suffer exhaustion and drown as a result. In 1982, the CBC Television news magazine program The Fifth Estate broadcast a documentary about animal cruelty in Hollywood called "Cruel Camera", focusing on White Wilderness, as well as the television program Wild Kingdom. Bob McKeown, the host of the CBC program, discovered that the lemming scene was filmed at the Bow River near downtown Calgary, not in the Arctic Ocean as implied by the film.
McKeown interviewed a lemming expert, who claimed that the particular species of lemming shown in the film is not known to migrate, much less commit mass suicide. Additionally, he revealed that footage of a polar bear cub falling down an Arctic ice slope was filmed in a Calgary film studio. Though it was legal in 1958, it was unlikely to be authorized or approved by Walt himself. White Wilderness was the inspiration for 1988 Dead Kennedys song "Potshot Heard Round the World"; the scene of lemmings leaping off a cliff in White Wilderness was used as political metaphor in a campaign ad promoting Andrew Monroe Rice, an Oklahoma candidate in the 2008 US Senate race. List of American films of 1958 Official website White Wilderness on IMDb White Wilderness at the TCM Movie Database White Wilderness on YouTube "Lemmings" political ad on YouTube
Harlan County, USA
Harlan County, USA is a 1976 Oscar-winning documentary film covering the "Brookside Strike", an effort of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Duke Power Company-owned Eastover Coal Company's Brookside Mine and Prep Plant in Harlan County, southeast Kentucky in 1973. Directed and produced by Barbara Kopple, who has long been an advocate of workers' rights, Harlan County, U. S. A. is less ambivalent in its attitude toward unions than her American Dream, the account of the Hormel Foods strike in Austin, Minnesota in 1985-86. Kopple intended to make a film about Kenzie, Miners for Democracy and the attempt to unseat Tony Boyle; when miners at the Brookside Mine in Harlan County, Kentucky went on strike in June 1973, Kopple went there to film the strike against Duke Power Company which the UMWA had helped to organize. The strike proved a more interesting subject, so Kopple switched the focus of her film. At first, no one in Harlan County knew. Rumors said some "hippie crew from New York". Which side were they on?
Kopple soon asked a striker, "Why are you telling people not to talk to me?" "Girl", she was told, "you gotta tell people here what you're doin'."Kopple and her crew spent years with the families depicted in the film, documenting the dire straits they found themselves in while striking for safer working conditions, fair labor practices, decent wages. The most significant point of disagreement in the Harlan County strike was the company's insistence on including a no-strike clause in the contract; the miners were concerned that accepting such a provision in the agreement would limit their influence over local working conditions. The sticking point was mooted when, a few years after the strike, the UMWA folded the agreement, won by this group of workers into a global contract. Rather than using narration to tell the story, Kopple chose to let the words and actions of these people speak for themselves. For example, when the strike breakers and others hired by the company show up early in the film—the strikers call them "gun thugs"—the company people try to keep their guns hidden from the camera.
As the strike drags on for nearly a year, both sides openly brandish their weapons. Kopple felt it was important to continue filming because their presence and support kept the violence down. Kopple relays statistics about the companies and the workers to support the strikers, such as the fact that Duke Power Company's profits increased 170 percent in a single year. Meanwhile, the striking miners, many of whom are living in squalid conditions without utilities like running water, received a 4% pay increase despite an estimated 7% cost of living increase for that same year. Joseph Yablonski was a passionate, populistic union representative, loved by many of the miners. Yablonski challenged W. A. "Tony" Boyle for the presidency of the UMWA in 1969, but lost in an election viewed as corrupt. That year and his family were found murdered in their home. Tony Boyle is shown early in the film in good health, he is seen frail and using a wheelchair, being carried up the courthouse steps to face a conviction for giving $20,000 to another union executive council member to hire the killers.
A full year into the strike a striking miner named Lawrence Jones is fatally shot during a scuffle. Jones was well liked and had a 16-year-old wife and a baby. In the documentary, his mother can be seen breaking down during his funeral, screaming in agony and being carried away by male attendees; this moment, more than any other forces the strikers and the management to come to the bargaining table. A central figure in the documentary is Lois Scott, who plays a major role in galvanizing the community in support of the strike. Several times she is seen publicly chastising those she feels have been absent from the picket lines. In one scene, Scott pulls a pistol from her bra. Associate director Anne Lewis compares Scott to Women's Liberation activists in the film's 2004 Criterion Collection special feature The Making of Harlan County, USA. In an interview with Variety Kopple was asked if she was in danger while working on Harlan County, USA, she reveals that the head scab, Basil Collins, wanted to hire someone to shoot her, however the most dangerous things were the acts of violence by the mine owners to the miners.
The mine owners would hire, "local prisoners to beat people up, at houses. The people had to line their walls with mattresses." Norman Yarborough - Eastover Mining President Houston Elmore - UMW organizer Phil Sparks - UMW staff John Corcoran - Consolidation Coal President John O'Leary - former Bureau of Mines director Donald Rasmussen - Black Lung Clinic, WV Dr. Hawley Wells Jr. Tom Williams - Boyle campaigner Harry Patrick - UMW secretary-treasurer William E. Simon - U. S. Secretary of Treasury When the film was re-released critic Roger Ebert praised the film, writing, "The film retains all of its power, in the story of a miners' strike in Kentucky where the company employed armed goons to escort scabs into the mines, the most effective picketers were the miners' wives -- articulate, courageous, it contains a famous scene where guns are fired at the strikers in the darkness before dawn, Kopple and her cameraman are knocked down and beaten."Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the documentary, yet believed it provided only one point of view.
He wrote, "One of the better and more rousing labor strike films that calls attention
Kokoda Front Line!
Kokoda Front Line! was a full-length edition of the Australian newsreel, Cinesound Review, produced by the Australian News & Information Bureau and Cinesound Productions Limited in 1942. It was one of four winners of the 15th Academy Awards for best documentary, the first Australian film to win an Oscar, it was directed by Ken G. Hall. Damien Parer is cited as one of Australia's early Academy Award winners, however the award was made to the director, Ken G. Hall. Much of Parer's footage was used in a documentary made by a rival company, The Road to Kokoda. List of Allied propaganda films of World War II Kokoda Front Line! on IMDb Kokoda Front Line at Oz Movies Video on YouTube, posted by the Department of Veterans' Affairs Kokoda Front Line! at Australian Screen Online One of the Eyemo cameras used by Parer while filming Kokoda Front Line! can be seen at National Museum Australia, Canberra
Serengeti Shall Not Die
Serengeti Shall Not Die is a 1959 German documentary film written and directed by Bernhard Grzimek. His son, the cinematographer Michael Grzimek, died on-location during the filming of the documentary when a plane he piloted collided with a vulture, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1960. Serengeti on IMDb
The Fighting Lady
The Fighting Lady is a 1944 documentary film produced by the U. S. Navy and narrated by Lt. Robert Taylor USNR; the plot of the film revolves around the life of seamen on board an anonymous aircraft carrier. Because of war time restrictions, the name of the aircraft carrier was disguised as "the Fighting Lady", although she was identified as USS Yorktown. A few shots of aircraft landing were filmed aboard the Yorktown's sister ship USS Ticonderoga. Mentioned is the adage that war is 99% waiting; the first half or so of the film is taken up with examining the mundane details of life on board the aircraft carrier as she sails through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific Ocean seeing action at Marcus Island. The film provides aerial views of a series of airstrikes at Japanese bases in the Pacific theatre. Following an attack on Kwajalein in early 1944, intelligence reports that an armada of Japanese ships is massing near Truk, a major Japanese logistical base in the Carolines; the Fighting Lady and some of her task force are sent on a "hit and run" mission to neutralize it and return to Marcus, but not to attempt a landing.
Once the ship returns from the massive, two-day Truk raid, it is sent to the waters off the Marianas and participates in the famous "Marianas Turkey Shoot". At the end some of the servicemen who appeared in the film are reintroduced to us, the narrator informs us that they have died in battle; the film uses Technicolor footage shot by "gun cameras" mounted directly on aircraft guns during combat. This gives a realistic edge to the film, while the chronological following of the ship and crew mirror the experiences of the seamen who went from green recruits through the rigours of military life, and, for some, death. In his autobiography Baa Baa Black Sheep, U. S. Marine Corps ace pilot Gregory "Pappy" Boyington claims that the film shows the small pit in which he and five other prisoners of war took cover during the Truk raid. Boyington had been captured by the Japanese and was being transported to a prison camp on the Truk islands when the raid began. Boyington writes that the prisoners and blindfolded, were thrown from their transport plane during a hurried landing, that one of their Japanese captors saved their lives by throwing them into the pit, where they survived without harm.
According to Boyington, the film shows a crater from a two-thousand pound bomb that landed just fifteen feet from the pit. Due to her fighting heritage, to honor all carrier sailors and airmen, the Yorktown is on permanent display at Patriots Point in Charleston, SC. Alfred Newman's musical theme appeared in Vigil in the Night and was reused in Hell and High Water and in many 20th Century Fox film trailers. List of Allied propaganda films of World War II The Fighting Lady is available for free download at the Internet Archive The Fighting Lady on IMDb
Kon-Tiki (1950 film)
Kon-Tiki is a Norwegian-Swedish documentary film about the Kon-Tiki expedition led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in 1947, released in Sweden, Norway and Denmark in 1950, followed by the United States in 1951. The movie, directed by Thor Heyerdahl and edited by Olle Nordemar, received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 1951 at the 24th Academy Awards; the Oscar went to Olle Nordemar. The Academy Film Archive preserved Kon-Tiki in 2013; the movie has an introduction explaining Heyerdahl's theory shows diagrams and images explaining the building of the raft and its launch from Peru. Thereafter it is a film of the crew on board, shot by themselves, with commentary written by Heyerdahl and translated; the whole film is black and white, shot on a single 16mm camera. A small amount of color footage of Kon-Tiki does exist. Kon-Tiki Kon-Tiki on IMDb
The Horse with the Flying Tail
The Horse with the Flying Tail is a 1960 American documentary film by Walt Disney Productions, that won the Best Documentary award at the 33rd Academy Awards. The movie is about the palomino horse, who won the team gold medal at the 1959 Pan American Games, it was released theatrically on a double bill with Swiss Family Robinson, was broadcast on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color in 1964. The movie portrays this horse as having been a nondescript stock horse, however, he was sired by an American Quarter Horse named Muchacho de Oro out of an Army Remount mare of Thoroughbred breeding; this horse's registered name was Pelo de Oro, given to him at birth. He was shown in the national horse show circuit in the United States. Open jumpers compete for scores based on faults and time elapsed to complete the course. Prior to his Olympic fame, he had a reputation as a temperamental jumper, inclined to stop at water and ditch jumps; such refusals would disqualify a jumper from an event and his nickname among competitors was "Sneaky Pete" for those reasons.
He was an excellent jumper and when he cleared a fence, Sneaky Pete would raise his tail in the characteristic fashion shown in the photograph displayed from the film. That tail, raised so high, was repeated for each faultless jump and spectators at horse shows relied upon this signal from the horse to record his scores, without waiting for the results from the judges. Hence the title of the film about his career; when he was obtained by Hugh Wiley, Wiley enlisted the help of the United States Equestrian Team coach, Bertalan de Nemethy, together the two men trained the horse to be the Olympic level open jumper he became. At that time he became known as Nautical and was ridden by members of the U. S. Equestrian Team in international competitions. List of American films of 1960 The Horse with the Flying Tail at the Internet Movie Database The Horse with the Flying Tail at the TCM Movie Database