The Twenties and Thirties












The 1920's
The 1930's

Vamps, Flappers, and Shieks: Films of The Roaring 20's (separate page)
Newsreels
Harlem Renaissance
Musical Traditions of the World(for music documentaries and features about 20's and 30's music)
US History
US Politics and Government

Documentary Works and Primary Sources

The 1920's

The 1920's
Documents the decade of social change and exuberance that followed World War I. Describes the conflict between those who accepted the complexity of the twentieth century and tried to cope with it, and those who rejected the new and tried to live according to past values. DVD X3544

The Age of Ballyhoo
A television documentary about the Twenties told through the use of Hollywood movies, audio recordings and newsreels of the period. Narrated by Gloria Swanson. 1973. 52 min. Supplementary feature on DVD X1996

Al "Scarface" Capone: The Original Gangster
A biography of Al Capone, the Italian-American gangster who led the Chicago crime syndicate involved in smuggling and bootlegging of liquor and other illegal activities during the Prohibition Era of the 1920s and 1930s. Features archival film footage with commentary by authors and historians. Supplementary short issued with: The Adventures of young Indiana Jones. 2007. 28 min. DVD X235

American Musical Theater: 1800's to 1960's: Pt3. The Twenties and the Thirties
Contents: Irene (1920). Sally. Shuffle along. Lady be good (1924). Bombo.Music Box revues (1921). Rose-Marie (1924). Student Prince. Showboat(1927). Of thee I sing (1931). Porgy and Bess (1935). Pins and needles(1937). Cradle will rock. Anything goes. Jumbo (1935). Babes in arms.

Presents a chronicle of the evolution of the American musical theater usingcontemporary visuals and original recordings. An engaging chronicle of themusical stage, it covers the minstrel and variety shows of the 19th century,the growth of the theater of social significance in the 20's and 30's, continueddevelopments through the 1960's and the careers of major composers andproducers of the era. 61 min. Video/C 4044

American Visions: Streamlines and Breadlines.
Examines the mythic images of the 1920's and 30's as skyscrapers rise in New York and the rural heartland is idealized by Regionalists like Thomas Hart. Artists of the WPA celebrate the worker as hero, while Jacob Lawrence tells stories of black America, and ambitious New Deal projects like Hoover Dam project self-confidence in hard times. Also examines the work of Raymond Hood, Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, and Grant Wood. Written and narrated by Robert Hughes. Video/C 4780

Baseball: Fourth Inning, 1920-1930, A National Heirloom.
As America roars through the 1920's, baseball grows popular worldwide. One big reason is the astounding play of Babe Ruth, which secures his legend forever and makes it "A National Heirloom." 117 min. Video/C 3606

[Benchley, Robert] Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin
This special collection of rare short films pays homage to the great American satirist Robert Benchley and two other witty literati who shared his company at the Hotel Algonquin's legendary round table and personified the sophisticated literary scene of New York in the 1920's and 1930's. Contents: The witness / directed by Leslie Roush ; photographed by William Steiner (1941) -- The trouble with husbands / directed by Leslie Roush ; photographed by William Steiner (1940) -- The man's angle / directed by Leslie Roush ; photographed by William Steiner (1942)-- Mr. W's little game / directed by Lynn Shores (1934) -- The treasurer's report / directed by Thomas Chalmers (1928) -- Traffic regulations (1929) -- Sex life of a polyp (1928) -- Humorous flights / directed by Fred Fleck (1929) -- Crime control / produced and directed by Leslie Roush ; photographed by William Steiner. Robert Blauvelt (1941). 86 min. Video/C 999:3224

Coming of Age, 1924-1928 (American Diary Series)
Presents the history of the United States between 1924 and 1928 including the flapper era, the boom times after the war which brought peace, prosperity and Prohibition. Examines "Silent Cal" Coolidge as president, Lon Chaney's "Phantom of the Opera," the release of the first talking motion picture, Lindbergh's flight from New York to Paris, Al Capone in Federal Court and other events of the mid-twenties. 25 min. Video/C 7397

Demon Rum.(The American Experience)
Portrays Detroit, Michigan before, during and after Prohibition. Includes segments about Henry Ford's influence and recollections of Detroitians. 58 min. Video/C 1543

The Devil's Music: 1920s Jazz(Culture shock; 2)
Second of a four part series exploring why particular works of art became controversial. Part 2: In its early years, jazz faced resistance across America. Like rap today, jazz music was considered a dangerous influence on young people and society. It featured improvisation and the liberating rhythms of the black American experience instead of classical music forms. As jazz's popularity grew, moralists fought to suppress the music before it finally won acceptance as an art form. Directed by Maria Agui Carter & Calvin A. Lindsay, Jr. 60 min. Video/C 6909

The Diary of Sacco and Vanzetti
A docu-drama about the 1927 Massachusetts trial and execution of two Italian-American immigrant anarchists based on Vanzetti's own letters and speeches. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants to America were executed after they were convicted of killing two people during a robbery in South Braintree. Their controversial trial became a political firestorm fueled by anti-immigration and "Red Scare" hysteria that gripped post-World War I America. This unique docu-drama, shot on location around Boston where the case took place, tells the events from the point of view of Vanzetti. Written and directed by David Rothauser. 2004. 57 min. DVD 6909

The Flapper Story
Using a lively blend of interviews and archival footage, this documentary takes a look at the flapper, the proclaimed "New woman" ideal of America's roaring twenties. Sory / producer/writer/director, Lauren Lazin. 1985. 29 min. DVD X4586 (DVD supplement); Video/C 2973

Flappers: The Birth of the 20th-Century Woman
Using vibrant archival film clips and interviews with women who came of age during the Roaring 20s in Britain, this program chronicles the emergence of the modern woman in the aftermath of World War I. Higher education for women, the entry of women into politics and the professions, women's suffrage, new attitudes toward sexuality, and other topics are addressed within the historical context of the early 1900s. Dist.: Films Media Group. 1999. 53 min. DVD X5870; Video/C 8712

Focus on the Last Hundred Years: The Twenties
Uses archival photographs, sound recordings, and film footage to explore world events, sports, life-styles, and scientific achievements of various decades. 58 min. Video/C 1002

Golden Twenties
Documentary feature-length compilation of 1920s newsreel footage, with commentary about news, sports, lifestyles, and historical figures. DVD X4586 (DVD supplement)

Heaven and Earth: Lindbergh's Journey. (Century: Events that Shaped the World; 1.)
In the United States, the 1920s were characterized by a powerful tension that pitted the entrenched forces of tradition against the dynamic energy of modernity. This film seeks to understand that conflict through the story of celebrated aviator Charles Lindbergh. Belonging in spirit to a rapidly disappearing small-town America yet a strong believer in progress, Lucky Lindy captured the imagination of the country as he helped to move the world into a new era. 45 min. Video/C 6342

Les heures chaudes de Montparnasse. Coffret 1
In 1960-61, before the old district of Montparnasse disappeared, Jean-Marie Droit took a camera to the area to collect interviews with the remaining creative literary and artistic figures who originally began migrating to the Montparnasse in Paris in the 1920s. Interviews with Louis Aragon , Blaise Cendrars, Jean Cocteau, Robert Desnos, Marcel Duchamp, Foujita, Joseph Kessel, Amedeo Modigliani, Pascin, Man Ray, Tristan Tzara, Ossip Zadkine. Contents: Ils s'en venaient de l'Oural et du Mississippi -- Petite chronique du Montparnasse pendant la guerre 14-18 -- Enquête sur la vie, l'oeuvre et le destin de Modigliani -- La bande à Man Ray -- La fureur de vivre des années 20 -- Pascin, l'oublié -- La voix des poète. Original French with optional English subtitles. 6 hrs., 35 min. DVD X4898

Les heures chaudes de Montparnasse. Coffret 2
In 1960-61, before the old district of Montparnasse disappeared, Jean-Marie Droit took a camera to the area to collect interviews with the remaining creative literary and artistic figures who originally began migrating to the Montparnasse in Paris in the 1920s. Interviews with Apollinaire, Brassai, Pierre Brasseur, Jean Cocteau, Sonia Delaunay, Leon-Paul Fargue, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Helion, Joseph Kessel, Andre Masson, Francis Poulenc, Kees Van Dongen. Contents: Des valses 1900 aux canons de la grande guerre (52 min) -- À la recherche de Guillaume Apollinaire (51 min) -- À la recherche de Chaim Soutine (51 min) -- La rue de la Gaîté (51 min) -- Léon-Paul Fargue -- Le Groupe des six (51 min) -- Giacometti, un homme parmi les hommes. Original French with optional English subtitles. 6 hrs., 35 min. DVD X4899

Jazz. A film by Ken Burns.

The Gift. From 1917 through 1924 the "Jazz Age" begins with speakeasies, flappers and easy money for some. The story of jazz becomes a tale of two cities, Chicago and New York and of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, whose lives and music will span three-quarters of a century. This episode also follows the careers of jazz greats James Reese Europe, King Oliver, Willie Smith, Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman and James P. Johnson. Special features: Motion menus, complete performance of Louis Armstrong "I cover the waterfront." DVD 489

Our Language. By 1924 to 1928 jazz is everywhere in America and spreading abroad. For the first time, soloists and singers take center stage, transforming the music with their distinctive voices. This episode traces the careers of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Sidney Bechet, Bessie Smith, Earl Hines, Ethel Waters, Bix Beiderbecke, the first great white jazz artist, and Benny Goodman, the son of Jewish immigrants. DVD 490

The Jazz Age
Depicts life in America during the 1920's, a prosperous era of excessive pleasure-seeking which has come to be known as the Jazz Age. After World War I to the Great Crash of 1929, America went through a profound and exhilarating change in morals and manners. Much of the footage is drawn from newsreels and period motion pictures and goes beyond the stereotypes of flappers and gangsters to create a portrait of life on Main Street, as well as depicting the frenetic energy of nightclubs, jazz bands and chorus lines. Originally televised in 1956 on NBC's Project 20. Re-broadcast as a segment on America, a look back on PBS beginning January, 2001. 60 min. DVD 7109

The Jazz Age
Depicts life in America during the 1920's, a prosperous era of excessive pleasure-seeking which has come to be known as the Jazz Age. After World War I to the Great Crash of 1929, America went through a profound and exhilarating change in morals and manners. Much of the footage is drawn from newsreels and period motion pictures and goes beyond the stereotypes of flappers and gangsters to create a portrait of life on Main Street, as well as depicting the frenetic energy of nightclubs, jazz bands and chorus lines. Contents: A nation searches for "normalcy" after WWI -- New manners, new morals -- Big business in bootleg hooch -- Spotlight on Chicago gangsters -- Trans-Atlantic cruise boom -- Artists and writers flock to Paris -- All eyes on lucky Lindy -- Jazz age sports heroes -- Americans become fearless stock speculators -- Wall St. lays an egg. 60 min. DVD 1676

March of Time
Selected news stories from The March of Time newsreel series, originally produced by Time magazine. See US History videography for complete listing

New York, A Documentary Film. Episode four, The Power and the People
The final segment in a 5-part series chronicling the history of New York City from 1609 through 1930. Segment 5: Examines the roaring twenties in New York City as it becomes the cultural capital of the world with its hybrid cultural style that mixes high culture and low, black culture and white. This episode concludes with the skyscraper war, the rise & crash of the stock market and the construction of the Empire State Building. Directed by Ric Burns. c1999. 120 min. DVD 3767; vhs Video/C 6654

On the Trail of Eliot Ness
A biography of the life of Eliot Ness, the American prohibition agent famous for his efforts to enforce prohibition in Chicago, as the leader of a legendary team of law enforcement agents nicknamed The Untouchables because they could not be "bought off" by the mob. He declared war on the mob in Chicago and Cleveland and near the end of his life co-authored the book "The Untouchables." Features archival film footage with commentary by authors, academics and historians. Supplementary short issued with: The Adventures of young Indiana Jones. 2007. 30 min. DVD X235

Paris: The Crazy Years
In the period between the first and second world wars, prostitution was legal in Paris and brothels flourished. Petty thieves, drug dealers and street walkers packed the all-night bars of Montmartre where cheap sex and cheap booze drew the tourists. The art students' ball took over the streets in a public orgy of alcohol and sex. Bonus content: In-depth interviews with key historians and writers; Audio commentary track by filmakers Ted Remerowski and Marrin Canell. c2006. 45 min. DVD 5391

People's Century: On the Line, 1924.
When Henry Ford's Model T rolled onto the scene in 1908, it was inconceivable that it would ever be anything more than a plaything for the wealthy. But mass production and later, Ford's moving assembly line, allowed manufacturers to produce goods at affordable prices that made them accessible to a new mass market. This film follows the acceleration of mass production, from the days of master craftsmen to the pressures and benefits of assembly-line work to the growing strength of "people power" as labor and management struggled to divide the fruits of increased productivity. 1997. 56 min. Video/C 5546

Prohibition
Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Narrator, Peter Coyote. 2011. DVD X6619

A Nation of Drunkards
The 19th century was a period of growth both for alcoholic beverages and the temperance movement. The women's crusade of 1873 was essentially a general strike by women whose protest spread to 911 communities in 37 territories. However no laws had been changed and within a few years, saloons were back in business. In 1879, Frances E. Willard became the head of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Carrie Nation and her home defenders army started closing saloons in Kansas but it too failed to change laws. By the turn of the 20th century, there were some 300,000 saloons in America. Saloons were not only social centers but places where you could look for jobs or learn to speak English. The Anti-Saloon league was the most successful pressure group in America and the most effective in making alcohol a wedge issue. The brewers fought back but the temperance movement continued to grow, leading to the passing of the 19th Amendment. 94 min.

A Nation of Scofflaws
With the passing of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, the federal government now passes legislation to enforce it. Known as the Volstead Act, the legislation forbids not only hard liquor but also beer and light wine which many legislators assumed would be exempted. Penalties as well were far harsher than many had expected. The ban on alcoholic beverages could not be complete as alcohol was required by many industrial processes, religious observances and for medicinal purposes. From the day the ban went into into effect,entrepreneurs found ways, some legal, most not - to get around the law. Rum running. became big business with schooners plying their trade on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the U.S. By the mid-1920s many people had come to the conclusion that prohibition was a mistake. Those who drank were drinking more and with no way for government to regulate the illegal industry, they were also drinking bad liquor. Criminal gangs sprang up across the country but Chicago became synonymous with vice and booze. 110 min.

A Nation of Hypocrites
By the mid-1920s, a great many people had become convinced that prohibition was a serious mistake. Al Smith was adamant that as President, he would repeal the 18th Amendment. While alcohol consumption continued to rise, nothing demonstrated the failure of prohibition as did the rise of organized crime and the man who became the poster boy for crime and bootlegging, Al Capone. Soon, Pauline Sabin organized a national movement to restore the legal sale of alcoholic beverages. By the time Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932, beer was being sold and in less than a year, the 19th Amendment was repealed. 94 min.

Prohibition: America on the Rocks
Looks at the history of America's drinking habits and the establishment and repeal of Prohibition, the "Noble Experiment," by constitutional amendment from 1919 to 1933. The illegal production and distribution of liquor, or bootlegging, became rampant, with the rise of bootleggers and gangsters. It was repealed by the twenty-first Amendment. Features archival film footage with commentary by authors, academics and historians. Supplementary short issued with: The Adventures of young Indiana Jones. 2007. 33 min. DVD X235

Prohibition Newsreels
Producer, William Randolph Hearst: Capital stirred by biggest hooch raid (1923); Behind the scenes with the bootleggers (1926); More bad news for the thirsty (1930); Hoover Board's Dry Law report stirs nation (1931); Some opinions on Hoover Board's Dry Law report (1931); Dry agents still on the job (1932); First repeal gin shipped (1933); Repeal brings wet flood! (1933) (13 min.) Included on Treasures from American Film Archives III. DVD 8670

Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin.
This special collection of rare short films pays homage to the great American satirist Robert Benchley and two other witty literati who shared his company at the Hotel Algonquin's legendary round table and personified the sophisticated literary scene of New York in the 1920's and 1930's.

The witness / directed by Leslie Roush ; photographed by William Steiner (1941) -- The trouble with husbands / directed by Leslie Roush ; photographed by William Steiner (1940) -- The man's angle / directed by Leslie Roush ; photographed by William Steiner (1942)-- Mr. W's little game / directed by Lynn Shores (1934) -- The treasurer's report / directed by Thomas Chalmers (1928) -- Traffic regulations (1929) -- Sex life of a polyp (1928) -- Humorous flights / directed by Fred Fleck (1929) -- Crime control / produced and directed by Leslie Roush ; photographed by William Steiner. Robert Blauvelt (1941). 86 min. DVD X3301; vhs 999:3224

Sacco and Vanzetti(2004)
Tony Shalhoub (voice of Nicola Sacco), John Turturro (voice of Bartolomeo Vanzetti). Examines the case of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti through archival film, music, poetry and excerpts from the 1971 feature film. Also includes interviews with historians, artists and activists as well as readings from the prison diaries of the two defendants. The many personalities involved in these historic events including the judge, the attorneys, the Italian anarchist movement and the Communist Party are examined within the period's political context, especiallly the notorious "Red scare," of the 1920's which led to the arrest and deportation of thousands of immigrants. Directed by Peter Miller. 2006. 81 min. DVD 6486

Description from First Run Icarus catalog

The Ten Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table.
From 1919 to 1929 in New York City's Algonquin Hotel, a group of poets, novelists, playwrites, critics, humorists and editors met each day to exchange opinions, gossip and the most cutting wit of the day. 60 min. Video/C 1827

Top Hat & Tales: Harold Ross and the Making of the New Yorker
This documentary shows how Harold Ross, a high school dropout and miner's son from Colorado, started the sophisticated New Yorker magazine in 1925 by masterfully capturing the Jazz Age spirit, Broadway glamour and ultradry wit. Incorporating a rich array of film clips from the 20's and 30's -- speakeasies, jazz bands, rising skyscrapers -- this film reflects a dazzling Manhattan evoking an image of a metropolis that still glitters. Includes interviews with current and former New Yorker staffers. 2001. 47 min. DVD 7109 [preservation copy]; vhs Video/C 8492

The Twenties. (A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers)
Usually seen as an age of speakeasies, flappers and high living, the 1920's also saw millions of workers struggling for better wages. This program explores this decade when old America was vanishing and a new urban nation was being formed. Includes reminiscences of Americans who lived during this period. 58 min. Video/C 807

The Twenties.
Documents the decade of social change and exuberance that followed World War I. Describes the conflict between those who accepted the complexity of the twentieth century and tried to cope with it, and those who rejected the new and tried to live according to past values. DVD X3544

The Twentieth Century: A Moving Visual History: The 1920s
Brings the 20th century back to life through narration, rare photographs and stunning footage. A decade of contradictions: "The Roaring Twenties," as they are known, see a major polarization of people around the world --people who embrace change, and those who fear it. Milestones include: prohibition leads to bootlegging and organized crime; African-American culture accelerates and membership in the KKK reaches an all-time high; Stalin and Mussolini gain power as America turns its back on international affairs; American cities boom while agriculture lags; and big spending and overproduction lead to the stock market crash. DVD X3170

Village Radicals, New Americans, Boom, and Crash
This program examines the cultural changes of the early 20th century using theater as a mirror, to reveal the ongoing development of American culture and society's artistic aspirations. Through archival footage and expert interviews this film examines topics such as the impact of immigrants in drama; the blossoming of ethnic theater; the role of the American Laboratory Theatre; the influence of the Greenwich Village Theatre and the Provincetown Players; and the works of Eugene O'Neill. c1999. 30 min. Video/C 7018

Witness to History: Days That Shook the World : 1920-1929
Part of a documentary series covering milestones of the 20th century including political turmoil, the horrors of war, medical, scientific and technological advances and social upheaval that made this century. Part three covers key events in the decade of 1920-1929.

Contents: 1920-1929: Introduction -- January 16, 1920 - Alcohol Banned in the U.S. -- August 26, 1920 - Women Win the Right to Vote in the U.S. -- November 2,1920 - The Birth of Radio -- December 7, 1921 - Irish Free State Established-- October 30, 1922 - Mussolini & Fascists Take Over Italy -- September 1, 1923 - Earthquake Kills Over 300,000 in Japan -- January 21,1924 -Vladimir Lenin Dies -- January 27,1926 - First Liquid Fuel Rocket Launch -- May 20,1927 - Lindbergh Flies Solo Across the Atlantic -- October 6,1927 - The First "Talking" Movie -- September 15,1928 - Penicillin Discovered -- October 24,1929 -"Black Thursday" The Stock Market Crashes -- Epilogue. 30 min. Video/C 8790

Wonderful Nonsense: The Algonquin Round Table
The Algonquin Round Table was a celebrated group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits who met daily for lunch to engaged in wisecracks, wordplay and witticisms that, through the newspaper columns of Round Table members, were disseminated across the country. In its ten years of association the organization included many influential names in early twentieth century America. Features archival film footage with commentary by authors, academics and historians.. Supplementary short issued with: The Adventures of young Indiana Jones. 2007. 26 min. DVD X235

The Years of Jazz: 1918-1928(Our Century series)
This segment documents events from 1918 to 1928. After the war Europe is torn apart but the desire to live and to reject old values seizes hold of the survivors. The roaring twenties become a worldwide phenomenon as the world dances to the rhythm of jazz. Contents: Lust for life: restoration and recreation in Europe -- Roaring 20s: Prohibition, advances in agriculture -- That's entertainment: Motion picture industry, movie stars tour Europe, First meeting of the Society of Nations -- Troubles: Violence in Ireland, royalty become figureheads, poverty in Russia, boarders of middle European countries reshaped. -- Sports: Olympic games, acceptance of women into the games, women in sports -- Aviation: Airplanes, zeppelins, Charles Lindberg flight -- Mixed media: Advances in newspapers, radio and musical reviews with Josephine Baker and the Ziegfield follies, advertising in Europe, architecture and fashions in Europe, liberated women of Europe, jazz, sports cards, cruise ships and tourism -- Colonial causes: Rebellion in the colonies, expeditions to the Poles, Refugees, political unrest in Germany and France. 52 min. DVD X1250

The 1930's

Films of the British Documentary Movement
Film & Photo League / Nykino / Frontier Films
Spanish Civil War documentaries

The 1930s
Originally produced as an episode of the television program American experience 1990. 60 min. each installment

Disc 1: The Crash of 1929
In 1929, there were few critics of a stock market seeming to rise without limits. In fact, presidents and economists alike confidently predicted that America would soon enter a "new Era" when everyone would be rich. Instead, the rich got richer, and ultimately the promise of a permanent economic boom disappeared almost overnight, when the consequences of a decade of market speculation and manipulation came to bear. Includes interviews with participants, historians, and economists, and film clips of the stock market experience. DVD X2584

Disc 2: The Civilian Conservation Corps
Interweaving rich archival imagery with the personal accounts of Civilian Conservation Corps veterans, this film tells the story of one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments, positioning it as a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern environmentalism and federal unemployment relief. DVD X2584

Disc 3: Hoover Dam
An ambitious engineer turned a ragtag army of unemployed into a celebrated work force to create the Hoover Dam, a colossus rising 700 feet above the Colorado River that became a beacon of hope in dire times, bringing electricity and water to millions in the U.S. west. DVD X2584

Disc 4: Surviving the Dustbowl
In 1931 the rains stopped and the "black blizzards" began. Less well-known than those who sought refuge in California, typified by the Joad family in John Steinbeck's The Grape of Wrath, the Dust Bowlers stayed and overcame almost a decade of unbelievable calamities and disasters, enduring drought, dust, disease--even death--determined to preserve their way of life. DVD X2585

Disc 4: Seabiscuit
While not looking the part, Seabiscuit was one of the most remarkable thoroughbred racehorses in history. In the 1930s, when Americans longed to escape the grim realities of Depression-era life, four men turned Seabiscuit into a national hero. DVD X2585

Adolph Zukor Presents Broadway Highlights: Intimate News of the Gay White Way.
Presents a series of newsreel segments from the 1930s of celebrities of the day visiting New York's hot Broadway shows. Many prominent Big Apple personalities are shown, making this feature an important historical document as well as very entertaining viewing. Originally produced in 1936. 60 min. Video/C MM533

America, Lost and Found: The Depression Decade
Uses newsreels, old photographs, feature film clips, advertisements, and home movies to create a portrait of America in the 1930's. Conveys the psychological impact of the economic and social collapse that accompanied the Great Depression in the United States, how America reacted to the loss of its dreams and how these dreams were rebuilt. 1979. 59 min. Video/C 8988

America: The Promise Fulfilled and the Promise Broken.
Deals with the promise of unlimited prosperity after World War I, the boom of the 1920's, the Depression and the New Deal. With Alistair Cooke. 52 min. Video/C 1424

American Musical Theater: 1800's to 1960's: Pt3. The twenties and the thirties
Contents: Irene (1920). Sally. Shuffle along. Lady be good (1924). Bombo.Music Box revues (1921). Rose-Marie (1924). Student Prince. Showboat(1927). Of thee I sing (1931). Porgy and Bess (1935). Pins and needles(1937). Cradle will rock. Anything goes. Jumbo (1935). Babes in arms.

Presents a chronicle of the evolution of the American musical theater usingcontemporary visuals and original recordings. An engaging chronicle of themusical stage, it covers the minstrel and variety shows of the 19th century,the growth of the theater of social significance in the 20's and 30's, continueddevelopments through the 1960's and the careers of major composers andproducers of the era. 61 min. Video/C 4044

American Visions: Streamlines and Breadlines.
Examines the mythic images of the 1920's and 30's as skyscrapers rise in New York and the rural heartland is idealized by Regionalists like Thomas Hart. Artists of the WPA celebrate the worker as hero, while Jacob Lawrence tells stories of black America, and ambitious New Deal projects like Hoover Dam project self-confidence in hard times. Also examines the work of Raymond Hood, Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, and Grant Wood. Written and narrated by Robert Hughes. Video/C 4780

Arguing the World.
Traces the lives of four of the 20th century's leading thinkers, Daniel Bell, Nathan Glazer, Irving Howe and Irving Kristol. They have been disagreeing with a vengeance since they studied together at New York City College in the 1930s. This film traces their early idealistic days, their controversial role in the McCarthy era, their battle with the New Left in the sixties, and their vastly differing political views today. A film by Joseph Dorman. 1997. 84 min. DVD X5702; Video/C 5541

Artists at Work: A Film on the New Deal Art Projects
An in-depth survey of the federal programs for support of visual artists during the depression. Several artists recount experiences with WPA's art project and other programs. Shows works of art created during the New Deal era and discusses the destruction and loss of many works of art produced then. Producer and director, Mary Lance. 1981. 35 min. Video/C 853

Baseball: Fifth Inning, 1930-1940, Shadow Ball.
Baseball struggles to survive during the years of the Great Depression. America's game has another struggle too--the stain of racial segregation. A Film by Ken Burns. 126 min. DVD X5600; vhs Video/C 3607

Breadline, 1929(People's Century)
The 1920s found Americans enjoying the fruits of a new prosperity in a post-war boom. Then, in 1929, the New York Stock Exchange crashed; banks failed and industry withered. From Europe and the United States to Latin America and Asia, the Great Depression shattered economies and communities worldwide. In this film the people who were there remember the blow as workers from the United States, Chile, Britain, Belgium and Scandinavia recall the hungry 1930s. Originally shown on PBS stations in 1997. 56 min. Video/C 5550

Britain in the 30's
British documentary and experimental films of the 1930s SEE Documentary Classics Videography

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
This documentary juxtaposes newsreel footage, film clips and period music in an eye-opening look at the Great Depression. Many of the movies created in the 1930s featured strong social commentary, while others offered pure escapism and fed a fascination with a dazzling world out of reach to the everyday American. Through a contrast between the fantasy of film and the reality of everyday life, a fascinating perspective on the Great Depression and Hollywood's golden age is presented. Also includes political speeches by Franklin D. Roosevelt and others.1975. 112 min. DVD 450

The Call of the Jitterbug
Documentary on the jitterbug and lindy hop, a dance craze that swept the nation beginning in Harlem in the 1930s. Delilah Jackson, Mama Lu Parks, George Lloyd, Sugar Sullivan-Niles, Frank Manning, Sandra Gibson, and musicians Bill Dillard and Dizzy Gillespie also reminisce about dancing at the Savoy Ballroom and other popular clubs, which are seen in historical film footage. Parks and Manning are shown teaching the dance, which continues to be performed in clubs and on stage. c1988. 35 min. DVD X7094; Video/C 8308

The Century: America's Time.
With Peter Jennings; produced by ABC News in association with The History Channel.

Part 3: 1920-1929: Boom to Bust. In the aftermath of World War I, many modern-minded Americans, particularly women, were eager to do away with outdated traditions and claim new rights and freedoms. This program investigates the culture of the roaring twenties--women's suffrage, prohibition, the exploration of the Antarctic, the Scopes trial, the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan, the new music called "Jazz", technological innovations and finally the stock market crash and the subsequent economic depression. 45 min. Video/C 6356

Part 4: 1929-1936: Stormy Weather Great Depression, which caused 25% unemployment, the closing of 9,000 banks, and the loss of $2.5 billion in deposits. This program captures a people's struggle as they faced the collapse of prosperity and diminished hopes of being able to experience the American Dream. 45 min. Video/C 6357

The Civilian Conservation Corp
Interweaving rich archival imagery with the personal accounts of Civilian Conservation Corps veterans, this film tells the story of one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments, positioning it as a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern environmentalism and federal unemployment relief. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Stone. Originally broadcast on PBS as the television program American Experience in 2009. 60 min. DVD X2584

Coming Apart(Century: Events That Shaped the World; 9)
In the early 1930's mass unemployment, widespread hunger, and a mood of fearful pessimism and simmering unrest were Herbert Hoover's legacy to American's new chief executive. This program spotlights the early days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency, where he scrambled to transform the New Deal from a campaign slogan to nothing short of a social revolution--while staving off attacks by those who viewed him as a dictator and his reforms as a threatening turn to the left. With Peter Jennings; produced by ABC News. c1999. 43 min. Video/C 6350

Coal Face. (1935)
Heroic documentary on the life of work of British miners. 12 min. DVD 6061 (PAL); also on vhs Video/C 5024; also on Video/C 9417

Dance and Social Consciousness in the 30's and 40's (Eye on Dance; 117).
Contents: Demonstration dances: "I ain't got no home in the world anymore" (Woodie Gutherie, composer) -- Balag in a popular style. Performers: Host: Celia Ipiotis and Barry Laine; interviewees: Anna Sokolow and Sophie Maslow. Dancers who began their careers in the 1930's and 1940's discuss promotion of social and political comment through dance. c1984. 29 min. Video/C 4017

The Crash of 1929
In 1929, there were few critics of a stock market seeming to rise without limits. In fact, presidents and economists alike confidently predicted that America would soon enter a "new Era" when everyone would be rich. Instead, the rich got richer, and ultimately the promise of a permanent economic boom disappeared almost overnight, when the consequences of a decade of market speculation and manipulation came to bear. Includes interviews with participants, historians, and economists, and film clips of the stock market experience. 2010. 60 min. DVD X2584

The Depression Years; The Silent Witness.(Hollywood Chronicles)
The Depression years: Centers on the role of film during the Depression years and the development of musicals, gangster films, travelogues and theatrical advertisements. The silent witness: Presents the newsreels and their role in bringing news to the public, particularly during the war years. Beyond the hard news, they also brought sports and entertainment news to the public. 1990. 50 min. Video/C 8306

Dust Bowl Ballads (Woody Guthrie)[SOUND RECORDING]
Contents: The great dust storm (Dust storm disaster) -- Talking dust bowl blues -- Pretty Boy Floyd -- Dusty old dust (so long it's been good to know yuh) -- Dust bowl blues -- Blowin' down the road (I ain't going to be treated this way) -- Tom Joad, Part 1 -- Tom Joad, Part 2 -- Do re mi -- Dust bowl refugee -- I ain't got no home -- Vigilante man -- Dust can't kill me -- Dust pneumonia blues -- Talking dust bowl blues (alternate version). Recorded in New York City, Apr. 26, 1940 and May, 3, 1940. Sound/D 72

The Eleanor Roosevelt Story
An intimate portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt, describing her life from a childhood of loneliness and rejection to becoming the most admired and respected woman in the world. She married Franklin D. Roosevelt, who eventually was elected president, but she was not content to be the proper, silent wife behind her husband's career. Instead, she began a lifelong crusade to speak out about injustice and oppression in any form. Directed by Richard Kaplan. 1965. 90 min. Video/C 9471

Electric Valley
Presents the fifty-year controversial history of the Tennessee Valley Authority, focusing on the officials who led it and the people whose lives were touched by it. 1983. 89 min. Video/C 2326

The Federal Theater, File 891, and the Mercury Theater.
This film appraises the impact of the drama groups that flourished during the Depression and their lasting contributions to theater. Among the topics discussed are the American method stye of acting, as pioneered at the Group Theatre; the Federal Theater, the Classical Theatre (Project 891), and the Mercury Theater, incubators for some of the most innovative and controversial works ever seen on the American stage; and the theatrical careers of Orson Welles and John Houseman. c1999. 30 min. Video/C 7019

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The Democrat and the Dictator.( A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers)
Journalist Bill Moyers compares and contrasts the careers of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler, focusing on the youth, personality, leadership style, and political goals of each. 1984. 3/4' UMATIC Video/C 869 (stored at NRLF #: B 4 175 501)

FDR. (American Experience; 777)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt led America through the two greatest crises of this century, the Great Depression and World War II. Part one is based on Before the trumpet, by Geoffrey C. Ward. It covers Roosevelt's early years and early political successes. Part two is based on Geoffrey C. Ward's A first class temperament. It begins with Roosevelt's bout with polio at age 39 and ends with his election to the presidency. Also details Eleanor's rise in public life. Part three explores FDR's response to the Great Depression. Part four is based on No ordinary time : Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: the home front in WWII, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It portrays FDR's leadership of the American people in the face of war until his death. 270 min. DVD 969; also VHS Video/C 3885

The Fireside Chats of FDR.
16 sound cassettes. Sound/C 229 (two chats also on Sound/C 237)

Focus on the Last Hundred Years: The Thirties
Uses archival photographs, sound recordings, and film footage to explore world events, sports, life-styles, and scientific achievements of various decades. 58 min. Video/C 1003

Freedom, a History of US
Episode 12: America enters into an economic depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt initiates the New Deal and the United States enters World War II. DVD 2196

The Golden Gate International Exposition, Treasure Island, San Francisco Bay, 1939-1940.
SEE Popular Culture: Fairs

Golden Lands, Working Hands.
Part 1. This first segment examines the Workingmen's Party of the 1870's, Chinese union exclusion, San Francisco as a union town and Los Angeles as open shop at the turn of the century, the plight of migrant labor as in the Beet Workers Strike of 1903 and the Wheatland Hop Riot of 1913, the framing of Tom Mooney, the impact of the Stock market crash and the Great Depression on unionization, Roosevelt's New Deal, militancy in the west coast maritime trades culminating in the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 and the beginning of the CIO, WWII defense industries and the employment of Afro-Americans, "Okie" and women workers which challenged the unions concerning inclusive or exclusive membership policies. Contents: Step by step (6 min.) -- No danger from strikes among them (15 min.) -- Bombs and ballots (24 min.) -- Not so jazzy (10 min.) -- Labor on the march (18 min.) -- Battling for democracy (8 min.). 81 min. DVD X569 [preservation copy]; vhs Video/C 6254

Great Depression. 60 min. each.

A Job at Ford's. Just before the advent of the Great Depression, Henry Ford controlled the most important company in the most important industry in the booming American economy. His offer of high wages in exchange for hard work attracted workers to Detroit, but it began to come apart when Ford hired a private police force to speed up production and spy on employees. After the depression hit in 1929, these workers faced a new, grim reality as unemployment skyrocketed. DVD X1162; vhs Video/C 3171

The Road to Rock Bottom. As the Great Depression progressed economic collapse took its toll on rural America. Crops went unsold, farm mortgages were called in by banks, hungry farmers protested, and robberies increased dramatically. The U.S. Army was called in to defend the nation's capital from veterans who were demanding that President Hoover and Congress pay a bonus for their services in World War I. The film ends with Franklin Roosevelt's landslide election to the presidency. DVD X1163; vhs Video/C 3172

New Deal/New York. In his first one hundred days in office, in a effort to stem the effects of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created many new federal agencies giving jobs and relief to people and transforming the American landscape with public works projects. Nowhere was this transformation more apparent than in Mayor Fiorello La Guardia's New York City. Together Roosevelt and La Guardia expanded and redefined the role of government in the lives of the American people. DVD X1164; vhs Video/C 3173

We Have a Plan. By 1934, as the nation grappled with the Great Depression, challenges to the New Deal from both sides of the political spectrum began to appear. Despite new government programs unrest was increasing especially in California, where the socialist, Upton Sinclair, ran for governor promising to turn idle land and factories into self-governing cooperatives. Sinclair's campaign ended in defeat, but one year later President Roosevelt's signing of the Social Security Act signaled America's emergence as a modern welfare state. DVD X1165; vhs Video/C 3174

Mean Things Happening. In the American democracy of the 1930's two visions of liberty collided as working men and women battled landowners and factory managers for the right to join a union. On the tenant farms and in the steel factories working people asserted their citizenship in the midst of great economic turmoil and a tide of government reform. DVD X1166; vhs Video/C 3175

To Be Somebody. Many Americans, struggling to survive the Great Depression, were determined to help build a better America through direct action in the courts, in the Congress and in everyday life. At a time when lynchings, segregation, and anti-semitism were commonplace, black heavy-weight champion, Joe Louis became a symbol of national strength. In very different ways Louis and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt challenged America to live up to its promise of justice and opportunity for people of every race and faith. DVD X1167; vhs Video/C 3176

Arsenal of Democracy. By 1939 Americans were still struggling to end the Great Depression. Their dreams of peace and prosperity were celebrated at World's Fairs in New York and San Francisco, but prosperity did not come in peacetime. Millions fled the "dust bowl" states to finally find work in new defense industries. While the New Deal changed America forever, it was war that ended the Great Depression. DVD X1168; vhs Video/C 3177

ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries

Cole, Lewis. "The Great Depression." (television program reviews) Nation v257, n18 (Nov 29, 1993):668 (5 pages).
Goodman, Walter. "The Great Depression." (television program reviews) New York Times v143 (Mon, Oct 25, 1993):B3(N), pC18(L), col 1
Leonard, John. "The Great Depression." (television program reviews) New York v26, n42 (Oct 25, 1993):97 (2 pages).
Ward, Geoffrey C. "The Great Depression." (television program reviews) American Heritage v44, n7 (Nov, 1993):16 (2 pages).

Hoover Dam
An ambitious engineer turned a ragtag army of unemployed into a celebrated work force to create the Hoover Dam, a colossus rising 700 feet above the Colorado River that became a beacon of hope in dire times, bringing electricity and water to millions in the U.S. west. Produced, written and directed by Stephen Stept. Originally broadcast on television in 1996 as an episode of American Experience. 60 min. DVD X2584

The Helping Hand.( A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers)
Looks at how the New Deal helped to create jobs during the Depression. Interviews former Civilian Conservation Corps workder who benefited from these programs. 1984. 58 min. Video/C 854

Historic New Deal Films
Disc 1: Work pays America (1937, 31 min.) -- We work again (1930, 11 min.) -- Better housing news flash (1935, 4 min.) -- National Recovery Administration promo (1933, 3 min.) -- Disc 2: Man against the river (1937, 10 min.) -- Shock troops of disaster (1938, 11 min.) -- The river (1937, 30 min.) -- Rain for the Earth (1937, 10 min., incomplete with no ending) Work pays America: Demonstrates activities of the Works Project Administration. We work again: A WPA film that tries to convey that the New Deal is beneficial for African-Americans. Better housing news flash: Government propaganda piece about the benefits of The National Housing Act. National Recovery Administration promo: A promotional film for the National Recovery Administration made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Man against the river: Footage of the WPA (Works Project Administration) dealing with the Ohio River flood of 1937. Shock troops of disaster: Shows how the Works Project Administration gave assistance to victims of the 1938 hurricane in New England. The river: Documentary about the Mississippi River and the way it has been exploited. It shows the side of the people who use the river for their own economic benefit as well as the side of the people who are trying to stop the misuse of the river. Rain for the Earth: This film discusses the desperation that the drying land caused the Dust Bowl farmers and their families, as well as the U.S. government's failed attempts to help the people maintain their farms. DVD 9242

Historical World Fairs.
SEE Popular Culture Videography

Hollywood Censored: Movies, Morality & the Production Code (Culture Shock; 1)
First of a four part series exploring why particular works of art became controversial. Part one addresses the mass appeal of movies, including their portrayals of sex and violence which have made them a target of censors since the early days. In the 1930s, Hollywood studios enforced the Production Code, a set of guidelines for movie content, to answer growing charges of immorality. The Code lasted 20 years and still influences moviemaking today. As feature films continue to cause controversy, the question remains: do movies reflect--or cause--social behavior? c2000. 60 min. Video/C 6908

[Hoover, J. Edgar] G-men: The Rise of J. Edgar Hoover
(American Experience; 407). Film focuses on J. Edgar Hoover and his Government Men (G-Men) and the war they waged against the leading criminals of the 1930's. 58 min. Video/C 2846

Jazz. A film by Ken Burns.

The True Welcome Home. Amid the hard times of the Depression new dances, the Lindy Hop and Swing, caught on at the dance halls of New York even as the jobless lined the streets and drought ruined Midwest farms. Jazz, during 1929 through 1935, lifted the nation's spirit. Record sales boomed while Armstrong became a major entertainer as singer, trumpeter, band leader, radio and film performer. Ellington's elegance, compositions, brilliant band films and recordings created a huge following in America and abroad. This segment also visits the careers of Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Billy Rose, Chick Webb, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and the record producer, John Hammond. DVD 491

Swing: Pure Pleasure. In the mid 1930s, as the Great Depression refuses to lift, Benny Goodman finds himself hailed as the "King of Swing" and becomes the first white bandleader to hire black musicians. He has a host or rivals among them, Chick Webb, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmie Lunceford, Glen Miller and Artie Shaw. Louis Armstrong heads a big band of his own, while Duke Ellington continues his independent course, but great black artists still can't eat or sleep in many of the hotels where they perform. Billie Holiday emerges from a childhood of tragedy to begin her career as the greatest of all female jazz singers. DVD 492

Jones Beach: An American Riviera
Archival newsreels, still photographs, period music and personal interviews chronicle the history of Jones Beach, a New York landmark described as "the finest seashore playground in the world." Set against a backdrop of the social history of the first half of the 20th century, the film places the pioneering design and construction of noted urban planner Robert Moses' masterpiece, Jones Beach, in the context of Depression-era New York. 1998. 30 min. Video/C 4368

The Land (1941)
Originally released as motion picture in 1941 by the U.S. Agricultural Adjustment Agency. Credits: Director, Robert J. Flaherty; collaborator, Frances H. Flaherty; commentary, Russell Lord; composer, Richard Arnell; editor, Helen van Dongen. Portrays American agriculture during the depression decade. Explores the problems of agricultural unemployment, erosion of farm land, the desolate lives of migrant workers, and the role of the machine in farming. 44 min. Video/C 3225
Information about this film from the Internet Movie Database

The Last of the Blue Devils
A documentary recollection of music and musicians associated with Kansas City, Mo. in the 1930's, featuring Count Basie and his orchestra, Joe Turner, and Jay McShann.

Songs: South (Bennie Moten Orchestra) -- Piney Brown blues (Big Joe Turner & Jay McShann) -- Jay's blues (Jay McShann) -- Jesse's blues (Jesse Price) -- Moten swing (Count Basie Orchestra) -- Jumpin' the blues; Hootie's blues; After hours (Jay McShann's Big Band) -- Lester leaps in (featuring Paul Quinichette, Eddie Durham, Charles McPherson) -- Jumpin' at the woodside (Count Basie Orchestra; Eric Dixon, Jimmy Forrest, saxophones) -- Until the real thing comes along -- Hot house -- Shake, rattle & roll (Big Joe Turner) -- Roll 'em (Big Joe Turner and the Jay McShann Big Band) -- Night train (Count Basie Orchestra; Jimmy Forrest, saxophone) -- Piney Brown Blues (reprise) (Big Joe Turner & Jay McShann) -- One o'clock jump (Jay McShann Big Band) -- One o'clock jump (Count Basie Orchestra) -- Moten swing (Bennie Moten Orchestra) -- Honey hush; Rose garden; Chains of love; Shake, rattle & roll (incomplete) (Big Joe Turner & Jay McShann). 1979. 90 min. DVD 3562

Legacy of a Kidnapping: Lindbergh and the Triumph of the Tabloids
A Documentary tracing how today's tabloid journalism evolved from one of the landmark events of American mass communications -- the Lindbergh kidnapping case. 2000. 56 min. Video/C 7196

Description from California Newsreel catalog

Life in the Thirties
Taken from newsreels and period motion pictures portrays life in America during the 1930's from the Great Crash of 1929 to the NY World's Fair of 1939. Blends haunting images of poverty with footage of escapist crazes, Benny Goodman and the birth of Swing, pinball machines and bingo. Recounts the Lindbergh kidnapping and the Hindenburg disaster along with scenes of social and economic trends, and the events and personalities that attracted the attention of the average person. Contents: Humorist Robert Benchley explains the Depression -- A nation turns against Hoover -- The New Deal takes shape -- Prohibition bites the dust -- Voice of the demagogue -- Crime of the century -- Hindenburg disaster -- Fascists on parade -- Swing and cafe society -- 1939 New York World's Fair. Originally televised in 1956 on NBC's Project 20. Re-broadcast as a segment on America, a look back on PBS beginning Jaunary, 2001. 60 min. DVD 1677

[Long, Huey] Huey Long.
Uses footage from old films to portray events in the life of the Louisiana politician Huey Long and discusses the opinions of several people concerning the impact of his career. 88 min. Video/C 2147

Mandate: The President and the People (Sunnylands Seminars. The Executive Branch)
Part 1. The founding fathers through President Jackson -- Part 2. President Lincoln and the Civil War -- Part 3. President Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. Editor, Alina Taalman ; music, Thomas Rutishauser ; photography, Wayne De La Roche, David Gladstone. This documentary, narrated by veteran CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl, examines the long and complex relationship between the presidency and public opinion. Leading historians, political scientists, and public figures offer insight into presidents and the presidency from George Washington through FDR. 2005. 35 min. DVD 6192

March of Time
Selected news stories from The March of Time newsreel series, originally produced by Time magazine. See US History videography for complete listing

Marc Blitzstein: The Cradle Will Rock
A three part series examining the life, work and influence of the American composer, Marc Blitzstein which brings together comrades and admirers from the world of theater. Includes performance excerpts with concentration on Blitzstein's famous musical play "The Cradle Will Rock." 84 min. Video/C 5187

Our Daily Bread and other Films of the Great Depression
Contents: Prologue to Our daily bread / King Vidor (1983) -- Our daily bread / director, King Vidor (1934) -- California election news #1 and #2 (New Deal documentaries) / produced by MGM -- The plow that broke the plains / U. S. Resettlement Administration ; writer/director, Pare Lorentz (1936) -- The river / U.S. Farm Security Administration ; writer/director, Pare Lorentz (1937) -- Power and the land / director, Joris Ivens (1940) -- The new frontier / director, H. B. McClure (1934).

Our daily bread: A depression-era drama in which a young couple leads a group of unemployed people in making a communal farm succeed. Prologue to Our daily bread: An elderly Vidor remembers the story behind his pioneering film. California Election News #1 and #2: Fake newsreels secretly produced by MGM as "dirty tricks" in the film industry's political war against Upton Sinclair. The river: A documentary of the Mississippi River tracing the history of the river while emphasizing the need for conservation and reclamation. Plow that broke the Plains: Details the ravages of drought and dust storms in the Great Plains which precipitated the migration of farmers to the Pacific Coast. Power and the land: Observes the daily activities of a dairy farming family in Ohio before and after electrification of their farm. The New frontier: Offers a glimpse into an experimental "rural community" sponsored by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. 194 min. DVD 691 (Our Daily Bread also on vhs Video/C 999:65; Plow that Broke the Plains also on vhs Video/C 5060; Power and the Land also on vhs Video/C 5060)

New York World's Fair, 1939
SEE Popular Culture: Fairs

One-Third of a Nation: A Living Newspaper
Videotape adaptation of a play in the "living newspaper" genre created by the Federal Theatre Project in the 1930's, which focuses on substandard tenement housing. 1984? 55 min. Video/C 3590

Our Century.
A ten-part series that surveys historical events of the 20th century using Gaumont British newsreel footage. Covers major advances, trends, and tragedies, from political upheavals and passing social crazes to the role of technology, and examines their impacts on the future.

The Years of Jazz: 1918-1928 This segment documents events from 1918 to 1928. After the war Europe is torn apart but the desire to live and to reject old values seizes hold of the survivors. The roaring twenties become a worldwide phenomenon as the world dances to the rhythm of jazz. Contents: Lust for life: restoration and recreation in Europe -- Roaring 20s: Prohibition, advances in agriculture -- That's entertainment: Motion picture industry, movie stars tour Europe, First meeting of the Society of Nations -- Troubles: Violence in Ireland, royalty become figureheads, poverty in Russia, boarders of middle European countries reshaped. -- Sports: Olympic games, acceptance of women into the games, women in sports -- Aviation: Airplanes, zeppelins, Charles Lindberg flight -- Mixed media: Advances in newspapers, radio and musical reviews with Josephine Baker and the Ziegfield follies, advertising in Europe, architecture and fashions in Europe, liberated women of Europe, jazz, sports cards, cruise ships and tourism -- Colonial causes: Rebellion in the colonies, expeditions to the Poles, Refugees, political unrest in Germany and France. 52 min. DVD X1250

Great Illusions: 1928-1939 This segment documents events from 1928 to 1939. The financial crisis of 1929 attacks America with force, and affects the whole world. Fascism in Italy, followed by Nazism in Germany, makes Europe and then the world tremble. Propaganda is a new weapon used by totalitarian regimes as the century's second catastrophe is about to begin. Contents: Children of war: Children of Europe, Depression, 1929 -- Leisure: Water sports, foot and bicycle races, car rallys, auto shows, Volkswagen -- Flight: Women pilots, air acrobatics, advent of commerical aviation, zeppelins, Hindenberg disaster -- War zones: Spanish Civil War, royalty --Performers: Influence of Hollywood on Europe -- Dark side: Crimes and criminals, prisons, colonialism -- Aesthetics: Country exhibitions, Paris exhibition of 1937, New York exhibiton of 1939, American labor unrest, unions, gangsters, beauty culture -- Ideology & invention: Advances in airplanes, automobiles, sports: Jesse Owens (1936 Berlin Olympics), Joe Lewis, Nazism in Germany, persecution of German Jews, Marxism in Soviet Union, advances in science and medicine. 52 min. DVD X1251

The Panic is On: The Great American Depression as Seen by the Common man.
This multifaceted set communicates both the painful hard times of the Great Depression and the grace and strong will of the common man in confronting it. Period newsreel and documentary film footage convey the feel of the times. Classic musical recordings reflect the popular mood of the day. The booklet includes photographs, letters, and first hand recollections. Contents: DVD: Give a man a job (with Jimmy Durante) -- Life in the thirties -- Mr. Zero gives to the needy -- The Boswell Sisters perform for legislators -- The unemployed march for relief -- A Zuni Indian offers perspective on the Depression -- Millions of us -- Dance marathons -- The Jazz Age -- A debutante sells her chinchilla coat -- Knitting sweaters for the unemployed with Fanny Brice -- Union textile workers strike -- The plow that broke the plains -- The river -- Mr. Zero evicted -- Work pays America -- We work again -- Our daily bread -- The power and the land. CD: (Everything's gonna be) O.K. America / Art Kassel and his Kassels in the Air -- The panic is on / Hezekiah Jenkins -- If I ever get a job again / Dick Robertson and his Orchestra -- NRA blues / Bill Cox -- The clouds will soon roll by / Eddy Duchin and his Orchestra -- Nobody knows you (When you're down and out) / Bessie Smith -- We're in the money (The gold digger's song) / Charlie Palloy -- The great dust storm / Woody Guthrie -- Headin' for better times / Ted Lewis and his Band -- Bad times blues / Barbecue Bob -- Brother can you spare a dime? / Charlie Palloy and his Orchestra -- Bread line blues / "Slim" Smith -- Welfare store blues / Sonny Boy Williamson -- Franklin Roosevelt's back again / Bill Cox -- I can't go to the poor house / Dick Robertson -- Old age pension check / Roy Acuff and his Crazy Tennesseans -- When my stocks come tumbling down / Fields and Hall -- Down on Penny's farm / The Bentley boys -- A tale of the ticker / Frank Crumit -- In the fall of '29 / W. Lee O'Daniel and his Light Crust Doughboys -- Starvation blues / Charlie Jordan -- Cheer up! Smile! Nertz! / Eddie Cantor -- Good old times (Are coming back again) / Dick Robertson. 120 min. DVD X1770

People's Century

Great Escape, 1927. By the mid-1920s, millions worldwide were already confirmed "moviegoers". Movies reflected and affected the way people dressed, thought and spoke, teaching the inexperienced about love and courage, while the governments around the globe were quick to realize the power of film: this new mass entertainment would also prove an unrivaled tool of mass persuasion. Here moviegoers reminisce, revealing how the new medium persuaded, influenced and entralled them, as it offered a welcome refuge from the century's pressures. 1997. 56 min. Video/C 5549

Breadline, 1929. The 1920s found Americans enjoying the fruits of a new prosperity in a post-war boom. Then, in 1929, the New York Stock Exchange crashed; banks failed and industry withered. From Europe and the United States to Latin America and Asia, the Great Depression shattered economies and communities worldwide. In this film the people who were there remember the blow as workers from the United States, Chile, Britain, Belgium and Scandinavia recall the hungry 1930s. 1997. 56 min. Video/C 5550

Sporting Fever, 1930. In the early 1900's, competitive sports were still not far removed from recreation--more for the player than the spectator. This film follows boxing, baseball, soccer, and more, as sports transition from a modest pastime to a fiercely competitive--and commercial-- business to a potent expression of national pride and politics. Throughout, sports fans the world over remember the drama, the thrill, the exhilaration--and the patriotism--their favorite athletes and sports teams aroused. Includes a look at the role of American sportswriters, and live radio and television broadcasting of sporting events. Video/C 5545

Total War, 1939. The Second World War was the first modern conflict in which millions more civilians died than soldiers. In this film, eyewitnesses from Britain, Germany, Russia, Korea, Japan and the United States tell the story of the civilians who suffered and died. Residents of Plymouth, Tokyo, and Hamburg remember the air raids; Russian peasants recall the siege of Leningrad; Japanese soldiers and Korean slave-laborers describe the brutality of war in Asia. Video/C 5551

Period Films of the Great Depression.
Contents: Financing the American family / Household Finance (1935, 11 min.) -- Frontiers of the future / National Industrial Council (1937, 10 min.) -- Griffith Park relief workers demonstration (1933, 3 min.) -- San Francisco General strike (1934, 3 min.) -- Valley town / producer, New York University (1940, 25 min.). Financing the American family: Household Finance sponsored this film to educate struggling families on how obtaining a low-cost loan from their corporation to help families get out of debt. Frontiers of the future: Narrated by Lowell Thomas, traces the pattern of modern industrial growth from 1844. Proceeds with a brief outline of the many inventions and discoveries since that time. The value of research in bringing new products is emphasized, concluding with the statement that new frontiers of progress lie in the laboratory. Griffith Park relief workers demonstration: Brief newsreel of a demonstration held against the city and officials of Los Angeles to protest the death of about 100 relief workers at the Griffith Park Fire of 1933. San Francisco General Strike: Brief newsreel of a city-wide general strike held to support striking San Francisco longshoremen during the 1934 San Francisco Maritime Strike. Valley town: Documents how new technology was destabilizing the economic and social underpinnings of many steel towns of the 1930s through the story of one Pennsylvania town. This unique film presages the outcry against automation a generation later, while documenting both the boomtown phenomenon and the technological progress of this bleak industrial age. 52 min. DVD 2651

The Plow That Broke the Plains. (1936)
The plow that broke the plains" depicts the social and economic history of the Great Plains from the settlement of the prairies by cattlemen and farmers through the World War I boom to drought and depression. A film by Pare Lorentz. Sponsored by the United States Resettlement Administration. 27 min. DVD 7298 (contains the original beginning and ending of The Plow that Broke the Plains); DVD 691; also on VHS Video/C 60
Information about this film from the Intenet Movie Database

The Promise Fulfilled and the Promise Broken. (America series)
Deals with the promise of unlimited prosperity after World War I, the boom of the 1920's, the Depression and the New Deal. Video/C 1424

Public Enemy #1
Chronicles the life of John Dillinger, from his first youthful brush with the law to his death a decade later in a hail of bullets. It explores how, at a time of great hardship, Americans felt more admiration for a daring criminal than their seemingly ineffectual institutions of government. c2002. 60 min. Video/C MM1038

The Radio Priest.(American Experience)
Profile of Father Charles Coughlin, whose Depression-era radio speeches and the popular following they inspired led to a nationwide debate over the use of the airwaves for antidemocratic messages. 58 min. Video/C 1533

Riding the Rails
The Depression forced some four million Americans onto the tracks in search of work, food and lodging. Of these "tramps," more than 250,000 were children. Seamlessly interweaving archival footage, personal photos and interviews, this film relates the experiences and sometimes painful recollections of these now elderly survivors of the rails. Directed, written & produced by Michael Uys and Lexy Lovell 1997. 73 min. DVD X3316; vhs Video/C MM826

The River: a U.S. Documentary Film (1939)
Presented by the Farm Security Administration with the cooperation of the Public Works Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, Civilian Conservation Corps and the Army Engineers. Recorded at General Services Studios. A documentary story of the Mississippi River. Traces the history of the Mississippi and its tributaries; shows that the destruction of forests had led to erosion and the loss of soil, floods and the loss of lives and property. Emphasizes the need for conservation and rehabilitation. A film by Pare Lorentz. 32 min. DVD 7298; DVD 691; also on VHS Video/C 5060
Information about this film from the Internet Movie Database

Robert Altman's Jazz '34
Performers: Jesse Davis, David "Fathead" Newman, Ron Carter, Christian McBride, Tyrone Clarke, Don Byron, Russell Malone, Geri Allen, Cyrus Chestnut, James Carter, Craig Handy, David Murray, Joshua Redman, Curtis Fowlkes, Clark Gayton, Olu Dara, Nicholas Payton, James Zollar, Kevin Mahogany. Contemporary jazz musicians recreate an all-night jam session as it might have happened in a 1930's Kansas City club. 1996. 75 min. Video/C MM199

[Roosevelt, Franklin D.]The Democrat and the Dictator.( A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers)
Journalist Bill Moyers compares and contrasts the careers of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler, focusing on the youth, personality, leadership style, and political goals of each. 1984. Video/C 869

[Roosevelt, Franklin D.] FDR. (American Experience; 777)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt led America through the two greatest crises of this century, the Great Depression and World War II. Part one is based on Before the trumpet, by Geoffrey C. Ward. It covers Roosevelt's early years and early political successes. Part two is based on Geoffrey C. Ward's A first class temperament. It begins with Roosevelt's bout with polio at age 39 and ends with his election to the presidency. Also details Eleanor's rise in public life. Part three explores FDR's response to the Great Depression. Part four is based on No ordinary time : Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: the home front in WWII, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It portrays FDR's leadership of the American people in the face of war until his death. 270 min. DVD 969; also VHS Video/C 3885

[Roosevelt, Franklin D.] Inauguration Addresses of the Presidents of the United States: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: address, January 21, 1941; January 20, 1945. -- Harry S. Truman: Inauguration address, January 20, 1949. Sound/C 869

[Roosevelt, Franklin D.] The Fireside Chats of FDR.
16 sound cassettes. Sound/C 229 Pt. 1-16 (two chats also on Sound/C 237)

Seabisbuit
While not looking the part, Seabiscuit was one of the most remarkable thoroughbred racehorses in history. In the 1930s, when Americans longed to escape the grim realities of Depression-era life, four men turned Seabiscuit into a national hero. Directed by Stephen Ives. Originally produced as an episode of the television program American experience 2003. 60 min. DVD X2585

Spanish Civil War
See separate videography

Surviving the Dust Bowl
Featuring poignant interviews with witnesses and remarkable archival film footage and photographs, this documentary tells the heart-wrenching personal stories of people who endured a series of almost Biblical scourges, from drought and famine to the "black blizzards." America's worst ecological disaster finally came to an end after soil conservation techniques were introduced. Originally produced as a segment of the television program, The American experience. c1998. 57 min. DVD X2585; vhs Video/C 9051

The Twentieth Century: A Moving Visual History: The 1930s
Brings the 20th century back to life through narration, rare photographs and stunning footage. The Great Depression: The stock market crash of 1929 ushers in a severe economic crisis in the United States and contributes to the rise of international tension. Milestones include: U.S. unemployment tops 15 million; drought devastates the Great Plains; FDR implements his "New Deal"; Americans turn to baseball, radio and movies for entertainment and escapism; and Stalin begins to "purge" his enemies while Japan and Germany flex their military muscles. DVD X3170

Union Maids.
Presents an adaptation of the book entitled Rank and file by Alice Lynd, about the American labor movement in the 1930's. Relates the personal experiences of three militant women who tried to organize laborers in this period. Each recalls the Depression and the intolerable conditions through which they lived and worked. They discuss the role of women in labor unions then and now, the relationship to the Women's Liberation Movement, and the future of labor unions in the United States. A film by Julia Reichert, 1976. 48 min. Video/C 4705

Union Maids web site (New Day Films)

With Babies and Banners: History of the Women's Emergency Brigade.
Combines archival footage and interviews with participants to trace the role of women in the formation of the United Auto workers. Focuses on the contributions of the Women's Emergency Brigade to the labor movement of the 1930's. 1978. 45 min. Video/C 380

Witness to History: Days That Shook the World: 1930-1939
Part of a documentary series covering milestones of the 20th century including political turmoil, the horrors of war, medical, scientific and technological advances and social upheaval that made this century. Part four covers key events in the decade of 1930-1939.

Contents: 1930-1939: Introduction -- May 1,1931 - The Empire State Building Opens -- March 1,1932 - Lindbergh Baby Kidnapped -- May 21,1932 - Amelia Earhart Flies Solo Across the Atlantic -- November 8,1932 - The "New Deal" Begins FDR Elected President -- January 30,1933 - Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany -- December 5,1933 - Prohibition Ends -- August 8,1936 - Jesse Owens Dominates-The Berlin Olympics -- December 11,1936 - King Edward VIII Abdicates For Love -- May 6,1937 - The Hindenberg Disaster -- March 28,1939 - Franco Wins The Spanish Civil War -- August 27,1939 - First Jet Airplane Flight -- September 1,1939 - Hitler Invades Poland World War II Begins -- Epilogue. 30 min. Video/C 8791

The World of Tomorrow.
Describes the New York World's Fair held in 1939-1940. Shows various exhibits, featuring General Motors Futurama and the Westinghouse exhibit. Describes also the climate of the time, just after the Depression and before World War II. 1984. 58 min. Video/C 2879

World's Fair Archival Video.
Ford and a century of progress provides a full overview of the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, including the Sky Ride, Enchanted Isle, Tunisian Village, Wings of a Century pageant, Ford Exposition, the Rotunda, historic cars, Avenue of Flags, World's Biggest Thermometer, G.M. and Chrysler pavillions, Midget City, and the Federal Building. 1933's focus was a look backward, while 1934 looked forward. Scenes from the New York World's Fair contains scenes of the New York World's Fair of 1940, showing the Trylon and Perisphere, sculpture and fountains, pavillions (U.S. Government, Westinghouse, Goodrich, Chrysler, G.M.), the Ford Exposition Building, Walter Dorwin Teague's Garden Court, Albert Kahn's Road of Tomorrow, the "Great White Way" and the amusement section. c1991. 29 min. Video/C 4182


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