UC Berkeley Library

Documentaries on the 1920's

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Golden Twenties

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

Great Depression: 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. 60 mins.

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