UC Berkeley Library

Documentaries on the 1920's

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.

Jazz: Our Language.

A film by Ken Burns. 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.

Jazz: The Gift.

A film by Ken Burns. 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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

People's Century: 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.

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.

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