UC Berkeley Library

Documentaries on the 1930's

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.

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.
Related web sites: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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

People's Century: 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.

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