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Tag Archives: Documentary

August 12

August 12, 1958 – The True-Life Adventure White Wilderness Premieres in Theaters

“Every species had to adapt itself to the bitter cold, or perish.”

On August 12, 1958, the thirteenth True-Life Adventure featurette, titled White Wilderness, was released to theaters. It would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It was directed by James Algar and filmed primarily in Canada. It took a team of several photographers three years to gather enough footage in the Arctic to create the film, creating a story about the struggle between predatory beasts and migratory animals. This film is also notorious for its “lemming scene,” where a mass of lemmings are seen leaping into the Arctic Ocean; however, lemmings do not commit mass suicide, and the scene was eventually uncovered as staged.

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August 11

August 11, 1991 – The Television Documentary Queen: The Days of Our Lives Premieres

“An informative and sometimes tragic look into the lives of four childhood friends that would come to form the band Queen.”

On August 11, 1991, the television special Queen: The Days of Our Lives premiered on television. Directe by Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher, and hosted by Guns And Roses front man Axl Rose, the documentary is a 90-minute look at the lives of the band members and how they formed the group Queen. It featured interviews with the members of the band, as well as special concert footage and behind-the-scenes clips. This documentary was especially poignant, as lead singer Freddie Mercury would pass away a few months later on November 24th.

August 10

August 10, 1960 – The True-Life Adventure Jungle Cat is Generally Released

“[The jungle cat’s] secret domain is the scene of our True-Life Adventure, and its predatory habits our theme, for this is the story of the greatest hunter of them all.”

On August 10, 1960, the final True-Life Adventure documentary was generally released to theaters, after having an initial release on December 16, 1959. Directed by James Algar, the film explores the story of the South American jaguar as narrated by Winston Hibler. A pair of jaguars start a family, fight off their natural enemies (such as a crocodile and a boa constrictor), and hunt for food in the South American jungle.

July 9

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July 9, 1958 – The People and Places Featurette Ama Girls is Released to Theaters

On July 9, 1958, the 13th People and Places Featurette, Ama Girls, was released to theaters. Directed by Ben Sharpsteen, the featurette explores the life of a family of fishers in Japan, particularly the eldest daughter who is an ama diver, or pearl diver; the women in this film also dive for a mineral-rich seaweed known as “heaven grass.”. The film is also released as Japan Harvests the Sea. It would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 31st Academy Awards.

June 30

June 30, 2017 – The Disneynature Film Ghost of the Mountains is Released to Theaters

“Journey with Disneynature to the mountains of China.”

On June 30, 2017, the eleventh entry under the Disneynature documentary label, Ghost of the Mountains, was released to theaters in a limited engagement. Narrated by Antoine Fuqua and directed by Ben Wallis, the documentary takes viewers to mountains in China (specifically the area of Kham) as the filmmakers look for the elusive snow leopards. The film is notable for being the first to show snow leopard cubs, and is considered the best source for footage of the snow leopard in general. The documentary has since been featured on Netflix, and was a finalist at the Jackson Hole Film Festival in 2017.

June 26

June 26, 1952 – The True-Life Adventure Featurette Water Birds is Released to Theaters

On June 26, 1952, the True-Life Adventure featurette Water Birds was released to theaters as a two-reel short film. It was the fifth True-Life Adventure featurette created. Created in collaboration with the National Audubon Society and the Denver Museum of Natural History, the featurette showed audiences the life of a variety of water birds, such as pelicans, flamingos, and storks. The featurette would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Two-Reel).

June 11

June 11, 1958 – The People & Places Featurette Scotland Premieres

On June 11, 1958, the twelfth People & Places featurette Scotland premiered in theaters. Filmed in CinemaScope, this 25-minute featurette explores the three distinct regions of Scotland: the highlands, the islands, and the lowlands. This featurette also looked at the various clans of the regions, the wildlife, and how history is celebrated at the Edinburgh Festival. It was directed by Geoffrey Foot.