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The Private Life of the Gannets (1934)

Approved | | Documentary, Short | July 1937 (USA)
A 1934 GB production that was picked up in 1937 by Educational for 20th Century Fox distribution about the gannet, (a beautiful white and exceedingly graceful bird deemed the best fisherman... See full summary »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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A.L. Alexander ...
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A 1934 GB production that was picked up in 1937 by Educational for 20th Century Fox distribution about the gannet, (a beautiful white and exceedingly graceful bird deemed the best fisherman in the world), that inhabits a small rocky island off the coast of Wales. One of the few Educational releases that actually was shown in schools, and one would have had to play hookey every day in order to miss seeing this as a Texas school kid in the 40's and 50's. Footage from this short used in many other wild-life films also. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Plot Keywords:

wales | island | coast | bird | wildlife | See All (15) »

Genres:

Documentary | Short

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Approved
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Release Date:

July 1937 (USA)  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The species shown in this film is the Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), which lives and breeds on cliffs on both sides of the North Atlantic, so is relevant to both American and European audiences. See more »

Connections

Featured in Shepperton Babylon (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Holds up remarkably well after roughly 80 years.
20 August 2015 | by (Tucson AZ) – See all my reviews

This live action short won the Academy Award for Short Subject, One-Reel. There will be spoilers ahead:

This short was shot in 1934 and was directed by Julian Huxley (brother of Aldous Huxley). It's a remarkable piece of work, being one of the first, if not the first, wildlife documentaries. Making use of time-lapse photography to show the hatching of an egg and the subsequent growth and development of a gannet chick is just one of the fascinating things about this short.

This short starts with a short description of the gannets found nesting on a small island off the coast of Wales (Greenholm) and then shows a large grouping of gannets on the island. It shows them trying to fend off seagulls, the primary threat to the colony, it shows pairs in bonding rituals and gives a thorough description of the physical characteristics of gannet, with a focus on adaptations to their survival and way of life.

After showing the hatching of a chick and its growth, its subsequent need to fend for itself after four months and its departure for "bachelor island", the audience is treated to footage of the gannets as they feed on fish. Their various diving techniques and the reasons behind them are described and the footage is remarkable.

This short deservedly won an Academy Award in its year of eligibility (1937) and deserves to be widely seen. Most recommended.


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