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The River (1938)

This documentary short film looks at the devastating and costly problems, including seasonal flooding and erosion of precious topsoil, associated with the Mississippi River system and promotes more Federal projects to remedy the situation.

Director:

Pare Lorentz

Writer:

Pare Lorentz
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Thomas Chalmers Thomas Chalmers ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

This short Depression-era documentary describes the importance of the Mississippi River to the United States. It laments the environmental destruction committed in the name of progress, particularly farming and timber practices which cause massive erosion and result in vast amounts of top soil being washed down the river into the Gulf of Mexico. The film focuses especially on the impact this has had on impoverished farmers. It ends on a very upbeat note, however, with a celebration of the TVA, "modern" farming technology, and the use of dams to control the river and prevent flooding. Written by George Schneiderman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beautiful! Stirring! Dramatic!


Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 February 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The River See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was selected into the National Film Registry in 1990 for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" See more »

Connections

Featured in To Tell the Truth (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

A Hot Time in the Old Town
(1896)
Music by Theodore A. Metz
Played as part of the score during the lumber and cotton scenes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Saving the River!
6 April 2012 | by SylSee all my reviews

As Pare Lorentz did for the Southern Plains about the Dust Bowl in a previous documentary, here is focuses on the Mississippi River. Virgil Thomson composed music to help enhance the documentary. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs helped to understand and educate others throughout the country about causes such as saving the Mississippi River and the Southern Plains in the Dust Bowl years. Pare Lorentz does a decent job in a time when documentaries were still new as with films in general. The documentary is short enough but long enough to explain the Mississippi River. It would have been nicer to have heard from people along the Mississippi River who are probably generations of families have lived to earn a living. The documentary is fine for historic review and the music is ingenious in understanding the river's significance. The Mississippi River stretches from Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana and has been an important part of American history.


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