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Heart of Spain (1937)

| Documentary, Short
A documentary about the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.


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Credited cast:
Norman Bethune Norman Bethune ... Himself (as Dr. Norman Bethune)
Hazen Sise Hazen Sise ... Himself


A documentary about the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.

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spanish civil war | See All (1) »


Documentary | Short







Also Known As:

Espanjan sydän See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Featured in Bethune (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

Bethune and Canadians in the Spanish Civil War.
11 October 2016 | by nigelgspencer-466-739460See all my reviews

(reprinted from International School History--YouTube.) Dec 2, 2015

American Herbert Kline collaborated with Hungarian photographer Geza Karpathi in this documentary on the Spanish Civil War. It focuses on Dr. Norman Bethune, a Canadian physician who gave up his practice to join the loyalists in Madrid and help create the much needed blood bank. Kline practically lived with Bethune's unit capturing footage of transfusions and other medical services. Under editors Strand and Hurwitz, who added newsreels and other source materials, the film was transformed into "a broadly-based study of the struggle against fascism."

(Category Education License Standard YouTube License Music "Danza Espanola No. 10 in G Major, Op. 37" by Andrés Segovia--Google Play • iTunes)


On of the best films on the subject, along with "Los Canadienses" (NFB), though parts were used and denatured in the somewhat smarmy and condescending NFB biography "Bethune" (1964). The sacrifices of Canadians willing to defend Spanish democracy have never been adequately or generally recognized. Nor has the importance of Communist parties in Canada and elsewhere--the only serious opposition to Nazism and to the benevolent apathy with which the great powers (including the Allies) allowed Fascism to grow. The film also shows the huge innovation of taking medical care (along with blood transfusions) to the front, later adopted in WWII and the Korean War. His story, and Spain's of course, has to be seen in parallel with that of the MacPaps (the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion) Canada's own contribution to the anti-fascist International Brigades, though many Canadians, before its formation, served in the Lincoln and Washington Brigades, as well as the Republican government itself. The formation of a Canadian battalion distinct from the Americans in 1937 was in itself an additional hurdle our men and women had to face. The battalion was named for the leading Patriots in Ontario and Québec, William Lyon MacKenzie and Louis-Joseph Papineau, who fought local colonial cliques for more democracy in Canada a century earlier, from 1837-1839, a significant pair of anniversaries in themselves.

Some MacPap graves are shown in the film.

Touring Canada with this film on a fund-raising drive, Bethune--counter to instructions from the Central Committee--admitted; "I have the honour to be a Communist." He later left for China, where he died helping the Red Army combat the Japanese invasion and face betrayal by its supposed Chinese Nationalist "allies".

======================== (reprinted from IMDb review)

Heart of Spain (1937) 10/10 Author: Arden Rynew (arynew) from Los Angeles 15 September 2005

Six years before the Motion Picture Academy awarded the first Oscar for a documentary film, Leo Hurwitz created "Heart of Spain", a film which recorded for posterity the early activities of Hitler's Nazi Party in Spain in 1936. Before the style and structure of feature film documentaries had been established, Mr. Hurwitz's masterfully demonstrated his story telling abilities. Well edited, this film is a must see for all those interested in the development of the documentary films. Years later, when the people of Germany claimed that they were not aware of what Hitler had been doing, this film was pointed to. "Heart of Spain" played widely in motion picture theatres throughout the United States and many other countries before World War II broke out. It is no wonder that in 1942, CBS Television appointed Mr. Hurwitz as the first Director of Film for this young television network. Under Mr. Hurwitz's leadership, CBS became a leader in the area of documentaries..... but that's another story. ===============================

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