The 20th Century: A Moving Visual History [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Special Features

  • Rare newsreels from the 1920s through the 1970s
  • Nearly 13 hours on two high-tech double-sided discs
  • Extensive chapter list and subject-by-subject index
  • English, Spanish, and French subtitles


20th Century: 1900s - The Seeds of Progress
The 1900s: Seeds of Progress is the first video in the ten-volume series The 20th Century, which examines each decade of that eventful century with primary focus on the events in America. This documentary uses archival footage and still photographs to create an summary of the first decade of the 20th century. The many changes that took place in the decade are discussed, especially the emergence of America as a global power, immigration to America, industrial change, race problems, and the advent of early films and vaudeville shows. In addition, there is an ominous foreshadowing of wars in later decades, which would ultimately disrupt much of the change, progress, and development so prominent in the 1900s. ~ John Schietinger, Rovi

20th Century: 1940s - War, Recovery and Rebirth
This film is one in a series that chronicles the history of America through the decades of the 20th century. This volume looks at the events of the 1940s, a era dominated by World War II. Although the war had its positive results, including bringing the American economy out of the Depression, its effect on the American way of life and its psyche were overwhelming. Nothing would ever be the same again. Events covered include the war, the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, the entry of women into the work force, the independence of Israel, and the configuring of the Balkans, the Baby Boom and the move to suburbia, the crooners and the big bands. The film uses newsreel, archival film footage, photographs, interviews, and commentary to tell the story of the revolutionary '40s. ~ Rose of Sharon Winter, Rovi

20th Century: 1970s - Power Plays
20th Century: 1990s - America's Hard Drive
20th Century: 1910s - The Modern Age Begins
This second volume in the ten-part series The 20th Century examines the 1910s, a decade best known for the cataclysmic events involving World War I. The documentary starts with an analysis of the manufacturing growth that rang in the new decade, with special consideration of the Ford Motor Company. However, this growth eventually becomes overshadowed by the "Great War," which involved nations all over the globe. Other issues discussed include women's suffrage, labor unrest, and the popularity of jazz music. The 1910s: Modern Age Begins gives a broad overview of a crucial decade filled with war, peace, and unparalleled changes. ~ John Schietinger, Rovi

20th Century: 1930s - The Great Depression
The 1930s are best known for the pain and anguish of the Great Depression, a global economic catastrophe. This documentary, the fourth volume in the ten-part series The 20th Century, examines this eventful decade. The failures of President Herbert Hoover to get America out of the Depression are contrasted with the successes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose abundance of social programs like the Works Progress Administration helped revive a struggling nation. The use of authentic newsreel footage helps capture the mood of the 1930s in great detail. In spite of the problems of this decade, the documentary also examines lighter issues like the rise in popularity of movies and baseball. The 1930s: Great Depression makes it clear that the '30s were critical years in terms of leading into the war-infested 1940s. ~ John Schietinger, Rovi

20th Century: 1920s - A Decade of Contradictions
The 1920s: Decade of Contradictions is the third installment of the ten-volume documentary series The 20th Century. This particular video exposes the "Roaring Twenties" and all its varied cultural contradictions. For example, it was the decade of prohibition, which ironically caused more criminal problems than it originally sought to end. The hate-filled messages of the Ku Klux Klan raged with enormous popularity while the Harlem Renaissance, an African-American artistic movement, was in full bloom as well. The video closes its examination of this eventful decade with the stock market crash of 1929, a tragic conclusion and catalyst for the Great Depression that would follow in the 1930s. ~ John Schietinger, Rovi

20th Century: 1960s - A Global Revolution
When it comes to dramatic decades in United States history, the 1960s seems to have it all: technological advances, social protest and change, war, and end-of-the-world geo-political standoffs. Part of the ten-volume documentary video series acclaimed by the prestigious Library Journal, this installment of The 20th Century, 20th Century: 1960's - A Global Revolution covers the benchmark events, trends and celebrities of the period, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights movement, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy, the musical "British Invasion" by The Beatles, hippies and the rise of unconventional drug use, and NASA's anti-Communist race to the moon. ~ Steve Blackburn, Rovi

20th Century: 1980s - A Decade of Decadence
20th Century: 1950s - Promoting the American Dream
20th Century: 1950s Promoting the American Dream is the sixth part of the ten-part documentary series The 20th Century. This particular video goes through the major events of the 1950s, from the Korean War at the dawn of the decade to the pervasive Cold War fears to Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare. The intense and real worries about atomic war are also emphasized, just as American suburbs are burgeoning in size and success. All is not doom and gloom though. The evolution of television and growth of American heroes like Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Elvis Presley receive exposure, along with the cataclysmic cultural force that was rock and roll. The 1950s is at once entertaining and informative in its examination of a tumultuous yet fun decade. ~ John Schietinger, Rovi

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