This film is part of Free


A bankrupt mill-town, the evils of political patronage and Hawaii’s struggle for statehood. Three ways of looking at the same question: how to change society for the better?

Anthology 1937 20 mins


From the efforts of the citizens of Manchester, New Hampshire to buy back the Amoskeag mills and save the town’s industry, to the burdens of Hawaii - thriving economically but denied representation as a state - this issue shows March of Time at its most socially engaged. The central episode looks to the UK civil service as a way reforming the failing US model which was based on graft and patronage: a state of affairs symbolised here by a fat man in a limousine smoking a big cigar.

The ‘America’s Gibraltar’ episode, which was made for the British edition only, showed the tension between the US military, to whom Hawaii was of paramount strategic importance in defending the Pacific, and the struggles of the racially diverse citizens of the territory to achieve statehood for the islands. A montage of contrasting images provides a potted history of Hawaii and sums up a politically and militarily complicated situation with footage that is a blend of the familiar and the unexpected: scenes of pineapple plantations, cattle fields, hula dancing and luaus stand out starkly against shots of railroad guns, battleships and the fortified dockyards of Pearl Harbour.