This film is part of Free

Father of the Turks

Three reports from March of Time: Kemal Ataturk relaxes on a Turkish beach, fake cancer cures are exposed and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band reforms to play Tiger Rag.

Anthology 1937 21 mins


Ataturk is championed as a moderniser – but definitely not a Communist – who heroically transformed Turkey into a modern, industrialised nation. The second story around fake cancer cures is strikingly forward-looking in its emphasis on prevention and its denunciation of quackery. And finally, today’s swing is just the jazz of yesteryear: Nick LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band cuts a blistering performance of Tiger Rag.

Shots of Ataturk relaxing on the beach, looking genial in a bathing suit provide a nice contrast to the more familiar narrative of the ruthless moderniser who renounced the Treaty of Sevres, banned Arabic script and imposed European dress on the Turkish population. The one-sided tone of the piece led Variety magazine to criticise the film as a ‘blatant piece of tom-toming in the Ataturk’s behalf’. Perhaps a more positive example of March of Time’s bold approach to reporting is the cancer story, which epitomises in the best way its socially enlightened, journalistic, issue-driven approach.