The Chronicles of America
One series of films is superior to any other production in the non- theatrical subgenres of business, educational, or religious subjects, "The Chronicles of America." It was the most ambitious non-theatrical production ever attempted, combining "Hollywood" techniques with the highest of educational standards. The series proved that it was possible to introduce quality filmmaking and high production values to educational films--that "educational" was not a synonym for boring or cheaply made. To a large extent, the Chronicles of America series was evidence that the non-theatrical film could be in every way as appealing to an audience and as praiseworthy to the critics as any theatrical feature.
The similarity between the Chronicles of America and a theatrical feature of the day comes from the fact that the former utilized many film industry craftsmen in its production. The major difference was that no Hollywood production was of the scope or size of the Chronicles of America. At a time when a typical Hollywood feature was produced in a matter of weeks, the Chronicles of America took months. While the average Hollywood feature was six reels in length, the Chronicles of America was to be released in one hundred reels.
bIn many respects, the Chronicles of America is comparable to D. W. Griffith's 1915 production of The Birth of a Nation. It lacks the artistry and the controversial subject matter of the Griffith epic, but it possessed the same sincerity, a similar scope and vision in its attempt to chronicle