This TV series from the mid-1950s blended documentary and fiction to tell Canadian stories from a Canadian perspective.

  • Borderline
    1956|28 min

    This short film is a portrait of Nora Fenton, a 15-year-old girl who is sent to a home for problem teens because of her persistent defiance of parental authority and self-injurious behavior. Typifying the problems of emotional adjustment experienced by many adolescents, this story of conflict and rebellion shows how understanding, affection and firm parental guidance are the factors most needed in helping teens weather their most turbulent years.

  • Sable Island
    1956|28 min

    This short documentary profiles the uniquely cloistered wildlife of Sable Island, known as the “Atlantic graveyard” due to its inhospitable conditions. Barren sands and endless gales proved too much for human settlement on this island off the coast of Nova Scotia. Only a small group of researchers and maintenance people occupy the island; horses run wild, seals and birds multiply profusely, and the Ipswich sparrow has found a fruitful breeding ground for itself. Sable Island provides a perfect opportunity to observe nature in an untouched, organic laboratory.

  • Profile of a Problem Drinker
    1957|28 min

    This short film is a telling portrait of the discourse about and treatment of alcohol addiction in the middle of the 20th century. In a fictional setting, the film examines the insecurities and inner motivations that cause the protagonist to lean on alcohol. His job and home life are threatened by his addiction, and the doctor to whom he finally turns explains the medical and other resources available to him.

  • Wolfe and Montcalm
    1957|28 min

    This short film recreates the tense hours before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and then the battle itself in which both generals, Wolfe and Montcalm, were fatally wounded.

  • Crossroads
    1957|28 min

    This sensitive drama tells the story of a couple, Roy and Judy, and the reactions they encounter when they announce their intention to marry, reactions complicated by the fact that Roy is black and Judy is white.

  • Double Verdict
    1957|29 min

    This short drama tells the story of Andy Potter, a successful lawyer torn between 2 worlds - the world of reality and that of his own dreams and ambitions. With a loving wife, many supportive friends and a great career, there was no apparent reason for him to wish to end his life. Yet and still, one by one, the symptoms of schizophrenia took their toll.

  • Fires of Envy
    1957|28 min

    This short film is a dramatization of Canadian author W.O. Mitchell's penetrating story about the racial prejudice encountered by a Polish immigrant farmer in a rural Saskatchewan community. Presented with the incisiveness characteristic of Mitchell's Jake and the Kid radio series, this film story employs homespun events of a farming community to lay bare some universal truths about the unthinking discrimination practiced against a man who is different from his English-speaking fellow farmers.

  • Pierrot in Montreal
    1957|29 min

    In this documentary short, Canadian mime Guy Hoffman, acting as Pierrot, introduces us to the art of pantomime. The streets of Montreal and the Belmont Amusement Park are the backdrop for the traditional story of Pierrot, who loses his love, Columbine, to Harlequin.

  • Arrival
    1957|29 min

    This drama portrays an immigrant family and the mingled feelings of hope and despair that characterize their life in a strange land. An Italian wife joins her husband in a large Canadian city. After two years in Canada the husband feels his dream of a better life is close to realization, but his wife feels that differences of language and custom are insurmountable. How such feelings are dispelled by simple gestures of friendship from Canadian-born neighbours gives a heartening conclusion to the film.

  • Back into the Sun
    1956|29 min

    An illustration of the rather unique way in which the day hospital of the Allan Memorial Institute in Montréal helps patients back to mental and emotional health. Patients not requiring full hospitalization come for daytime treatment and return to their homes at night. The case presented is that of a young woman who is under severe emotional stress. Interviews with a psychiatrist and group therapy sessions reveal the root of her trouble and set her on the path to overcoming her problem.

  • The Barrier
    1957|1 h 0 min

    This feature-length drama tells two sides of the same story to illustrate the lack of communication between employer and employee. The story takes us into a fictional paper company to meet two men who, despite having similar goals, are at odds with each other. First, we see the tale unfold from the point of view of the employee, and then we get to see the same story retold through the eyes of the employer.

    Filmed in the late 1950s, The Barrier is part of the NFB's Perspective series.

  • Birth of a Giant
    1957|29 min

    This documentary short tells the story of the conception, construction and testing of the largest Canadian aircraft of its time - the Canadair Argus. A marine reconnaissance aircraft, the Argus was designed and manufactured by Canadair for the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Air Force. In its early years, it was reputedly the finest anti-submarine patrol bomber in the world.

  • Canadians Abroad
    1956|29 min

    This short documentary from 1956 catches up with several talented Canadians who have found a home in the entertainment or arts scenes of London and Paris. Among them are Toronto-born Beverley Baxter, a baronet and MP who claims that London has a history of being invaded (first the Romans, now the Canadians), and then-aspiring novelist Mordecai Richler, who feels he has a better chance of making a living in England than he does back home.

  • Capital City
    1957|29 min

    This short documentary presents Ottawa through the eyes of a veteran tourist guide who knows all the answers, from the height of the Peace Tower to the reason the Rideau Canal was built.

  • The Deserter
    1956|30 min

    This short drama highlights the work of the Family Welfare Service in its compassionate tale of a husband who abandons his wife and children. Part of the Perspective series.

  • Fighter Wing
    1956|30 min

    In this short documentary, Fred Davis introduces us to Canadian Air Force operations in Zweibrucken, West Germany. Follow Green Section as they perform drills and explain what it takes to be a fighter pilot.

    Part of the Perspective series.

  • First Novel
    1958|29 min

    In this short 1958 fiction film, a young man gives up a steady job to tackle the uncertain task of writing for a living. In telling his experiences, this film conveys a general picture of the literary field in Canada and the incentives it offers, or fails to offer, the creative writer. Opinions, encouraging and otherwise, are expressed by a Canadian publisher, a television producer, and friends of the young writer who want to see him make his mark.

  • Go to Blazes
    1956|29 min

    This short documentary from the Perspective television series examines the dangerous practices that can cause tragic and costly fires. The film follows Inspector Joe Fletcher as he investigates fires that have happened, are happening, or could happen. It shows how frequently fires are actually crimes of carelessness, which, if prevented, could have saved life and property.

  • Haiti
    1957|30 min

    This short film from the Perspective series highlights social and economic development in Haiti circa 1957. It depicts customs and traditions used to pass along the history of a people, and offers a look into their daily lives — lives that looks very different from their experiences today.

  • The Happy Fugitive
    1957|29 min

    This short drama profiles a fugitive who skipped out on parole 28 years ago and now finds that he must finish his prison term. The film is based on a case from the files of the John Howard Society, whose mission is to advocate for humane prison reform and provide practical assistance to prisoners and ex-prisoners.

  • The Hoax
    1955|28 min

    A small-town museum finds itself the centre of suspenseful melodrama when an enterprising reporter plunges it into local headlines over the authenticity of one of its prize exhibits, a human skull. An act of diplomacy saves the fate of the museum's fund-raising campaign and the brash young reporter learns a lesson.

  • Howard
    1957|28 min

    This documentary short presents the dilemma of a teenager caught in the crossfire of adult opinions and youthful enthusiasm. Howard, just out of high school, is slated for college and a career as a chemist. But he first wants to embark on a summer-long, foot-loose tour of Canada with a school pal. This plan, however, meets with strong resistance from his socially conformist parents. The film's depiction of Howard's resultant confusion illustrates the inner conflicts that can arise in teenagers when every carefree impulse is rationalized out of existence.

  • Island Romance
    1957|29 min

    This short fictional film features the picturesque seaside landscape of Prince Edward Island as the setting for a summer romance between a girl from Winnipeg and a young fisherman from North Rustico, PEI. The young couple visits historic and scenic sites such as Government House in Charlottetown and Cavendish, of Green Gables fame. The film is a classic summertime romance and a nostalgic visit to the delightfully sun-soaked PEI of the past.

  • Islands of the Frozen Sea
    1958|29 min

    This short documentary offers a look at the life forms on the Queen Elizabeth Islands within the Arctic Circle. Even in this frigid zone of icebergs and glaciers a surprising variety of wildlife and vegetation is seen. Writings from the logbooks of early explorers provide vivid descriptions of scenes as arresting to them in their century as to today's explorer.

  • Joe and Roxy
    1957|28 min

    This short is the second installment in a series of three dramatic films on adolescence, this one dealing with teenage romance. Joe and Roxy, at 15 and 16 respectively, face more than the average teenage problems. Roxy, a child of divorced parents, tries to keep her illusions about love and life alive despite her upbringing, while Joe unsuccessfully seeks guidance and direction from his less-than-capable father.

  • The Legendary Judge
    1958|30 min

    This short fiction film profiles the controversial figure of Judge Matthew Bailie Begbie, who was tasked with bringing law and order to the gold-mining camps of British Columbia more than 150 years ago. After his death, Begbie’s fame grew, and he subsequently came to be known as “the Hanging Judge”; historians argue about his methods and legacy to this day. This film was produced in 1958 and may reflect outdated or even offensive stereotypes of that era. It must be seen in this historical context.

  • Log Drive
    1957|29 min

    This short documentary brings to the screen a great seasonal event in the Québec spruce forest—the log drive. In lyrics set to a sprightly tune, ballad singer describes this annual spectacle. A vast aggregation of logs moves downstream on a river, spurred by dynamite and sharp-tipped cant hooks, tossed and twirled by the boots of leaping men.

  • Neptune Mission
    1958|30 min

    Royal Canadian Air Force submarine hunters--Neptune aircraft--patrol the Atlantic, and in a realistic training exercise lead Royal Canadian Navy destroyers to an "enemy" submarine.

  • Night Children
    1956|30 min

    This short drama presents the story of a case worker with a Children's Aid Society and the children she helps. Working round the clock, the Society receives appeals of every sort. The film shows how the Society follows through in the case of a little girl found wandering alone on downtown streets at night and in other cases of children abandoned, uncared for, the victims of their environment.

  • Our Northern Citizen
    1956|29 min

    This short documentary illustrates the impact of new developments on the Inuit of Baffin Island, as well as the local reaction to the decision to move the settlement of Aklavik across the Mackenzie River.

    Please note that this is an archival film that makes use of the word “Eskimo,” an outdated and offensive term. While the origin of the word is a matter of some contention, it is no longer used in Canada. The term was formally rejected by the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 1980 and has subsequently not been in use at the NFB for decades. This film is therefore a time-capsule of a bygone era, presented in its original version. The NFB apologizes for the offence caused.

  • Railroad Town
    1956|29 min

    This short documentary is a delightful trip back to an era in which railroad was king. The small community of Melville, Saskatchewan, is a railroad town. Long-time CBC host Fred Davis visits with various railway workers and learns about the operation of one of the vital service stations which keep the Canadian National Railway running smoothly.

  • Strike in Town
    1955|37 min

    This short film depicts the act of collective bargaining common to Canadian industry and shows how it affected a union, a company and a community. In Strike in Town the events that led to a deadlock in negotiations between management and employees at a furniture factory are staged against the backdrop of a one-industry town. It's the story of a strike nobody wanted, but which everyone was powerless to stop.

  • The Suspects
    1957|29 min

    This short drama highlights the importance of police officers maintaining a compassionate understanding of the people they both police and protect. A teenage boy and girl are falsely accused of robbing a fur warehouse. The investigating detective tries to bully a confession from them, but the police chief knows that the detective is acting beyond his mandate. The chief eventually intervenes, thereby underlining the extent of the investigator's inappropriate behaviour.

  • Train 406
    1958|28 min

    This short documentary offers a step-by-step account of a fast freight train on a run from Toronto to Halifax, with glimpses of the vast amount of organization necessary in the operation of a country-wide transportation network.

  • Western Brigade
    1958|30 min

    This short dramatic film illustrates a cooperative program of fire protection that was carried out across Alberta in the late 1950s. It presents the problems inherent in a voluntary fire brigade, as well as the everyday heroes who step up and get the job done. The film is an entertaining look at how a crew that was once considered to be the joke of the town can evolve into the best fire brigade in the West!