The Cinecraft collection at Hagley is among the most extensive intact collections from an industrial film producer in the country. The collection does not include everything produced on film from the Cleveland-based company, but it includes approximately 1500 unique productions and a collection of nearly 1000 scripts.
Using paper records from the collection and external sources, like Business Screen Magazine, we have a nearly comprehensive list of everything Cinecraft produced on film from 1938 through the 1970s. We know what we are missing. In some cases, we have scripts but lack a copy of the actual film. For example, we have six film scripts for films the company made for the U.S Navy during the Second World War but Cinecraft or the Culley family saved copies of the actual films. That is why I was thrilled to find a copy of a film on eBay titled Diesel-Electric D.C. Drive Destroyer Escorts. Luckily, the title caught my attention since we have the script for this film in the Cinecraft archive. It was the second part of a two-part training film made for the Navy in 1943. After a quick back-and-forth with the seller, we purchased the film for Hagley. The seller told me he has had the reel for years but doesn't remember how he acquired it.
Cinecraft's war films may exist in a federal or military archive, but we are glad that the home to the Cinecraft archive now owns a copy.
The training film, produced for Navy personnel, explains the destroyer escort engine and its motor room. The film educated sailors on diesel–electric transmission systems and standard operating procedures for a ship's electric propulsion equipment. While the film itself might not be all that compelling, its place in Cinecraft history makes it a valuable addition to Hagley's collection. Check out the clip below or watch the full version at https://digital.hagley.org/FILM_2018222_FC270
Kevin J. Martin is the Curator of Archives and the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Audiovisual and Digital Collections at Hagley Museum and Library