Green Harvest (1949): A film about Forest Management seen by millions

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Green Harvest. Sponsored by the Weyerhaeuser Forest Products. Produced by Wilding Films, Released in 1949. Starring Inez Cooper.

The industrial film Green Harvest promotes the science and technology behind forest management using the scenario of a newly married couple honeymooning in a cabin in the woods. A disagreement about the harmful effects of the timber industry (yes, on their honeymoon!) is settled by the bride’s uncle, a timber entomologist, who educates them by screening a film about the running of a tree farm. He argues that timber harvesting is the best way to protect forests from fires, pests, and other dangers. 

The film starred Hollywood actress Inez Cooper who appeared in The Barkleys of Broadway, the last Ginger Rogers Fred Astaire film, as well as a John Wayne film titled Flying Leathernecks.  All but two of her film credits came in the 1940s. 

The film received wide distribution and by 1956, seven years after the film's release, the producer Wilding Films claimed a viewership of more than 67 million people in “churches, clubs, and schools, in theatres, on television, and in rural roadshows.” Wilding used it as a selling point for its industrial film services in advertisements found in the Business Screen Magazine in 1953 and 1956.

Reports on screenings of the film can be found throughout the 1950s in the database. Theaters in the town of Longview, Washington showed the film as short between Hollywood features. Here are examples from 1953 and 1958

While it was seen by millions in its time, we found few traces of the film online. As far as we can tell, the copy recently acquired and digitized by the Hagley Library marks the first time the film has surfaced in many years. Enjoy!

Kevin J. Martin is the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Audiovisual and Digital Collections at Hagley Museum and Library.