The Original Cry
of the Marsh documentary
Cry of the Marsh is the original documentary
that inspired thousands of young ecologists in the 1960s and 70s.
Bob Hartkopf filmed Cry of the Marsh with just a single
16mm camera, creating a vivid portrait of the high toll exacted
on the environment by industrial-sized farming. With its
graphic images and compelling score, Cry of the Marsh became
an instant classic within the green movement of the early 1970s.
Hartkopf spent his boyhood on a farm adjacent
to a beautiful marsh he came to love. When the marsh was drained,
burned and plowed by neighbors, he began filming straightforward
account of wetlands destruction. At the time, Landers Film Review
called it 'an
excellent and honest report on the tragic loss of our natural wild
Cry of the Marsh is a powerful and compelling
story that graphically captures the poetic beauty of a march before drainage and the awesome finality that results when man claims
a marsh for other purposes. Its message is indelible and urgent.
'Everyone should see
- Film News, 1970
North American marshes
are breeding grounds for millions of wild water birds and also
serve as natural reservoirs
to help prevent floods. These precious wetlands are rapidly disappearing,
victims of man's relentless search for more farmland, more highways,
more space for refuse, and more urban development area.
With each destroyed marsh has gone the infinite
varieties of interrelated life. Too often man has caused lasting
changes in the biosphere without thought of harmful ecological
consequences, consequences which now threaten his own existence.
According to Booklist, the film is 'a most graphic expression
of man's destructive influence on the balance of nature.'
"Clean and eloquent plea for conservation."
-Educational Film Library Association, 1970