In 1958, there weren't a lot of people talking about global warming. But director Frank Capra was, and made an educational film, "The Unchained Goddess" about exactly that. At the time, Capra had essentially retired from feature films, having earned no less than three Oscars for Best Director (he was nominated six times, including for a little film called "It's a Wonderful Life." You may have heard of it).
A lapsed chemical engineer, Capra loved science as much as he did film-making. After his 'retirement' he made four educational films about science for distribution in classrooms around the country. Shot in Technicolor and filmed with Hollywood-caliber production values, the movies were a huge hit.
In this scene from "The Unchained Goddess," Capra anticipates the importance of global warming several decades ahead of most of the rest of the world:
Kind of chilling to think we had this knowledge so long ago.
To give you an idea of how wedded to science Capra was, here's a montage from another of his educational films, "Our Mr. Sun":
Now, here's the twist: Capra was a lifelong conservative, even getting involved in anti-communist activities during the era of McCarthyism. He would have no political home in today's world, where the rhetoric about global warming splits down party lines.
But that's exactly the point — in a time before global warming was a politically-charged topic, this dyed-in-the-wool Republican with a degree in chemical engineering saw what thousands of scientists around the world would later recognize as a threat to civilization itself: that carbon dioxide released due to human activity is piling up in the atmosphere and warming the planet.
Oh, how times have changed.