Safety Belt for Susie (film #7 on The Educational Archives, Vol. 3: Driver's Ed DVD (Fantomas, 2001). Also, film #2 on Our Secret Century, Vol. 4: Menace and Jeopardy CD-ROM (Voyager)). [Category: Public Service]

A couple's little girl, Nancy, takes her life-sized doll Susie with her everywhere, except to her week-long visit to Grandma's (she can't take it on the plane). While driving to pick up Nancy at Grandma's, with Susie in the backseat, the couple gets into a bad auto accident. Fortunately, they were both wearing their seatbelts, so they avoid serious injury. But Susie is thrown into the front seat and has her head almost wrenched off her body. Gasp! What if that had been Nancy?, they think. They go to the doctor to treat their minor cuts and scrapes, and the doctor just happens to be a traffic safety expert. He tells them about crash studies at UCLA, and we see a bunch of slow motion scenes of cars with dolls in them crashing into each other. Needless to say, Nancy, and Susie too, wear seatbelts thereafter. The plot of this film is one of the more ludicrous I've seen. But the real meat of the film is the crash footage with the dolls. I suppose they were trying to make it shocking, but it comes off as gleeful and sensuous, which undercuts their message just a bit, I think. It doesn't help that the experimenters taped names to the dolls' foreheads for some odd reason. One of the most memorable of the safety films.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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