All-American Soap Box Derby (film #322 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

General Motors sponsored this film, as well as the derby, which was supposed to be a tribute to the "All-American Boy." The bombastic narration lends a campy air to the proceedings, which is good, because otherwise they'd be pretty dull, especially the awards banquet at the end. Campy moments include the opening montage of "friendly competition," which goes from friendly games of marbles on to progressively more aggressive sports, such as football, wrestling, and boxing, all while the narrator expounds on how this builds character; the closing montage of faces of boys dissolving into each other, seemingly communicating a message of conformity, and the closing assertion that these boys would go on to fight other battles which is superimposed over an American flag––considering the timing of the film you can't help wondering how many of them would die in World War II. A ripe film for msting.

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

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