American Engineer (film #345 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

Another lush Jam Handy "American" film sponsored by Chevrolet, this one singing the praises of engineers and their work. Lots of scenes of buildings, constructions, highways, factories, and miscellaneous products of science and technology are shown while the narrator gives a never-ending stream of bombastic praise for technological progress and how wonderful it all is. No downside to this progress is even hinted at for a second, not even for such things as nuclear submarines, bulldozers plowing up the landscape, or endless freeways. As usual for the "American" films, the visuals are striking and lush, the color is eye-popping, the future portrayed is a rosy World of Tommorow (complete with picturephones), and it's strongly hinted that automaking is a vital part of it all. This is more focused on industrial and architectural wonders than on consumer products, like the other "American" films, making it slightly less campy. Still, like all the films in this series, it gives a wonderful view of 50s populuxe idealism at its most bombastic. The Prelinger Archive is to be commended on both the beautiful film quality of the print they have (it looks like it was made yesterday) and the high-quality digitizing of the MPEG-2 that I downloaded and put onto VCD––it's almost entirely free of pixelization.

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

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