Posts

Showing posts from February 2, 2003
Assassin of Youth (film #1 on disc #1 of Schlock Hysteria, section #10 of Total Movie & Entertainment free DVD set). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider] This is one of the campiest of the pseudoeducational exploitation films of the 30s. An investigative reporter infiltrates a group of small-town teenagers to get the scoop on teen marijuana use. He gets in the middle of a plot to swindle "good girl" Joan out of her inheritance by making it look like she's gone bad. The film has everything you look for in this kind of film: cheesy production values; a total ignorance about the effects of and the culture surrounding marijuana use ("I want one of those cigarettes that pep you up!" "Oh, you mean reefers?"); a film-within-a-film about the evils of the drug (The Marijuana Menace); lots of jazzy party scenes; a shadowy undressing scene which, of course, is essential to the plot; and lots of scenery chewing. It also has more character actors than you can sha…
Boy in Court (film #6 on Our Secret Century, Vol. 5: Teenage Transgression CD-ROM (Voyager). Also, film #138 on Prelinger Archive. Also, track #3 on Teenage Confidential (Rhino, 1987)). [Category: Public Service]This optimistic 1940s film tries to convince us that enlightened, compassionate juvenile court systems can be more effective in reforming young offenders than punitive courts. 15-year-old gang member Johnny participates in a gang car theft, but is the only one caught. A kindly judges sentences him to probation, assigning to his case a compassionate probation officer who sets about getting social services for Johnny's poverty-stricken family, getting Johnny to go to church, and interesting the boy in aviation. By the end of the film, Johnny is a thoroughly clean-cut upright young man, who admits to the judge that stealing a car is "pretty dumb". Although it has some valid points, this film is incredibly simplistic in its portrayal of the causes and solutions to ju…
Al Tudi Tuhak - Long, Long Ago (film #2 in the Film Festival section of Movieflix (www.movieflix.com)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities] This short animated film tells a Native American creation myth from what looks to be the Eskimo people. God is shown as a giant Eskimo woodcarver who creates the earth and all life on it through whittling––the shavings are transformed into all forms of animal and plant life, as well as the sun and the moon. The story also involves a lonely duck and a whale who ends up in an unexpected place. The artwork is done in a Native American style and the narration is done in the form of traditional storytelling. The total effect is charming and true to the spirit of the traditional story. The duck and the whale, in particular, will make you smile.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Beatlemania! (extra on The Beatles: Celebration DVD (LasarLight, 1999)). [Category: News] This newsreel clip documents the Beatles' return to London after their successful storming of America in 1964. They are absolutely mobbed at the airport by screaming fans. I don't care what you say––no other entertainers have created this much "mania" in their fans. This was made near the end of the newsreel era, like Universal Pictures Newsreel. The Beatles were a symbol of the huge changes that would happen in the 60s, so it's kind of odd to see them documented by such an old-fashioned technology.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Activision (easter egg on Boxing on the Playstation 2 Game Activision Anthology (Activision, 2002)). [Category: Commercial] OK, folks, I know that the vast majority of you are not so rabid fans of ephemera that you would dig up this one, unless you also happen to be a fan of vintage video games. Not only does it require you to have a Playstation 2 and the game, but you have to get a certain score in Boxing to unlock this film. But it just so happens that my husband is a video game fanatic, and he got the requisite score. So I'm going to take advantage of it, even though I feel like I'm at a carnival and he just won a large stuffed bunny for me at the shooting gallery. This film announces the brand-new 1982 Activision video games for your Atari game system and lets you meet some of the game designers. Remember Atari, folks? That ultra-primitive game system that was just a step above Pong, but was nevertheless the cool thing to have back in 1982? I know it's unfair and way t…
All Star Bond Rally (film #7 on WWII V for Victory War Bonds & Rallies Show (Something Weird, 1996)). Category: Military & PropragandaA bunch of Hollywood stars, including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Betty Grable do their level best to get us all to buy War Bonds and to entertain us, to boot. The most charming segment involves a bunch of pinups coming to life and making GIs do double-takes. A fun slice of WWII-era pop culture.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Across the Border (film #6 on Blood of Floor Sweepings (LSVideo)). [Category: Industrial]A bunch of Goodyear employees go to Canada for no other reason, it seems, than to be tourists––and we get to see their home movies! This silent film from 1934 must have had some other purpose than what I've just said, but I can't figure it out. You do get to see some historically interesting footage of old-fashioned farming methods, when the excursioneers (they're always referred to in the title cards with cute names like that) tour the countryside.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.