The Ballet Master's Dream ["Le Reve du Martre de Ballet"] (film #7 on Ballerinas in Hell (Unknown Video)). [Category: Early Film & TV]

A ballet master has a weird dream about a ballerina in an ice cavern. Don't let Freud get ahold of this one. A 1903 Georges Melies film.

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

Creepy Classics (Hallmark, 1988). [Category: Commercial]

Vincent Price hosts this rather brief collection of trailers and clips from horror movies. Fortunately, he doesn't embarrass himself, but gives a typically campy performance. There are more clips than trailers here, making it not as interesting as it might be to ephemera collectors. It gets 5 extra points for identifying the clips with superimposed titles (which many other similar collections fail to do).


Highlights:


  • The Blob stars "Steve McQueen and a cast of exciting young people!"
  • Gimmick Alert! The intro to Horrors of the Black Museum tells us it's filmed in "HypnoVista"! The producers of The Screaming Skull will pay funeral expenses for anybody in the audience who dies of fright!
  • Msties, take note: contains clips or trailers from I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Gorgo, The Screaming Skull, and War of the Colossal Beast.

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

America Marching On (film #106 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

Lowell Thomas narrates this 30s film about how American technology and the capitalist system make things better for everybody and we should all just ignore that silly old depression. He does this by telling the story of a 19th-century mill that advances from a one-stone operation to a huge company that makes lots of profits and shares them with the workers. I'm not sure many jobless people during the Depression bought this.

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

Amy Muller (film #10 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]

Amy Muller is an acrobatic dancer dressed in a layered flouncy skirt and ruffled bloomers. She dances for our pleasure for several seconds. An early film in the tradition of Serpentine Dancers. An 1896 Edison film.

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

Little Black Sambo (track #10 on Cartoon Scandals (Goodtimes, 1987)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

A little black boy and his dog battle a tiger a la Little Black Sambo, and racial stereotypes abound. Once you get past the stereotypes, though, it's pretty ordinary.

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

Black Sabbath Trailer (film #18 in the Trailers section of Movieflix (www.movieflix.com)). [Category: Commercial]

This trailer is for an early 60s horror anthology flick starring Boris Karloff. Karloff is always fun to see, but other than that, this is pretty ordinary.

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

Dem Bones (extra on Monsters Crash the Pajama Party Spook Show Spectacular DVD (Something Weird, 2001)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

In this all-black cast soundie, a smooth quartet sings "Dem Bones" while a comic relief janitor battles a dancing skeleton in the hallway. A cute, though stereotype-ridden, extra on the Spook Show Spectacular DVD.

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

Caroline Mission (film #274 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This is assorted silent color film footage of a mission and its various good works. It's not clear whether or not this originally had a soundtrack, or even if it was cobbled together from several different films. I think this might have been film that was shown by mission workers giving presentations at churches and soliciting donations. There's footage of children playing, adolescent boys playing a night game of basketball, a juvenile court, and what looks like alcoholics and homeless people on the street. It looks like it was made in the 40s and there are some cool moments of signage from the period. This is an oddity, but it should provide some raw material for video makers.

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

At the Studio (film #12 in the Comedy section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

In this very short, very self-referential brickfilm, two Lego guys discuss the latest short, self-referential brickfilm they are going to make. Don't miss the Monty Python reference at the end (as if you could).

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

General Hospital episode excerpt (MST3K Episode #413: Manhunt in Space). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

"Here comes Nurseferatu!" says Crow, and it's apt, as this excerpt from an early 60s episode of the soap opera "General Hospital" is very dark and depressing. Nurses and doctors discuss their personal lives in hushed whispers in a bleak hospital setting. A woman is diagnosed with a hiatus hernia and the treatment is several weeks of hospital care (just try to get that past the insurance companies today!). The msting is great fun. The next two of these seem to be excerpts from the same episode (though with a soap opera, it's hard to tell).

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

Avenge December 7 (film #180 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

This movie theater promo for War Bonds appeals strictly to the revenge motive in its audience. Apparently those who died at Pearl Harbor are waiting for the rest of America to get the nastiest revenge possible on those dirty Japs. This was made a year after Pearl Harbor, when the wounds were still festering, though, so what do you expect? It is an interesting slice of history, though, telling you much about the attitudes of the time in its short length.

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

Golden Gate Bridge Opening (film #1825 on Prelinger Archive. Also, film #6 in the Landmarks Around the World section of WPA Film Library (excerpts)). [Category: News]

Silent raw newsreel footage of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Mostly, this involves a very slow motorcade of 30s cars––so slow a bicyclist can lead the way! After the cars finally get over, the bridge is opened to pedestrian traffic and this footage is pretty interesting. A nice chunk of history here.

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

At the End of the Rainbow (film #163 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

Made by the Sun-Kraft ultraviolet lamp company, this film tells us all about the healthful benefits of ultraviolet radiation, including sunburn, skin cancer, and the prevention of rickets. Actually, no, skin cancer wasn't mentioned––if that danger had been known about back in the 50s when this was made, perhaps they wouldn't have shown a baby being irradiated by her mother holding a portable UV device. Sunburn, though, is portrayed as a sign of health and that inconvenient peeling can be prevented by an application of Sun Kraft skin cream. The film's most amazing premise is the idea that poor people should all be supplied with UV lamps, because everybody knows that the primary effect of poverty is that you don't get enough sun. This film is quite appalling, but considering its subject matter, it should have been lots more appalling than it is, which makes it kind of disappointing. Still, it has a fair amount of camp value and it's quite mstable. And it contains lots of shots of people of all walks of life wearing dorky protective sunglasses, if you're looking for that.

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

Chicken of Tomorrow (MST3K Episode #702: The Brute Man. Also, film #7 on disc #4 of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 2 DVD (Rhino, 2003). Also, film #311 on Prelinger Archive ). [Category: Industrial]

Doesn't quite live up to its title (which is one of the greats), unfortunately. It's not so much about the chicken of tomorrow as it is about the poultry farmer of today ("today" being the 1950's) and how motor trucks powered with Texaco gasoline increase his profits. The msting is pretty good, especially when they're msting the chickens.

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

Argentina

Argentina. Standard geography film about the South American country of Argentina. There’s some historical interest here as you get to see ...