Beatrice Foods News Reports from Around the World (film #191 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

This early 60s film is pretty much what the title says––news reports from all over the world about Beatrice Foods’ various corporate subsidiaries. We get to see milk processing on a military base in Japan, a company that makes cookware and serving utensils for restaurants, a Belgian milk processing plant, and a bizarre underground storage facility near Kansas City. This is all narrated in a way that implies that its audience finds this all fascinating. And it is, in an odd sort of way, though you have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it. Me, I like stuff about foods and the kitchen, so this held my interest. There’s lots of factory footage for folks who like that sort of thing. And the last segment, about the underground storage facility, is the weirdest. The employees of the facility have their lunches in a “Caveteria,” a name that is so lame it’s brilliant. But the most interesting thing is the Atlas Wire Products Company, a company that rents underground space for its factory from the facility. This company make––are you ready for this?––wire racks! Get it?? Kansas?? Wire racks?? That’s where the guy in Speech: Using Your Voice, a Centron production, got his nifty wire rack! It has to be! This is just too handy to be a coincidence! This blows the lid off the whole Kansas-Centron-public speaking-evaporated milk-wire rack conspiracy! I––what? Oh…OK, I’ll take my meds and go to bed now.

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

Arranging the Tea Table (film #155 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

In which we learn that behaving as if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder is the best way to make your tea guests feel at ease. "Exactness in details helps tremendously to ensure a sense of perfection," is a direct quote. If you only own a white linen tablecloth, but not a lace or embroidered one, then you might as well throw in the towel right now, because your tea will be an excruciating failure and you will lose all your friends. Have fun!

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

Army Pack Train Bringing Supplies (film #15 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]

This was back in the days when horses and mules were the main forms of transport, even for the army. They sure made mule trains long in those days. An Edison film.

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

The Bank Robbery (film #5 on The Origins of Cinema, Vol. 5: Rare Films (Video Yesteryear, 1997)). [Category: Early Film & TV]

Now this is a Western! It almost looks like it could be a home movie of a real Old-West bank robbery. Considering the time period in which it was made, and the fact that it stars real bank robber Al Jennings, it might as well have been. It's very primitive technically––half the time they don't seem to know where to point the camera and they don't even know enough to edit out the shots where the horses relieve themselves––but that just adds to the authenticity. A band of thugs robs a small town bank, leading to an extended manhunt and the inevitable shootout and milling-around festival. The bad guys are eventually hauled out of the Wicheta National Forest and Game Preserve (says so!) and brought back to town to face justice. Not particularly romantic, and there's lots of dirt, but that's probably what the Old West was really like. An Oklahoma Mutoscene Film.

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

Drive-In Movie Double Feature #48 (Sinister Cinema). [Category: Commercial]

This collection of drive-in ephemera has mostly ones that I've seen before. The film quality is better than average, though.


  • Nutrition Alert! Buttercup Popcorn is "nutritious", as always.
  • The "2 minutes to go" snack bar promo features the exact same animated snacks as the earlier alien snack bar promo.
  • The hamburgers in the "Last Chance" snack bar promo look way too much like the donuts, and they both look like they're made of tar.

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

A Prologue to Forbidden Desire (film #2 on Exploitation Mini-Classics, Vol. 1 (Sinister Cinema)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This prologue was made for the wartime rerelease of Forbidden Desire, a 30s exploitation movie about syphilis and prostitution. They try to make the movie seem timely by relating it to a bunch of wartime problems such as the housing shortage and juvenile delinquency. Narration by a gnarled old man is punctuated by scenes from the movie and other scenes which were probably filmed especially for this prologue. It's all quite campy, but the highlight is a scene featuring two "kept women" sitting around in their underwear ("Boy, it's hot! I think I'll shed this," says one immediately upon entering the room), discussing their sugar daddies in derisive terms. It's one of the all-time Greatest Moments in Bad Acting. One of the best items in the Exploitation Mini-Classics series.

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

The Girls and Daddy (Unedited Version) (film #8 on The Origins of Cinema, Volume 4: The Arrival of D. W. Griffith (Video Yesteryear, 1995)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This is the unedited footage for The Girls and Daddy shown in the order it was shot. Even back in 1909 they were already shooting scenes out of order. It's hard to make any sense of the story when it's in this form, but if you watched the edited version right afterward it gives you a good sense of how movies are put together. An interesting historical extra.

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

Better Reading

Better Reading . Teenager Harold Wilson has a problem—he can’t read for (expletive deleted). So he has to spend all his free time studying ...