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Showing posts from July 11, 2004
Attack in the Pacific (film #2 on disc #1 of Pearl Harbor: Before and After DVD (Triton, 2001)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This film documents the war in the Pacific, particularly the long slow journey of the Navy from island to island, and how they provided support for the soldiers fighting to take each island from the Japanese. This is informative and historically interesting, but it’s pretty straightforward with no surprises. Some of the battle footage is pretty gritty. Fans of battle footage will like this; others, probably less so.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
A Buckaroo Conversation After a Morning’s Work (film #12 on Buckaroos in Paradise). [Category: Industrial]The cowboys rather tersely discuss problems they had rounding up the cattle. This is definitely a real slice of life in all its gritty glory, no scripts here.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
The Adventures of Kit Carson – Wild Horses of Pala (film #12 in the Classic TV section of Movieflix). [Category: Early Film & TV]In this episode, Kit and El Torro negotiate with an Indian tribe to buy wild horses on their land for the army, but they have to contend with a traitor in their midst who wants to steal the money the army gave them for the horses and stampede the horses. This is pretty ordinary, but it does have its exciting moments.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
Another Beech-Nut Product, 5-Mint Gum (film #8 in the Saturday Morning Commercials section of TVParty). [Category: Commercial]60s teens frolic on the beach in this bouncy commercial for Beech-Nut 5-Mint Gum. Very 60s, in that beach-party-movie way.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Olio for Jasper (film #5 on George Pal Puppetoons (Loonic Video)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]That scarecrow guy that keeps getting Jasper in trouble wants Jasper to give him his snowglobe, so he tells an incredible sob story about his life. Man, this one is weird and it just keeps getting weirder and weirder as the story goes on. I love the “time marches on” sequences featuring Father Time, but I’ve never seen him on a pogo stick before. That’s just a sample of what I’m talking about here. This is one weird cartoon.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: *****.
Fatal Floor (film #10 in the Public Info. films section of TVArk). [Category: Public Service]This British PSA discourages housewives from placing throw rugs on slippery, polished floors, lest mishaps occur. OK, folks, I know this is a serious safety issue, but I can’t help laughing when the woman’s son-in-law takes a pratfall offscreen, shouting “Waa!!” as if he had taken Being Hit on the Head Lessons.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Ad Astra (film #55 on Open Source Movies). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]This well-made science fiction short is a bit hard to follow, but it does create a compelling and disturbing mood. It involves a man on a future, dried-out shell version of Earth who manages to arrange to go to a colony planet under false pretenses. Other than that, I’m not sure exactly what happens, though the ending is rather gruesome. Still, the mood created makes you want to view the film over and over and think about it until you get it. It’s technically very well done for a low-budget film posted to Open Source Movies. The music especially is great. This director has some definite talent and potential.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ****.
Advance of Health Insurance 1912-1945 (film #175 on Open Source Movies). [Category: News]This is newsreel footage with narration documenting the rise of the idea of national health insurance in the United States. Footage from Teddy Roosevelt’s, FDR’s, and Truman’s administration is shown. This is pretty straightforward, with a few interesting images here and there.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Atomic Guided Missiles (film #1 in the 0800052 Armed Forces Special Weapons Project section of DOE Nevada). [Category: Military & Propaganda]In this short clip from a military film, several different types of atomic guided missiles are shown taking off. If you want some stock footage you can use after a scene of the President pushing the red button, here it is.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Buckaroo Clay Taylor Makes Up His Bedroll at the Black Ridge Camp (film #14 on Buckaroos in Paradise). [Category: Industrial]We get to see a cowboy make up his bedroll, which consists of many layers, including a sleeping bag and something that just might be a buffalo robe. On the outside is a canvas cover that hooks closed, and then the whole thing is rolled up. It looks heavy. Cows moo in the background.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Beginning to Date (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #198 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]This Encyclopedia Britannica film is livelier than most EB films, probably because it covers a classic genre: dating. The film features a bunch of junior high school kids going to their first dating party. Unlike most films of this type, the kids seem very realistic––they vary widely developmentally in both physical appearance and emotional maturity, which is typical of this age group. The most entertaining couple is George and Mildred. Although their names make them sound like senior citizens (and they probably are today), George is a classic case of delayed puberty (he looks and talks like he's about 9 1/2, tops) while Mildred is charmingly shy and awkward, as well as being a full head taller than George. The film contains both many moments of realistic junior high behavior (one boy fails to pick up his girlfriend from the bathroom because he's bus…
The Adventures of Kit Carson – Widow of Indian Wells (film #11 in the Classic TV section of Movieflix). [Category: Early Film & TV]In this episode, Kit and El Torro investigate why a town has been spared the rash of robberies that have infected the territory around it. Lots of skulking in this one, and the ending is somewhat unsatisfying.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
The Alamo (film #5 in the John Wayne & Television section of TVParty). [Category: Commercial]Trailer for the epic film The Alamo that John Wayne produced and starred in. This is pretty ordinary, but the context provided by the accompanying article makes it more interesting.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Nudist Fashion Show (extra on The Beast That Killed Women/The Monster of Camp Sunshine DVD (Something Weird, 2001)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]In this short, nude women model furs in a nudist camp. I say you can’t have your nudism and fur coats, too. Of course, I don’t buy that this is a real nudist camp, since all the models are slim-waisted, buxom, and have bouffant hairdos and too much makeup. Realism was most likely not the point here, though.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Eyesight When Driving (film #9 in the Public Info. Films section of TVArk). [Category: Public Service]Standard British PSA urging older drivers to get their eyes checked. They make a valid point that many drivers obsessively check over everything in their cars, but go for years without getting their eyes checked. This is pretty ordinary in execution, though.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: **. Overall Rating: **.
Act Two (film #17 in The Carol Burnett Shows section of TVParty). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Act two of “Eunice” finds Philip home after publishing a best-selling novel, and finding his family just as dysfunctional and clueless as ever. Anybody who’s ever felt out-of place in his or her family should really be able to identify with this. Again, this is intelligent and funny.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: *****.
Apollo, Segment 6008 (in the Documentary section of Open Video Project). [Category: News]The digitizer makes another laughable goof-up in this otherwise boring clip about supersonic flight. At least she makes a vague attempt to fix it this time. Perhaps the boss was looking.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ****.
Atomic Bomb Delivery (film #1 in the 0800051 Armed Forces Special Weapons Project section of DOE Nevada). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This clip features a pilot’s eye view of dropping an atomic bomb. You get to see the bright red button being pressed, the bomb falling, and the huge explosion on impact. Then there’s a rundown of the various kinds of planes that can drop a-bombs. Even though the clip is brief, there’s something disturbing about it that makes it memorable.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Brighter Day in Your Kitchen (film #251 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]Ah, now this is the kind of film I love––a cheesy housewife film hawking food products! This film, sponsored by Beatrice Foods, showcases the Beatrice Foods Test Kitchen, which is just like an ordinary 50s kitchen, except it contains a laboratory any mad scientist would be proud of and the women in it get paid to cook. However, in all other ways it tries to be as much like a home kitchen as possible, right down to having Dick York around to be the requisite teenage boy with an appetite like an entire army, who spends his time stealing freshly-baked cookies, crashing the clubwomen’s test luncheon after he’s already eaten a full meal at the workingmen’s test dinner, and hitting up on any teenage daughters the clubwomen drag along to the luncheon. This is really like a filmed recipe booklet (another obsession of mine), containing disgusting-looking meals, Jell-O molds, a housewife in an all-metal 50s kit…
Boys Sailing Boats, Tuilleries Gardens, Paris (film #5 on Pioneers of the French Cinema (Hollywood's Attic, 1996)). [Category: Early Film & TV]Boys in Buster Brown suits sail elaborate and pretty cool-looking toy sailboats in a pond in a public park. This almost looks like a scene from a children's picture book––you expect Madeline to show up eventually.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
The Adventures of Kit Carson – Thunder Over Inyo (film #9 in the Classic TV section of Movieflix). [Category: Early Film & TV]This is another one of the better Kit Carsons. Kit and El Torro help a little girl with a will to her father’s mine protect the mine from claim jumpers. The little girl is cute, though her acting could be better, but the scenes of Kit and El Torro interacting with her are genuinely touching. And I got really caught up in the story, which takes some surprising twists and turns.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Addams Family (film #15 in the Cigarette Advertising on TV section of TVParty). [Category: Commercial]Bumper from “The Addams Family” that features the Dutch Masters singing their memorable jingle about the joys of cigar smoking. TVParty gets docked 5 points, though, for digitizing this so tiny you can hardly see it.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Nude Ranch (extra on The Beast That Killed Women/The Monster of Camp Sunshine DVD (Something Weird, 2001)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]This 30s film features women in skimpy, partially-topless Western outfits playing badminton, ping-pong, and horseshoes, while a male voice sings about chickens. I’m not sure what the point of this is supposed to be. OK, I do know what the point is supposed to be––ogling and female objectification––but this is much weirder in execution than it is in concept.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Expedition and House Burning (in the Educational section of Open Video Project). [Category: Public Service]Silent footage of natives engaging in a complex cultural practice that culminates in the burning of a grass house. This is obviously one of the “Apa Tani” films, but beyond that, I know little about what’s going on. A woman who appears to be a white female anthropologist appears in this one, but she’s no help. I sure wish I had some context in which to put these striking images of native culture.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: **** (gets docked a star for lack of context). Overall Rating: ***.
Hey Folks! It's Intermission Time, Vol. 2 (Something Weird). [Category: Commercial]This one is not quite as much fun as some of the others in this series, as it focuses mainly on holiday messages and still ad cards for movies, which are usually pretty dull. Still, it has its moments, and you drive-in and walk-in movie ephemera buffs will still find it a valuable addition to your collections.
Highlights:
Nominations for the Bucky Beaver Hall of Evil: 1. Opera Night gets in for concept alone. 2. Two Vespas, two twins. Here's where the evil begins!
"Warning to All Sourpusses! Stay Away from This Theatre!"
Hell Is for Heroes stars Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, and Bob Newhart. Now that's a cast of exciting people!
Most Selfless Public Service Announcement Award: Goes to a spot urging theatergoers to sign a petition to prevent cable tv from coming to their local communities. The spot calls it "pay tv" and says "soon you may have to pay for tv p…
Act Three (film #18 in The Carol Burnett Shows section of TVParty). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]In this segment from “Eunice,” Eunice argues with Mama about her own drinking after her divorce. Again, this is well-written and funny. Kudos to TVParty for preserving bits of this little-known special.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Apollo, Segment 6007 (in the Documentary section of Open Video Project). [Category: News]This clip from a NASA film documents Apollo 16 and 17, the last of the Apollo missions. There’s some rather poorly-preserved footage of men on the moon here. Somebody put a lot of effort into these NASA Air & Space Reports––it’s too bad they weren’t better preserved.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Atomic Blasts (film #1 in the 0800042 Atomic Blasts – Operations Greenhouse Through Upshot-Knothole section of DOE Nevada). [Category: Military & Propaganda]The title card says this clip is silent, but DOE Nevada added a peppy version of “The William Tell Overture” to the soundtrack, so you don’t have to experience things blowing up real good in silence. Seriously, these a-bomb blasts produced awesome images.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Bright Young Newcomer (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #250 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]In this training film for office managers, a conflict flares up between Joan, a newly-hired employee with lots of new ideas, and Betty, a long-time employee who designed many of that office’s procedures. Joan has some helpful suggestions about how the filing system could be changed, but Betty resents the upstart’s criticism of “her” filing system, which she thinks “has always been good enough up to now.” The office manager, Mr. Barnes, has to figure out how to resolve the issue, which he allowed to escalate by taking no action up to this point. The film ends without resolution, like the other films in this series, posing the discussion question, “Why is Betty resisting new ideas?” The answer, of course, is that Betty, as well as the other “girls” in this office, has been treated with absolutely no respect, even though the film makes clear that she ess…
MST Scrapbook (Best Brains, 1995). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Msties won't want to miss this long tape of ephemera from "Mystery Science Theater 3000". The show's history is well-covered, from the pilot on Minneapolis station KTMA to the first Conventio-Con Expo-Fest-a-Rama in 1994. There's lots of stuff you won't find anywhere else, such as scenes from the KTMA pilot, home movies of the Brains building a new set just after getting the contract with the Comedy Channel, and scenes of them writing and taping the Santa Claus Conquers the Martians episode. Highlights include Trace ad-libbing about hanging himself while building the set (and Joel and an intern playing along), and Frank doing a really embarrassing dance number in a tight-fitting leotard during the Conventio-Con (and asking people backstage afterwards, "I didn't look silly, did I?"). Ephemera fans will want to check out a PSA the Brains did for the Red Cross which features t…
Cartoons Go to War (A & E Home Video, 1995). [Category: Military & Propaganda]I was disappointed by this tape when I first bought it because I though it would be a collection of wartime cartoons. It isn't––it's a documentary about the toons made during World War II. As documentaries go, though, it's not too bad, and it does contain tons of clips from wartime cartoons (even some toons made by Disney, which are really hard to find otherwise), animated segments of military training films, and even a few newsreel clips about the toon studios doing their bit for the war effort. It also contains lots of interview footage from directors, animators, and artists of the time period. Still, I wish they had included at least a few complete cartoons.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***.