Alabama Jones and the Lost Topping of Doom (film #14 in the Action section of Brickfilms. Also, film #13 in the Comedy section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This very ambitious and well-made brickfilm is not only a parody of the Indiana Jones movies, but also seems to be a parody of contemporary big budget movies in general. There’s a sweeping soundtrack, beautiful graphics depicting the heroes around-the-world journeys, creatively done sets and special effects, sly in-jokes, and even a credit cookies sequence featuring photos of “outtakes.” It all adds up to a film that is quite impressive and entertaining, while still maintaining that cute, do-it-yourself brickfilmy quality.

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

BBC Vote 2001 – The Verdict (film #24 in the News section of TVArk). [Category: News]

Opening credits for a BBC report on the 2001 British election results. These credits are a very well-done montage of scenes of British people with a plane that gives off colored vapor trails flying overhead. Impressive and far more creative and classy than what is usually seen on American tv.

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

Chevrolet Leader News, Vol. 2, No. 4 (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #301 on Prelinger Archive. Also, film #4 on Ephemeral Films CD-ROM (Voyager) (excerpt)). [Category: Industrial]

The biggest highlight of this newsreel features the Voice of Safety, which is essentially a loudspeaker mounted on top of a car, through which the driver yells at other drivers and pedestrians who break safety rules. If this isn't the biggest invitation to accidents, or, indeed, violence, I'll eat my Gallagher "STUPID!" flag. I'm sure we all wish we had one, though. A real jaw-dropper. Other silly stories include a car that tows sunbathers, an amphibious car, and a fireman's cat that slides down poles. There are also some boring stories about oil drilling and model airplanes.

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

Baby Pop (film #5 in the Film section of Bedazzled. Also, film #4 in the Juke Box Movies section of Bedazzled. Also, film #3 in the Scopitones section of Bedazzled. Also, film #3 in the Television section of Bedazzled. Also, film #6 in the Video section of Bedazzled). [Category: Hollywood]

A French female pop singer sings a bouncy pop song, while her backup singers sing in high-pitched, childlike voices. This is not as creepy as it sounds, since they all seem to be pretty young. But the pop singer sure can’t dance––she stands woodenly throughout most of the film.

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

Coast Guard SPARS (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #340 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

This WWII recruitment film for the Coast Guard SPARS program (the Guard’s women’s auxiliary) is full of sexist stereotypes and thus is quite campy. The film tells us that by becoming a SPAR, you take over a man’s job so he can go to sea and blast Axis submarines. The vast majority of the jobs shown take place in offices and involve typewriters, filing cabinets, and huge rolodexes. If you don’t care to work in an office, though, you could dress minor wounds in the dispensary or work in the storeroom! “No, you won’t become an admiral, but you could be the admiral’s secretary,” is an actual quote from the film. I bet that really packed ‘em in to the recruitment offices. Lots of fun and ripe for msting.

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

Beginning of a Skyscraper (film #5 on The Life of a City). [Category: Early Film & TV]

A bunch of construction workers work on the foundation of a skyscraper. This was back in ought-two (nineteen ought-two to you whippersnappers!) when they did darn near everything by hand. So you see lots of shovels and picks and horse-drawn wagons. It’s amazing those buildings got built back then. A very short piece of construction history. A 1902 Biograph film.

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

Beechnut Sour Stripe Gum (film #9 in the Saturday Morning 1966 section of TVParty). [Category: Commercial]

Silly, campy commercial for Beechnut Gum featuring The Sour Stripe, a superhero character a la Captain Keds. This is quite fun and very 60s.

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

A Coach for Cinderella (film #529 on Open Source Movies). [Catetory: Sleaze & Outsider]

I guess they couldn’t find enough public-domain cartoons to interpret for the deaf kids––they had to pad out their line with industrial films. OK, this is basically a cartoon, but it was made by Jam Handy to advertise Chevrolets. The interpretation is rather intrusive in this one, and you get the feeling that parts of the original cartoon were cut out. Still, the concept is strange enough to make this worth watching. I love the Modernizer, of course, but comments about that will have to wait until I review the original film.

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

Shake Hands with Danger (track #6 on Best of A/V Geeks I DVD (A/V Geeks). Also, track #8 on The Educational Archives, Volume Four: On the Job DVD (Fantoma, 2002). Also, film #4 on Sound of Centron DVD (A/V Geeks)). [Category: Industrial]

This safety film for contruction maintenance workers is very well-made and looks like it might have been effective for its audience. Various repairmen working on big contruction equipment ignore safety rules and get into various mishaps, some close calls and some gory accidents. Instead of attributing these safety violations to the vague rubric of "carelessness" like so many other films, this film actually points out some of the psychosocial factors involved, such as machismo, overconfidence, pressure to get the job done fast by supervisors, and being distracted by troubles at home. The situations are quite believable and well-acted. The accidents are rather hard to watch because the gore is very realistic and you never know in any situation whether you're going to see a close call or somebody's hand being cut off or something. The film has a catchy country music theme song that will make you smile.

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