Chaplin - The Masquerader (film #36 in the Silent section of Movieflix). [Category: Early Film & TV]The makers of the film Tootsie stole the plot from this movie. The Little Tramp is, amazingly enough, a movie actor who soon gets fired for behaving like the Little Tramp. He returns to the studio in drag and makes fools of all the men. Chaplin is a most convincing woman in this one, so convincing he might fool you, too. And there are some wonderful slapstick moments here, too, like when he tries to steal another actor's beer. A fun outing for the Little Tramp. A 1914 Charlie Chaplin film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Arrests at HUAC in City Hall (film #2 on Shaping San Francisco). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Brief clip from 1960 of police officers removing protesters forcibly from the steps of San Francisco’s city hall, where House Unamerican Activities Commission hearings were going on. A historically interesting blip from the first rumblings of the 60s protest movement.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value; N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Invitation to the Nation (film #764 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]This 40s travelogue about Washington, DC, narrated by ol’ George himself (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), is pretty standard, with no real surprises. It does provide lots of color footage of Washington in 1946, which gives it some historical value. But mostly, this is ordinary.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.
Alien Factor Blooper Reel (extra on The Alien Factor DVD (Retromedia Entertainment)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Blooper reel for an incredibly cheap monster movie called The Alien Factor. Proof that such films actually are edited! Though this production crew is so incompetent that even the guy with the clapboard bloops twice!
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Beatlemania (film #7 in the British Invasion section of WPA Film Library). [Category: News]Silent newsreel footage of the huge crowds of people, especially teenage girls, that mobbed the Beatles wherever they went. These are scenes that are an unforgettable part of the 60s, so that gives this historical value.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Akron, Ohio (film #125 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Short newsreel clip showing a huge Navy blimp which carries a radar antenna, “a valuable addition to America’s airborne early warning system.” Other than a brief campy moment involving the words “gas bag,” and the msting possibilities of blimps, this is pretty ordinary.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
A Wonderful New World of Fords (film #38 on Ephemeral Films CD-ROM (Voyager). Also in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #1692 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Commercial]This short film introduced to the world the 1960 model Fords. And it's not so much an introduction as a society girl's debut. The three cars are in virginal white and surrounded by rich folks in formal dress singing about the "wonderful new world of Fords". Somebody at Ford was taking the new model year way too seriously. This was made in 1960, near the end of the populuxe era, and so was a kind of swan song for this sort of thing.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Chevrolet Leader News, Vol. 3, No. 3 (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #304 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]This fairly standard edition of Chevrolet Leader News features an ROTC marching band, the first drive-in bank, complete with offensive Italian stereotype, a Boy Scout Jamboree in which the foreign scouts are all fascinated by American cars (yeah, you wish, Chevrolet!), the usual lawsuit invitation in the form of a really strange and dangerous –looking contraption that allows acrobats to swing in circles while on top of a moving car, and the usual animal abuse in the form of dressed-up and made-up performing monkeys. Just a typical day at Chevrolet, I guess.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Bargain Counter Attack (film #5 on Film Chest Vintage Cartoons). [Category: Hollywood]Little Lulu wreaks havoc in a department store, stimulating the ire of its prissy manager. In addition to the general anarchy, this has some wonderful ironic moments, including the manager being transformed into a baby, and the manager floating through the flooded store just in front of a sign that says “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.” Dennis the Menace pales next to Little Lulu!
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Combat Bulletin No. 4 (film #1 on tape #1 of This Film Is Restricted Boxed Set (Marathon Music & Video, 1997)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]The Combat Bulletins of World War II were made by the Army Pictorial Service to inform officers on the progress of the war. In general, they are a hodgepodge of all kinds of military footage from the front, some of it boring, some of it fascinating, some of it typical, some of it highly unusual. All of it is very gritty and real––since these were made strictly for viewing by military officers and not the public, no punches were pulled. We get an uncensored soldier's-eye-view of the war with all its horrors, heroism, and boredom. This one starts with "Cassino", a report on the taking of the Monte Cassino Abbey and the town of Cassino in Italy, a difficult job since the Nazis were heavily entrenched in the surrounding hills. Highlights include lots of animated map sequences and a bizarre shot of a giant Nazi soldier's head looking through binoculars superimposed over a shot of the hills behind Cassino. In "Japs and Jungle: Southwest Pacific" we see gritty footage of infantry soldiers slogging through south Pacific jungles, taking territory from the Japs inch by inch. The highlight is a reenactment of a couple of scared GIs talking in the dark.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***.
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 ...
Autumn on the Farm . Farm kids Joan and Jerry have fun exploring the farm during the autumn in this 1940s EB film. They pick apples, grapes...
Beginning at Plymouth Colony. From the title, this 50s film sounds like it will be a dry historical film about the settlers at Plymouth Co...
Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things . Grade-schooler Andy is a slacker in the taking-care-of-things department, so he suffers t...