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Showing posts from May 22, 2005
The Dicktator Trailer (film #48 in the Trailers section of Movieflix). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Really stupid trailer for a really stupid 70s sex comedy about a world crisis of male sterility, which, of course, turns all women into nymphos. Gives you an idea of how silly many of the X-rated films of the 70s were, though that’s not saying that they’re any more intelligent today.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Keep Australia Beautiful #2 (film #121 in the Cult section of TVArk). [Category: Public Service]Another “Keep Australia Beautiful” PSA from Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor Who. This one is not quite as much fun as the other one, as it plays more to the kiddie audience, and it’s not quite as much in character with Baker’s Doctor. Still, I enjoy the idea that the Doctor is heading to earth to work on Australia’s pollution problems, though with him on the job one wonders how much the audience thinks it really needs to do about it.
Ratings:Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Africa – A Tribute to Humankind (film #251 on Open Source Movies). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]This film is a montage of footage from 30s documentaries about Africa, with world music on the soundtrack. The footage is mostly of either animals or the practices of tribal peoples. Much of it is quite striking, and the music adds a sort of dreamlike quality to things, allowing you to just sit back and enjoy the footage. It makes for an interesting, rather mesmerizing viewing experience, though I think it’s a bit overlong. Still, those with a particular interest in Africa will probably enjoy this, as long as they’re not expecting commentary to go with the visual images.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Automobile for Cross-Country Travel Devised (film #123 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: News]Newsreel story from the 30s about a newly-invented German car that can drive over roadless country. This is fun to watch, but for some reason, the narration is in German, despite the fact that this was an American newsreel. That makes the clip weirder than it might otherwise be.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Air Army Invades Germany (film #131 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Newsreel clip from World War II documenting several stories from the last days of the European war, including paratroops invading Germany, the capture of Coblenz, the development of a new French plane under the noses of the Nazis, and the 101st Airborne Division being decorated for bravery in the Battle of the Bulge. This has a lot of historical interest, especially the part about Universal’s cameraman in the story about the capture of Coblenz. I know I often wonder about the cameraman when watching such battle footage, and it’s great to see his bravery credited for once.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Childish Quarrel (film #15 on The Movies Begin, Volume One: The Great Train Robbery and Other Primary Works (Kino Video, 1994). Also, film #15 on The Art of Cinema Begins (Video Yesteryear, 1997)). [Category: Early Film & TV]Two overdressed babies fight over a spoon. This film would influence home movies for years to come. An 1895 Lumiere film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Choosing a Classroom Film (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #317 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]This film was made by McGraw-Hill for teachers in order to encourage them to use films in the classroom. It features a guy talking at the camera about the various purposes classroom films can be used, such as “to develop interest” or “to change attitudes.” This would be dull as dishwater, except 1. the guy has uses lots of great signs and visual aids; and 2. he shows clips from various McGraw-Hill films, including that classic of child mind-control, Manners in School. These two factors make the film a great deal of fun and very mstable, plus the fact that this is another example, like Technicolor for Industrial Films, of an ephemeral film about ephemeral films.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Combat Bulletin No. 22 (film #1 on tape #4 of This Film Is Restricted Boxed Set (Marathon Music & Video, 1997)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This bulletin documents the push across France and Belgium into Germany. In "Operations in France" we are shown lots of street fighting and bombing. In "20,000 Germans Surrender", the most interesting segment, we are shown footage of an actual surrender procedure, as a large German unit surrenders to Americans in France. The actual surrender ceremony is shown and we also get to see huge piles of weapons and other war materials that the Germans turn over to the Americans. In "New Flying Bomb Launching Site", we're shown detailed footage of a German V-1 Flying Bomb launcher that was recently captured by the Americans. In "Allies Move on Germany", we see some of the first footage of ground fighting on German soil. In "British 2nd Army", the British advance through Beligium toward Ger…
Big Bad Sinbad (film #18 on Film Chest Vintage Cartoons). [Category: Hollywood]Popeye takes his nephews (Just what is it with those nephews anyway? They seem more like clones than nephews. Check out the tattoos on their forearms…) to the Nautical Museum where they encounter a statue of Sinbad that looks suspiciously like Bluto, with the legend “THE GREATEST SAILOR IN THE WORLD.” Naturally, Popeye cannot let this assertion stand, so he tells a tall tale about how he whupped Sinbad’s ass (in a matter of speaking). This tale, of course, has little to do with Sinbad, and everything to do with Popeye, including cameo appearances from Olive Oyl and Wimpy. This cartoon is rather ordinary, but it does have some fun moments, including the stuff that Bluto, er, “Sinbad,” knocks out of Popeye’s pockets before he has a chance to eat his spinach.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ****.
U.S.A. Today (film #9 on Lifestyles, U.S.A., Vol. 1 (Something Weird, 2000)). [Category: Industrial]Industry! Building a better tomorrow! And to distribute the fruits of that industry we have trucks! Big ol' International Harvester trucks! More trucks than you can shake a stick at! More trucks than ever before! Seriously, if you love trucks, then this is definitely your movie. Made during the 50s, it contains more trucks from that period than you will probably ever see in one place in any other film. The advertising art on many of these trucks is quite fun and cool. Oh, and did I mention that the film is about trucks?
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Bombardment of the Taku Forts by the Allied Fleets (film #32 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]Some ships pull up to a fort and begin shooting at each other. OK, folks, this looks for all the world to me like it was staged with model boats in front of a backdrop, but the page about it on the Edison Film Archive doesn’t confirm this, just calling it “an exciting naval battle”. So I leave it up to you the reader: Gripping Documentary Footage or Some Guys Playing with Toy Boats? You decide. A 1900 Edison film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
Eats Are West (film #8 on Felix the Cat DVD (Delta Entertainment, 2004) ("A Felix Comic"). Also, film #2 on Felix the Cat, Vol. 1 (Video Resources, 1994)). [Category: Hollywood]Felix the Cat is really cool. Who else do you know that can make an airplane out of a 2 x 4 and some exclamation points that appear above his head when he's surprised? In this cartoon, our master manipulator of reality is hungry and broke, so he goes to the Old West to get something to eat and runs afoul of some gunfighters. Lots of great Felix moments ensue, like him fashioning a horse from a lasso, stealing a bunch of pancakes from the image on a billboard (and running afoul of Aunt Jemima), and hiding behind a stick-figure tree. Watch out when the lights go out, though! Like I said, Felix is cool.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Astro-Zombies Trailer (extra on The Astro-Zombies DVD (Image Entertainment, 2000)). [Category: Commercial]Highly campy, hyperbolic trailer for The Astro-Zombies, a movie that looks like its really really bad. Not only does it feature the title creatures “running amuck” but there’s a mad scientist whose “motives are entirely evil”, and it starts John Carradine, always a sign of quality! It’s a bit gory in spots, but mostly this is a great deal of campy fun.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Black Heat (film #35 in the Trailers section of Movieflix). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]It doesn’t get any baaaaddder than this trailer for a 70s blaxploitation flick, featuring a private dick who’s a sex machine to all the…well, you get the idea. Obviously made for angry black men. Brings back the 70s with a vangance.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Keep Australia Beautiful #1 (film #120 in the Cult section of TVArk). [Category: Public Service]Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor discovers from a alien disembodied voice that Australia is going down the tubes due to pollution. He helps out by doing a PSA telling everybody to “Keep Australia Beautiful.” The video quality of this is terrible, but as usual, watching Tom Baker is a delight. I wonder if I throw trash around here if he’ll come to visit me.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Amazone (film #16 in the Action section of Brickfilms. Also, film #17 in the Comedy section of Brickfilms. Also, film #9 in the Drama section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]A plane crashes in the jungle and the survivors have run-ins with a man-eating dinosaur and some hostile natives. Some of the scenes would be gory and upsetting if they weren’t happening to Lego guys, such as when the dinosaur eats one of them. If you want action in a brickfilm, though, this is the one for you––much of it is quite exciting. The dialogue is not in English, so it’s hard to know what they’re saying, but in this action-packed film, it doesn’t seem to matter. Not bad, but some of it is slightly incoherent.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
As World Watched: Spaceman Hailed After U.S. Triumph (film #1 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: News]Newsreel story about astronaut Alan Shepard being given a medal by President Kennedy and honored in a parade after his historic spaceflight. This has a minor gaffe in it, as Kennedy forgot that he was supposed to pin the medal on Shepard after giving his speech about it. He handles it with his usual humorous aplomb after Jackie reminds him. Unfortunately, this clip is in very creaky condition, so this is hard to see and hear, and that cuts down on its historical value.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Building a Highway (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #262 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]Do you have a little boy who is fascinated with construction equipment? If so, he should thoroughly enjoy this film, which explains in very simple terms how highways are built and shows lots of cool heavy machinery. All others will find it a dry, boring EB film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Advance on Rome (film #136 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Newsreel stories from World War II documenting the invasion of Rome and the bombing of Berlin. These have historical value, but unfortunately, the print is so dark you can barely see things. This cuts down considerably on the value of this newsreel clip.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Chevrolet Sales Convention Musical (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #1807 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]Apparently, the way to inspire car salesmen to really go out and sell is to show them a Broadway-style musical on that theme, or so it was in the 50s at Chevrolet. This singing and dancing sales pep talk gives you a real feel of the corporate culture at Chevrolet at the time, though what it actually says about it I don’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole. Rogers and Hammerstein these guys ain’t, though they sure try hard. As you might guess, this is tremendously campy and could be used to torture folks who like to think they’re cool. It’s rock and roll that killed this sort of thing––whether or not it was murder or justifiable homicide is up to the viewer to decide.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
The Child Stealers (film #22 on The Origins of Cinema, Volume 6: Rare Films (Video Yesteryear, 1997)). [Category: Early Film & TV]A couple of raggedy beggars go around stealing children, though for what purpose is not clear. Eventually they are brought to justice when a child they use in their begging scam is recognized by his parents. Lots of scenes of mothers wailing and gnashing teeth after turning their backs on their children for just a minute. A 1903 Gaumont film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Axe for Turkeys (film #1 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Hollywood]Silent newsreel clip from the early 30s featuring a whole bunch of turkeys running to be fed, then running away from a guy sharpening an axe. Animal distress seemed to be a main source of humor during the 30s. I’m glad we’ve made a little progress with this since then. The images of the turkeys are fairly striking, though.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Boers Bringing in British Prisoners (film #31 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]A bunch of soldiers on horseback escort a bunch of weary-looking soldiers on foot, presumably the prisoners. A slice of the Boer War, though not a particularly interesting one. Still, we don’t have much of a filmed record of this war, so that gives it some historical interest. A 1900 Edison film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Assignment Outer Space Trailer (extra on Assignment Outer Space DVD (Alpha Video, 2003)). [Category: Commercial]Fairly campy and hyperbolic trailer for Assignment Outer Space, an early 60s film about space travel. This is actually pretty typical of trailers for films of this type, though the cheesy special effects are fun.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Dick Whittington’s Cat (film #527 on Open Source Movies). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]This sign-language interpreted cartoon has extensive interpretation that explains the whole story, despite the fact that the story is mainly told visually, with little dialogue. If your deaf kid needs extensive help to follow a narrative, then I guess this is the cartoon for you. I would suspect that at least some deaf kids wouldn’t need this much help, though. The interpretation is straightforward and tells the story fairly accurately, though.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
Combat Bulletin No. 21 (film #2 on tape #2 of This Film Is Restricted Boxed Set (Marathon Music & Video, 1997)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This one mostly documents mopping-up efforts behind the retreating enemy. Lots of bridge-building, cleaning up after enemy explosions of buildings and materiel, meeting happy civilians, and final skirmishes with the last vestiges of the retreating enemy. The segments are entitled "Mediterranean Progress in Southern France", "Activities in Italy", "Bridge Over Salween River", "Pacific: Cleanup at Aitape", "E.T.O.: Northern France and Belgium" and "American 3rd Army", but they're all pretty much the same deal in different locations.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****, Overall Rating: **.