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Showing posts from July 17, 2005
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Bicycle Safety (film #2 on AV Geeks). [Category: Educational]Dry Centron bicycle safety film containing rules, rules, and more rules for riding your bike. There are a few amusing moments of examples of what not to do, and the overall environment is very representative of 50s suburbia, but mostly this is pretty tedious.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Boston Blackie (film #6 on Side A of Disc 5 of TV Favorites DVD Megapack (Treeline Films, 2003)). [Category: Early Film & TV]Episode of an early 50s crime show based upon a radio program. Detective Boston Blackie helps an old ex-con friend of his beat a robbery rap really committed by his brother. This is standard crime show fare, and rather cheaply done as well, though Blackie’s black fenderless convertible is cool.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Angels with Dirty Faces Trailer (film #1 on Disc 1 of The Adventures of Robin Hood DVD (Warner Bros., 2003)). [Category: Commercial]Fairly standard trailer for the gangster pic Angels with Dirty Faces. No surprises here, but it is representative of the trailers you might have seen in a theater when The Adventures of Robin Hood was playing.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
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Adland: McDonald’s Commercial (film #8 on Media Burn Archive). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Another clip from Adland, this one showing us the filming of a McDonald’s commercial. The guy who plays Ronald McDonald is interviewed, as well as the director of the commercial and the man in charge of the campaign. They are shown enjoying their work, and viewing this type of advertising as subtle and sophisticated. This is not quite as strange as the Adland clip featuring Mason Reese, but it’s still fairly interesting.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Bus Nut (film #6 on AV Geeks). [Category: Educational]A little girl is a “bus nut”––that is, she’s obsessed with the school bus and following all the safety rules. Amazingly enough, this doesn’t get her beaten up by the other kids. This is a very 70s film, with all the right enlightened 70s casting choices. The main character is African American, the kids are different races, and the bus driver is a woman. Other than that, this could be a 50s film in its heavy-handedness and unrealistic portrayals of children (at least the “good” ones––the “bad” ones seem pretty real). And the acting will make you wince. Making this a fairly campy blast from the 70s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Don’t Run (film #16 in the Public Info. Films section of TVArk). [Category: Public Service]Very brief 70s PSA that purports the interesting idea that you shouldn’t run down the street and around a corner, because construction workers actually do walk around with huge plates of glass for people to run into, just like in every slapstick comedy you’ve ever seen. A curiosity.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ****.
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Abracadabra (film #20 in the Comedy section of Brickfilms. Also, film #4 in the Music Video section of Brickfilms. Also, film #5 in the Sci-Fi section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]A Lego guy does a really bitchin’ magic act until the Alien Police arrive and arrest him for practicing magic without a license. The makers of this film probably got busted by the Brickfilm Police for using––gasp!––PLAY-DOUGH for the alien heads. I’ll forgive it, though, because it is a genuinely funny film with several good lines, an easily impressed Lego audience, and cute alien heads.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Breakfast Time Special: Zeebrugge Tragedy (film #1 in the News section of TVArk). [Category: News]Opening of a BBC special report on a 1987 Belgian shipwreck. This is most interesting for the programs the clipped British announcer says are being preempted: a gambling show and a children’s program! Other than that, this is ordinary.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Circular Panorama of Electric Tower (film #39 on American at Work, America at Leisure. Also, film #65 on Edison Film Archive. Also, film #2 on The Last Days of a President. Also in the Historical section of Open Video Project. Also, film #6 on The Origins of Cinema, Volume 1: The Films of Thomas Edison (Video Yesteryear, 1995)). [Category: Early Film & TV]Surrounding the electric tower is a lot of striking neoclassical architecture. I wonder how much of it still stands. A 1901 Edison film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Air Forces Come Home via Bomber (film #37 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Wartime newsreel featuring stories about airmen coming home from Europe after V-E day, though only to train and prepare to go to the Pacific; Secretary of State Stettinius proclaiming the Four Freedoms; Herbert Hoover being consulted by Truman for advice on distributing food to war-torn Europe; a one-armed baseball player; and grisly fighting on the island of Okinawa. Apart from the one-armed ballplayer, this is pretty standard wartime fare.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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A Coach for Cinderella (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #339 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]Not satisfied with just fooling around with newsreels (see the endless permutations of Chevrolet Leader News), Chevrolet had to go and make a cartoon, too. Actually, this is pretty charming. It features a bunch of elves from the wrong fairy tale who decide to help out Cinderella by making her a coach from a pumpkin, a turtle shell, some caterpillars, and lots of other stuff from the forest. They assemble the coach in a way suspiciously similar to an automobile assembly line. Then they put it into a great contraption called a “Modernizer”, and out comes––wait for it––a brand new Chevrolet! This could pass for one of the many fairytale-themed cartoons made during the 30s, and its advertising message is not too heavy-handed. Making this one of the more fun examples of the industrial genre.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest:…
Combat Bulletin No. 24 (film #2 on tape #3 of This Film Is Restricted Boxed Set (Marathon Music & Video, 1997)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This is mostly about the Allied advance in Germany. In "Channel Coast Activities", the Army Air Corps bombs German merchant vessels in the English Channel. In "Ordinance Repairs", tanks are repaired (that's it, really). In "German Frontier Operations", several U.S. armies advance across the German frontier. In "Additional Film Airborne Operations", more paratroops and supplies are dropped on Holland. There's an interesting little clip from a camera strapped to a paratrooper's chest (making you want to shout "Jane! Stop this crazy thing!!"). In "Toulon Harbor Installations", we are shown various captured German installations near Toulon, Italy. In "Invasion of Palau Islands", we see Air Force and Naval footage of said invasion, including footage of bombi…
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Be Good to Me (film #1 in the Film section of Bedazzled. Also, film #3 in the Video section of Bedazzled. Also, film #1 on Scopitones). [Category: Hollywood]Petula Clark sings a pop ditty that urges her lover to be good to her. She sings this while riding in a boat towing a male waterskier. Then she goes to the wharf and hangs out with the fishmongers. OK, the ditty is cute and sincere, but the visuals in this Scopitone make you wonder what is really going on in this relationship.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Bicycle Clown (film #2 on AV Geeks). [Category: Educational]A boy poorly narrates the story of his younger brother Jimmy, a kid who clowns around on his bike in order to impress his peers and thinks safety rules are for sissies. Since this is a Sid Davis film, he is punished for this by getting into an accident which results in him getting gauze wrapped around his head, his arm in a sling, and being confined to a hospital bed. Jimmy’s brother becomes obsessed with finding out why this happened, even though it’s obvious from the beginning that Jimmy is an idiotic daredevil. This is one of the tamer Sid Davis films, though.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Why Play Leap Frog? (film #3 on An American Retrospective Through Animation (Moviecraft, 1994). Also, in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #1681 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]What plays leap frog are wages and prices in a capitalist economy, as this film patiently explains to its Meet King Joe-like hero, an employee at the Dilly Doll Company who gets upset after getting a raise and then finding out the price has gone up on his own company's product (this must have been the days before employee discounts). The explanation given for inflation is that labor costs so darn much. Essentially, the doll's higher price is directly attributed to worker Joe's raise, a depressing message to the workers this film was aimed at. But a way out is presented in the form of technology––advances in manufacturing technology increase productivity and this supposedly keeps wages ahead of prices. I don't know much about economic theory, but this seems awfu…
A Bolt of Lightning (film #2 on Side A of Disc 1 of Historic Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2005)). [Category: Early Film & TV]Charlton Heston stars in this “Studio One” Revolutionary War drama. It tells the story of Boston attorney James Otis, who tried to have writs of assistance, which were documents that allowed hired goons to break into people’s houses and perform destructive searches on a whim, declared illegal in the colonies. The bid is unsuccessful because the judge is in the governor’s pocket. Not only that, but the governor sends his hired goons to beat up Otis, who ends up with a serious head injury. This was supposed to have made him crazy, but it really only seems to slow down Heston’s overbearing performance a little bit. Anyway, the people get fed up and go to war, Otis helps them out a bit, they win, and Otis dies of the title bolt of lightning. This is not too bad for live drama done on primitive sets, but I’m guessing the better “Studio One” ep…
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Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy Trailer (film #2 in the Movie Trailers section of Bedazzled). [Category: Commercial]Standard-issue trailer for Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. Some mildly amusing moments from the film, as well as some hyperbolic ad lines, are included. Mostly this is ordinary, though.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Evicted to the Poor Farm by Her No-Good Son-in-Law (film #1 in the Our Gang on TV section of TVParty). [Catgegory: Hollywood]Clip from a 1929 Our Gang short, in which Grandma is threatened with being sent to the poor farm by her son-in-law, who swindled her out of her money. This causes the Gang to attack the man, knocking him to the floor and beating on him en masse. This is not something you’d see in films today. The beginning of the clip, which sets up the situation is incredibly tear-jerking, while the battle with the kids is just plain bizarre. A great example of the weirdness of the Our Gang series.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Adland: Dagne Crane, Mason Reese (film #7 on Media Burn Archive). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Clip from a 1972 underground film about the people involved in making television commercials, featuring a pretty actress who says she does it because she’s a masochist, and Mason Reese, cute, chubby-cheeked star of many 70s commercials. You may not remember his name, but the minute you see him, it will all come rushing back to you. Off-camera moments reveal him to be way more world-savvy than any 7-year-old ought to be, making fun of the product and carrying on like any self-involved adult star. A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the commercial section of TV Land.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Bus Driver (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #264 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]Straightforward Encyclopedia Britannica film for kids about drivers of long-distance buses. We see a boy and his father go on a long-distance bus ride, and a narrator explains what is happening. About as gripping as, well, a long-distance bus ride.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
Amber Gambler Twins (film #2 in the Public Info. Films section of TVArk). [Category: Public Service]British safe driving PSA on a “We have met the enemy and he is us” theme. An “amber gambler” is somebody who thinks the yellow light means “accelerate so you can beat the red light,” instead of “prepare to stop.” One such bloke gleefully amber gambles until he meets another amber gambler that bears a striking resemblance to…d’oh!! Mildly amusing.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
About a Different Door (film #18 in the Comedy section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]This response to About a Door proves that some things really are what they seem to be. Mildly amusing, though it could be funnier.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
Children Digging for Clams (film #11 on The Movies Begin, Volume One: The Great Train Robbery and Other Primary Works (Kino Video, 1994). Also, film #11 on The Art of Cinema Begins (Video Yesteryear, 1997) (titled "Children Fishing for Shrimp")). [Category: Early Film & TV]So are they digging for clams or fishing for shrimp? I call shrimp. Another children's picture-book image. An 1896 Lumiere film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.