Chief Justice Earl Warren’s Tenure on the Supreme Court (film #5 in The Supreme Court section of WPA Film Library). [Category: News]Narrated collection of footage concerning a couple of the key decisions of the Warren court: school prayer and the Miranda decision. These clips are appropriate and fairly informative, and the narration adds context. No real surprises here, but this has some historical interest.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Combat Bulletin No. 36 (film #3 on tape #6 of This Film Is Restricted Boxed Set (Marathon Music & Video, 1997)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This is one of the grittier Combat Bulletins. In "Operations in the Phillipine Islands," we see offshore naval and beach battles near Leyte Gulf. Watch for a ship that bears the large legend "FUBAR." In "Troops Land on Mindoro," we see troops cleaning out captured Japanese strongholds, including some fairly upsetting footage of the body of a Japanese soldier who committed suicide rather than be captured. In "Activities in Italy," we see a flooded-out biouvac. In "Seized German Film on Work Mobilization," we see German newsreel footage of work conscription of the civilian population (I guess you could call this ephemera-within-ephemera). In "First Phase of German Counteroffensive," we see both German footage of soldiers enjoying the fruits of recent successes in the Battle of the Bulge (like American cigarettes), and footage of American GIs clearing out places formerly held by the Germans. In "Stavelot," we see footage of street fighting and civilians fleeing for cover. In "Malmedy," "St. Vith," and "Bastogne," we see more of the same. This Combat Bulletin really gives you a feeling for how long and boring the war was.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Allies Open Final Drive on Germany (film #53 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Newsreel from the last days of the European war showing the Allied advance into Germany. Also included are stories about an intense air raid on a German city and starving American POWs being liberated from a Japanese prison camp. This is pretty grisly stuff for a newsreel. On the lighter side, there are also stories about a southern California rodeo and a vocational rehabilitation program for Canadian veterans, including rather silly footage of would-be barbers shaving balloons. This is a great wartime newsreels and it’s better preserved than most of the others on this site from the war years.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *** (entirely for the shaving balloons footage––the POW and battle footage gets an N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Felix Gets the Can (film #7 on Felix the Cat DVD (Delta Entertainment, 2004)). [Category: Hollywood]Felix goes to Alaska to get fish for dinner and ends up getting canned. This one is pretty ordinary, though it does have some farfetched logical twists and turns, such as Felix getting beaned by a can of salmon and deciding to go to Alaska, instead of just eating the contents of the can. Mostly, though, this is nothing special.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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