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Showing posts from October 2, 2005
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Buffalo Police on Parade (film #22 on America at Work, America at Leisure. Also, film #39 on Edison Film Archive. Also in the Historical section of Open Video Project). [Category: Early Film & TV]This is your standard police parade, similar to Policeman’s Parade, Chicago. Watch for the smoking guy who has to run off to make room for all the cops. What, besides smoking, has he got to hide? An 1897 Edison film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
The Avenger Trailer (extra on Hercules Against the Moon Men/The Witch’s Curse DVD). [Category: Commercial]Fairly standard trailer for what looks to be one of the classier sword-and-sandal movies. Agnes Moorhe––uh, sorry, Steve Reeves fans should enjoy this. Others will find it pretty ordinary.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Charley – Strangers (film #3 in the Public Info. Films section of TVArk). [Category: Educational]Short, animated British film reminding kids not to go off with strangers. A little boy is lured by a strange man at the park to go look at his “puppies.” He almost goes, but luckily his cat Charley reminds him that this is not a good idea. Too bad most kids don’t have such superintelligent pets. This is charming and cute, though.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ****.
Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde Trailer (film #8 in the Blaxploitation section of Bedazzled. Also, film #7 in the Film section of Bedazzled. Also, film #8 in the Trailers section of Bedazzled. Also, film #8 in the Video section of Bedazzled. Also, extra on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde DVD (Kino Video, 2001)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Very silly trailer for what was probably a very silly, though violent movie, Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, the blaxploitation version of the Robert Louis Stevenson tale. This mainly involves the African-American hero getting his face all made up in ghostly makeup and wearing googly contacts before he goes out and kicks peoples’ butts, instead of just kicking butt without cosmetics. Narrated entirely in rappin’ rhyme, and actually contains the line, “Don’t give him no sass or he’ll kick your ass!” Lots of fun.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Soul Quotient: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
Including This Long-Running Promotion for Reading and Libraries (film #6 in The Good Captain section of TVParty). [Category: Public Service]Charming animated PSA on the benefits of reading, showing how it opens up a wider world. This fits well with the “Captain Kangaroo” theme that frames it, and has a simple, nurturing quality, like the good captain himself.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Ambush (film #7 in the Action section of Brickfilms. Also, film #9 in the Drama section of Brickfilms. Also, film #1 in the War section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Very short, black-and-white brickfilm of several snipers encountering each other. I’m sure that one encounters this kind of situation in combat all the time, but that doesn’t mean we want to see it done in Lego bricks. Although it does have a twist en––WAHH!!
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
The Count of Monte Christo (Video Yesteryear, 1996). [Category: Early Film & TV]This is really hard to follow if you're not familiar with the Alexandre Dumas novel it's based on. Part of the reason is the poor-quality print––peoples' faces are washed out, so it's hard to tell them apart, and it's practically impossible to read the letters that appear in the film (and many of them are important to the plot). But it seems to be a standard revenge tale. A man is unjustly imprisoned due to the machinations of three jealous comrades. He spends years digging his way out of his prison cell, only to find he's dug his way into the cell of another prisoner. This other prisoner promptly dies, but not before giving our hero a treasure map of the island of Monte Christo. And his death gives our hero the opportunity to escape by substituting himself for the corpse in the body bag. He ends up getting to Monte Christo and aquiring the treasure, and then returns home and sp…
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Civilian Conservation Corps (film #11 in the 1929 Stock Market Crash and Great Depression section of WPA Film Library). [Category: News]Silent newsreel footage of CCC crews building accommodations at national parks, with striking scenery in the background. At the end, there’s a sound clip of FDR having dinner with the boys and cracking mild jokes. This is a good historical clip that gives you an idea of what the CCC was all about.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Combat Bulletin No. 42 (film #2 on tape #7 of This Film Is Restricted (Marathon Music # Video, 1997)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]In this last Combat Bulletin of the set, you can tell that the war is winding down. In "Meeting of Allied Leaders," we see footage of the famous meeting of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin at Yalta. In "Nazi Shipping Attacked Along Norwegian Coast," we see aerial footage of sea battles off the coast of Norway. In "New Air Crew Oxygen Bottle," resourceful GIs figure out a way to improvise a larger oxygen tank for use when crew members must repair the plane while at an altitude requiring oxygen (repair work requires more oxygen than piloting). In "St. Nazaire Truce for Civilian Evacuation," trains carry French civilians out of St. Nazaire, which is still held by the Germans. In "Capture of St. Vith," the workings of a captured German mortar are shown. In "Boots Improvised to Fight Trench Foot,&qu…
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America Not Secure Against Brute Force, Says Cordell Hull (film #57 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Newsreel clip from 1940 featuring Secretary of State Cordell Hull telling us that recent disturbing developments in Europe justify a beefing up of American military might. This predates American superpower status, and considering the events to come, it was probably justified. The film itself is rather dull, though, being Hull just reading his speech to the camera.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
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Countdown Leader, Technicolor Corporation (film #1812 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]A good example of a countdown leader, bringing you back to the days of 16mm projectors, and having to synch up sound with picture and making sure that the film is threaded correctly so you don’t get that sprockety sound. Lights!
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Focus: A bit off. Overall Rating: ****.
Felix in Hollywood (film #1 on Felix the Cat DVD (Delta Entertainment, 2004)). [Category: Hollywood]Felix gets money for his owner to go to Hollywood by helping a bankrupt shoe store owner to sell his shoes by dropping wads of gum all over the street, so that people will get their shoes stuck in them. His owner, the ingrate, announces that Felix will have to stay home while he goes to Hollywood, so Felix masquerades as the man’s carpetbag so he will get taken along. In Hollywood, he meets animated versions of various silent screen stars, such as Charlie Chaplin and Ben Turpin, and gets his big break by helping a guy who was being tormented by some vicious mosquitoes. Again, this is a wonderfully weird, fun Felix, with shapeshifting and star cameos to boot.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
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Comic Strip (film #32 in the Film section of Bedazzled. Also, film #6 in the Juke Box Movies section of Bedazzled. Also, film #6 in the Music section of Bedazzled. Also, film #6 in the Music Video section of Bedazzled. Also, film #6 in the Scopitones section of Bedazzled. Also, film #6 in the Serge Gainsbourg section of Bedazzled. Also, film #21 in the Television section of Bedazzled. Also, film #69 in the Video section of Bedazzled. Also, film #18 on Scopitones). [Category: Hollywood] Bizarre French Scopitone that appears to involve a male singer singing about, and to, a sexy female super hero, who provides the sound effects. The art direction in this is really cool, with balloons with cartoon sound effects painted on them and trippy cinematography. Those French sure have a sense of style.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
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Buffalo Fire Department in Action (film #21 on America at Work, America at Leisure. Also, film #38 on Edison Film Archive. Also in the Historical section of Open Video Project). [Category: Early Film & TV]We get to see a bunch of firemen rushing off to a fire, and this back in the days of steam-powered, horse-driven fire engines! This is a great image of something that no longer exists, which is what I really like to see in these early films. An 1897 Edison film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Attack of the Crab Monsters Trailer (extra on Attack of the Crab Monsters DVD (Allied Artists)). [Category: Commercial]Campy, fun trailer for the 50s sci-fi flick Attack of the Crab Monsters. Plenty of hyperbolic claims and cheesy special effects in this one. Watch for the scene where a guy in BVDs gets crushed by a giant crab claw. Fun, like most 50s sci-fi trailers are.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Amos ‘n’ Andy Cartoons (film #3 in the Amos ‘n’ Andy section of TVParty). {Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Clip from one of a number of cartoons made in the early 30s based upon the radio show “Amos ‘n’ Andy.” The characters are drawn in a very stereotyped way, but mostly this is typical Amos ‘n’ Andy stuff. Still, it’s a lot more offensive when animated this way. Bet these toons don’t see the light of day too often.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
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The Long Street (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #851 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]This 50s film profiles the Salvation Army in California and attempts to convince the viewer to contribute to its Redevelopment Fund, a fund for expanding its facilities to meet the increased need for services caused by a population boom in California at the time. This is done very straightforwardly, focusing on showing all the different social services provided by the organization, and keeping the religious posturing to a minimum. This was probably wise, as it needed funds from as many quarters as possible, and not all of those quarters would totally agree with its religious philosophy. It actually comes off as fairly impressive and not campy at all, though I do like their giant $7,000,000 tambourine.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Also Thwacked Zarathustra (film #30 in the Comedy section of Brickfilms. Also, film #5 in the Music Video section of Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Millions of minutes ago, at the dawn of Lego, Lego monkeys were terrorized by a Lego T-Rex, until one of them finds a monolith made of Legos, and…well, I won’t give away the ending. This send-up of 2001: A Space Odyssey is a must for all brickfilm fans.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
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City Gold Rush Starts (film #126 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: News]Brief newsreel story from the early 30s about gold being struck on a farm outside of Cincinnati. This, as you can imagine, causes a local epidemic of gold fever, which is reported breezily by the narrator. A slice of life from the desperate days of the Depression.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Allies Sign Control Law for Germany (film #55 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This newsreel from the days after V-E Day features stories on Allied generals dividing up control of post-war Germany, American soldiers touring Hitler’s private mountain hideout, General Patton visiting President Truman, a highly dangerous-looking technique for clearing fog from airports that involves burning gasoline, Norway celebrating its independence from Nazi domination, GIs going on R & R in Venice, and a government plea for private citizens to stay off trains and buses so that troops returning from Europe can be moved to the Pacific as soon as possible. There are no real surprises here, but it is historically interesting.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Copper Mining and Smelting (film #379 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]This is, as you might suspect, a straightforward film about how copper mining and smelting is done. It’s actually pretty interesting considering its dry subject, since it sticks to the basics and doesn’t dwell too much on technical details. Fans of explosives will enjoy the scenes of ore being blown up real good with dynamite, and fans of hell will enjoy the scenes of the fiery furnaces. Unfortunately, the print is not in very good condition, being dark and hard to see in a lot of spots. Still, that makes the scenes of molten copper even more dramatic. And it has a cool ending card, with “The End” over streams of molten copper, making you think the end of hell is at hand.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
The Cautious Twins (film #8 on The Educational Archives, Vol. 8: Social Engineering 201 DVD (Fantoma, 2003). [Category: Educational]This cheesy, limited-animation educational film features Doreen and Dan, two squeaky-clean, perfect Gallant-inspired kids who always do what they’re told. Unfortunately, they live in a neighborhood where there are child molesters on every block, offering candy, rides, and puppies. They are even forced to have one of these creepy guys sit between them at the movies. Of course, since they are perfect, they scream bloody murder and run away from all of them. And they never go into the super-scary alley of doom. The cheesy limited animation, organ soundtrack, and rhyming narration make this a camp classic.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.