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Showing posts from February 26, 2006
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Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (Stills) (film #14 on SabuCat Movie Trailers). [Category: Commercial]Watch the other trailer for Beneath the 12-Mile Reef first. This one will make you appreciate the first one’s Cinemascope underwater vistas, as it only has cheap-looking illustrations of underwater vistas, not even actual stills from the film! The 14-year-old boy in all of us will snicker at the trailer’s claim of “The Most Awesome Underwater Climax Ever Filmed!” Cheesy and therefore fun.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Black Rocks of Chorazim (film #1 in the Rural Settlement and Security section of the State of Israel section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]This early 60s film documents the building of an Israeli settlement on a site that once held an ancient civilization. It’s narrated in Hebrew, so it’s a little difficult to follow, but it seems to cover the same ground of most films of this type: hard work, bringing forth new life from the desert, and ending with a celebration. A fairly typical Spielberg Archive film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
The Essence of It All (film #9 in the Health section of the State of Israel section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Public Service]This 60s film documents the work of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, a huge hospital serving patients of many nationalities and cultures. This is told very idealistically and touchingly as a story of people helping people. The film has a very Jewish feel to it, using a variety of Jewish narrators and regularly invoking religious ideals. It could have been maudlin, but apart from a section on handlicapped children which is hard to watch by today’s standards (a toddler who is paralyzed from the waist down is referred to as “half a baby”––this gives you an idea of the tone of this section), it’s actually quite touching and not overdone. The multicultural content of the film is ahead of its time, giving the film a lot of historical interest.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating:…
The Flying House (film #10 on Animation Legend Winsor McCay DVD (Lumivision, 1997)). [Category: Hollywood]A woman, after eating too much rarebit, dreams her husband put a huge gasoline engine in the attic and transforms their house into a flying machine. They fly all over and have lots of strange adventures, including blocking a smokestack, destroying a dome, being attacked by an outer space giant while attempting to land on the moon (the giant is much bigger than the moon––now that's some giant!) and having the house destroyed by a rocket shot out of a giant space gun. Winsor McCay does it again––this is beautifully animated and lots of fun to watch, combining a great script with beautifully-drawn imagery, especially the backgrounds. Highly recommended.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Alien (Audio Commentary) (extra on Monster Kid Home Movies DVD (PPS Group, 2005)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]The commentary track for this second film called The Alien features the filmmaker giving us some idea of the process he went through to make the film, including the fact that it had a total of three actors (so there was really only one fat guy––this was not obvious in the original film) and that he actually played one of the victims as well as the alien at one point. This actually makes the film seem a little bit more impressive, though the commentary is also quite funny as well.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Early Films Whose Titles Make Them Sound Pornographic, but They Aren't

Airy Fairy Lillian Tries on Her New Corsets
Aunt Sallie’s Wonderful Bustle
The Bangville Police
The Dandy Fifth
Discharging a Whitehead Torpedo
The Doctor’s Secret
The Exploits of Elaine
Fat and Lean Wrestling Match
Fatty’s Spooning Day
Fatty’s Suitless Day
Foxy Grandpa and Polly in a Little Hilarity
Freight Train Fun in Camp
A Frontier Flirtation
Fun in a Bakery Shop
The Gay Shoe Clerk
A Gesture in Hester Street
A Girl’s Folly
Going Through the Tunnel
Grandma and the Bad Boys
Gussie’s Wayward Path
The House with Closed Shutters
How a French Nobleman Got a Wife Through the New York Herald Personal Columns
How Jones Lost His Roll
Interrupted Lovers
Love in a Hammock
Love, Loot and Crash
Maude’s Naughty Little Brother
The Messenger Boy’s Mistake
The Old Maid Having Her Picture Taken
The Stenographer’s Friend
Tom Tinker’s Pony Patter
Trapeze Disrobing Act
Treloar and Miss Marshall, Prize Winners at the Physical Culture Show in Madison Square Gard…
The Civil War (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #328 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]Straightforward, rather dry film on the Civil War made by Encyclopedia Britannica. Actually, this is a little bit better than you might expect given the low budget I’m sure they had to work with. Some attempt is made to get an emotional feel for the material. Mostly, though, this is the typical Civil War stuff you learned in school.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.