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Showing posts from May 21, 2006
The Adventures of Captain Marvel Trailer (extra on The Adventures of Captain Marvel DVD (Artisan Home Entertainment, 2003)). [Category: Commercial]This trailer starts off with a bang as God (or somebody who looks like Michelangelo’s version of God) explodes and we see “SHAZAM!” in a cool font. And the rest of it is pretty lively, with hyperbolic assertions, goofy costumes, unlikely cliffhangers, and bad guys being thrown into balsa wood furniture aplenty. Serials are often better in trailer form, since they leave out the boring parts.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Aroused Trailer (extra on The Zodiac Killer DVD (Something Weird, 2003)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Lurid, yet well-made trailer for the 60s sex slasher flick Aroused. This is fairly disturbing, yet it has campy moments as well, such as the assertion that it should not be seen by anyone under psychiatric care, a claim that’s sure to bring in all the psychos out there. The movie was probably not nearly as good as this trailer.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
The Knesset (film #21 in the General section of the State of Israel section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Public Service]This 50s Israeli film shows how the Knesset, Israel’s parliamentary governing body, works. Unfortunately, it’s in Hebrew, so it’s hard to follow. Even from the standpoint of not knowing the language, this appears to be a well-made and informative film, containing lots of footage of the Knesset in action, as well as various government workers doing their jobs. Some of the parliamentary discussions shown become quite heated. I wish I understood Hebrew with this one.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
The Andy Griffith Show #2 (film #2 on Side A of Disc #8 of TV Favorites DVD Megapack). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Cute, charming story involving a bunch of dogs and a state inspector who will determine if the Sheriff’s Department qualifies for new funds. This is typical Andy Griffith fare, with a number of amusing Barney moments.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
EBC1 – Grandstand of Sport (film #2 in the Sport section of TVArk). [Category: News]Attention Pythons: I’ve spotted a genuine British looney in the form of the host of this sports show. I was expecting a dull sports intro, as I hate televised sports. What I was not expecting was a manic bird puppet, a giant banner being pulled by a bicycle, and a set inspired by the set of “Shenanigans”. Which, of course, gives this a much higher rating than any conventional sports show would have.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ***** (this has to be preserved in some form!). Overall Rating: *****.
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Battle Rages Along Nazi Wall (film #84 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Newsreel clip from World War II reporting on the Allied drive across Europe towards Germany. Also included is another story about the drive across France. This is quite straightforward, with some grisly scenes of dead bodies in places.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Eleventh Hour (film #8 on Cartoon Scandals (Goodtimes, 1987). Also, film #112 on Feature Films. Also, film #26 on Film Chest Vintage Cartoons. Also, film #35 on Disc #4 of 150 Cartoon Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2005). Also, film #15 on V for Victory WWII Cartoons & Shorts Show (Something Weird, 1996)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]No wonder we won World War II––we had Superman on our side! Clark Kent and Lois Lane are interred in Yokohama and Superman uses this opportunity to sabotage the Japs right and left. But that dumb Lois Lane still doesn't get it! A fun little piece of propaganda.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Facts on Friction (film #498 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]This 30s Jam Handy film tells us way more than we want to know about how brakes work and why Chevrolet breaks are the best. It’s very straightforward and didactic, with the narrator getting way too excited about friction at various points. There’s little of the usual Jam Handy wackiness here, but it does teach you about brakes and give you some great visuals of streets and highways in the 30s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Barnyard Bunk (film #22 on 50 Cartoon Classics DVD. Also, film #5 on Disc #3 of 100 Cartoon Classics DVD Magapack (Treeline Films, 2004). Also, film #5 on Disc #1 of 150 Cartoon Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2005)). [Category: Hollywood]Dick and Larry, who are indistinguishable from Tom and Jerry (the other Tom and Jerry), show a broken-down farmer how to increase agricultural production with jazz music. This involves lots of weird incongruities, cartoon mince, and, yes, singing and dancing inanimate objects. This is a very tooney 30s cartoon, which, though not great, is thoroughly likable.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Frosty the Snowman (track #26 on Chicago Television (Hollywood's Attic, 1996). Also, film #3 on ToonTracker Cartoon Showcase). [Category: Hollywood]This is just a cheesily-animated Castle Films portrayal of the Christmas song. Frosty has a slightly epileptic manner, but for the most part, this is harmless.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
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Buster and the Dude (film #49 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]Buster Brown, despite his sissy clothing, was actually an early version of Dennis the Menace (who was an early version of Bart Simpson, for all you whippersnappers); i.e. a kid who could be counted on to wreak havoc wherever he goes. In this episode, Buster meets a dandy walking a dog in front of a hat shop. While the dude chats politely with some ladies, Buster gets his dog into a rousing battle with his own dog, Tige. Eventually, the dude’s hat gets into the melee––oh, the horror! A charming early version of the younger generation creating anarchy in polite society. A 1904 Edison film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Adam’s Rib Trailer (extra on Adam’s Rib DVD (Warner Bros.)). [Category: Commercial]This trailer for the 40s romantic comedy Adam’s Rib is not nearly as clever as it thinks it is, but the movie has enough class that it’s not totally stupid either. Meaning it’s not as interesting a piece of ephemera as it might be. Follow that?
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Control Your Emotions (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #376 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]A rather bogus-sounding psychologist lectures us on the benefits of emotional control. His arguments are based on behaviorist theory, but he is seemingly ignorant of the fact that behaviorism, in the simplistic fashion that he uses it, undercuts his arguments because it’s so mechanistic and deterministic. For instance, he says emotions are based on “stimulus-response patterns,” hitting his knee at the reflex point to illustrate this. But if emotions were that automatic and involuntary, we wouldn’t have any control over them at all. But I’ll forgive him for that because he has the coolest audio-visual aids ever: bricks that say “RAGE,” “FEAR,” and “LOVE,” and a big round black piece of cardboard with the word “PERSONALITY” written on it in plastic letters. These great props would have a place of honor in the Film Ephemera Museum of Quirky Devices, right u…