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Showing posts from July 9, 2006
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The Big T.N.T. Show Trailer (film #70 in the Film section of Bedazzled). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Trailer for one of those mega-concert movies they were so fond of making during the 60s. This one features a wide assortment of artists from Petula Clark to Ray Charles to the Byrds to Bo Diddley. And is that Frank Zappa in the audience? A fun blast from the 60s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Mental Hospital (film #915 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]This 50s film, made by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health, tries very hard to make its state mental hospitals look friendly and not intimidating, but it doesn’t wholly succeed. It tells the story of Fred Clanton, a guy who began to believe his wife and brother-in-law were conspiring against him. He is committed to the state hospital in short order by a judge, where he is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and given insulin shock treatments. He gets better eventually, begins to participate in the hospital’s recreational therapy programs, gets a hospital job as a groundskeeper, and eventually gets to go home, where he is no longer suspicious of anyone and is grateful to the hospital for his treatment. Much is made of the hospital’s facilities, which are all huge and institutional. Much is also made of the therapeutic benefits of patients working at various jobs at the hospital, enough so that you start …
Havana-Madrid Show (film #646 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Hollywood]There's Latin rhythms aplenty on this lively series of two soundies featuring Maya's Pan-American Orchestra. The first features a floor show Ricky Ricardo would have been proud of and the second features the lady from Fiesta Soundie singing about Cuban Pete, the King of the Rhumba Beat. Get out your maracas and prepare to rhumba, folks!
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
All the Kind Strangers (film #2 on Side B of Disc #7 of All Stars Collection DVD Megapack (Treeline Films, 2004)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]This 70s TV movie features Stacey Keach as a guy who picks up a little boy on a lonely country road and ends up in a creepy farmhouse with a family of parentless kids who, with the help of some guns and vicious dogs, force him and a woman who stumbled upon them earlier to be their “parents.” The movie manages to create a suitably creepy inbred feeling, yet it never quite comes up with anything really scary, in that TV movie wimp-out fashion. The basic concept is compelling, yet it doesn’t really seem to be well thought out. The kids seem to want parents, even in the sense of having them discipline them, yet they can’t have that and be in charge as well, which also seems to be the case. The ending is schmaltzy and unrealistic, but what do you expect? The movie is drenched in 70s clich├ęs, including a musical interlude where we hear a 70…
Election 2005 – ITV News (film #13 in the News section of TVArk). [Category: News]Opening credits for 2005 British election night coverage on ITV News. More fancy graphics, more breathless pronouncements, and a even a Swingometer! Still, this is nothing that we haven’t seen before.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
The Air War (film #6 on Side A of Disc #2 of the War in Europe section of Combat Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2006)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This documentary chronicles the air war in Europe, especially the US involvement in it. There’s lots of great archival footage here of air battles and briefing sessions of air corps units. The narration is somewhat disjointed, but the visuals here tell the real story, and it’s a compelling one.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Fire Dept. Demonstrations (film #1393 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]Various firefighting methods and devices are demonstrated in this silent firefighter’s film from the 1920s. Fans of fire, firefighting, and squirting water should like this. I liked the cool model 10-story building they used in one segment and want it for the Film Ephemera Museum of Quirky Devices.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Dating Do's and Don'ts (film #7 on Exploitation Mini-Classics, Vol. 1 (Sinister Cinema). Also, film #7 on Mental Hygiene (Blast Books). Also in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #399 on Prelinger Archive. Also, film #25 on Ephemeral Films CD-ROM (Voyager) (excerpts)). [Category: Educational]A classic of film ephemera, not least for its title. Woody (stop that sniggering!) has the hots for Ann, so they go on a nice wholesome date to the Hi-Teen Carnival and have a swell time. They also show us what not to do on a date. Lots of mileage has been gotten from clips from this film. A less well-known section I think is worth mentioning is the part where Woody decides who he is going to ask on his date. He considers two other girls before Ann––one is rejected for being too snobbish, while the other is considered to be "not much fun". But you can't help but get the feeling that they are actually being rated according to social standing––the first bei…
Carousel Boreal (film #1 on The Cameraman’s Revenge and Other Fantastic Tales (Film Preservation Associates, 1993)). [Category: Hollywood]A bear and a rabbit, who are obviously in love, ice skate and frolic in a winter scene, interacting with various other animals and a strange snowman. Eventually spring comes, and the scenery changes, along with the animals they interact with. Not much plot here, but the puppet animation is delightful to watch, with lots of neat little details and wonderful characterization.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (film #1 on Side A of Disc #12 of Historic Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2005)). [Category: Early Film & TV]This episode of the drama series “Climax!” is an adaptation of the Mark Twain novel. It looks like they had to cut out a lot to fit this into a 60 minute TV drama, but what remains is a fairly exciting and fun story, involving Huck escaping from his drunk and abusive father, going down the river on a raft, meeting a couple of con artists calling themselves the Duke and the Dauphin, and foiling their plans to steal the fortune of a young woman he’s acquainted with. Considering this was live early TV drama with minimal sets, this was pretty well done, with John Carradine giving a rousing performance as the Duke. This also contains the original Chrysler commercials which introduce “The Forward Look” in car design. These are great fun, featuring stilted interviews with ordinary drivers, an animated calypso sequence, and the intro…
The Big Valley (film #7 in the 1966 ABC Fall Preview section of TVParty). [Category: Commercial]Fairly standard promo for the western soap opera “The Big Valley”. Though it claims the show is in color, the promo is in black-and-white. This has some historical interest, but it’s pretty ordinary.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
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Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Trailer (film #91 in the Film section of Bedazzled). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Campy, over-the-top trailer for the exploitation flick Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. No clip is longer than a few seconds and the narrator throws so much groovy lingo at you, he sounds like he’s totally winging it. Fun, but actually not surprising given the film it was advertising.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
An Englishman's Trip to Paris from London (film #16 on The Origins of Cinema, Volume 6: Rare Films (Video Yesteryear, 1997)). [Category: Early Film & TV]An English tourist sees the sights of Paris and we get to see his home movies. Still, as these are home movies from 1904, they're pretty interesting historically. A 1904 Hepworth film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Mayor La Guardia Opens Red Cross Drive (film #318 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Public Service]Mayor La Guardia urges, no, commands all New Yorkers to join the Red Cross in a voice that could peel paint. Then he signs a proclamation to that effect and hands it to Miss Red Cross, a nurse wearing one of those cool old nurse’s uniforms. A blip from charity solicitations of the 30s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Formal Japanese Surrender (film #3 on disc #2 of Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 DVD)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Newsreel coverage of the formal Japanese surrender on V-J Day, ending World War II. It's pretty much what you'd expect, though it's also an important historical document.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Ants on a Banana (film #35 on Open Source Movies (in “100 Second Film Festival Entries”). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Some ants crawl on a banana while we overhear one side of a phone conversation. The conversation might have to do with a breakup, so there may be some symbolism involving the ruined banana, but mostly this elicits a “huh?”
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Election 2005 – BBC News (film #12 in the News section of TVArk). [Category: News]Opening credits for British election night coverage in 2005 on BBC News. This is dramatic and slick, but mostly pretty ordinary.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Africa: Our First Offensive (film #5 on Side A of Disc #1 of the War in Europe section of Combat Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2006)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This documentary about the first US invasion during World War II may have been recently produced, though it’s kind of hard to tell. It does contain lots of great archival footage of the invasion of North Africa, as well as production and transport of war materials on the home front. The story is rather starkly told, without background music, but it goes into quite a bit of detail, giving this historical interest.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Happy Days (film #14 on The Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection, Vol. 1 DVD (Image Entertainment, 1999)). [Category: Hollywood]A bunch of kids buy an old clunker car from a con-artist for 50 cents and it gives them a fair amount of adventure. The highlight is when they stop at a gas station and order the runt of the bunch (who they call "Pinhead”) to fill the tires with the air hose. Pinhead uses an air hose from a device marked "HELIUM––FOR DIRIGIBLES ONLY" (another item for the Film Ephemera Museum of Quirky Devices!). This, of course, causes the car to fly. Other than that it's an ordinary, mildly amusing cartoon.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.