As It Was Beckett (film #25 on German Cinema). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This experimental German film seems to feature a middle-aged married couple arguing, though it’s hard to tell for sure because I don’t understand German. They do seem to be having an emotional time of it. At times, the action on screen freezes, but we still hear their voices on the soundtrack, perhaps to convey inevitability. This looks like an interesting film, so I wish I understood the language for this one.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

Death on the Highway (film #6 on Hell’s Highway DVD (Kino Video, 2003)). [Category: Educational]

Excerpt from a really gory driver’s ed film showing such cheery things as cut-off limbs, blood-spattered pavement, and bodies cut in half. This would be really disturbing, except the blood was obviously retouched with bright red paint, which makes everything look fake. The film was obviously very cheaply made, with stark narration and no music. Too bad this is just an excerpt––the full film is probably a camp classic.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

FDR Social Security Act Speech (film #1051 on Open Source Movies). [Category: News]

In this film clip, Franklin Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act and gives a speech about how it will benefit Americans. This has no surprises, but it does have historical value.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

Battle for the Marianas (film #3 on Side A of Disc #2 of the War in the Pacific section of Combat Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2006)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

This documentary covers the battles for the major islands in the Marianas: Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. These were quite bloody battles, and so there’s lots of grisly and brutal combat footage here. This is mainly a combat-focused documentary with lots of historical interest. But if you don’t like watching battles, it’s rather slow going.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

Five Fires (film #1400 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

More spectacular fire footage from around the world. This one gets rather grisly, as it features scenes of dead bodies being taken out of ruins and identified. The aftermaths of several huge fires are shown in some scenes, and some of this footage is quite eerie. Other scenes just show lots of stuff burning up. Again, this is a great film for fire buffs.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

The Exploits of Elaine (acquired through trading). [Category: Early Film & TV]

This early serial is pretty hard to follow, since it's missing several chapters and though it's a U.S. production, some of the chapters are in French. The French chapters have lousy film quality to boot. It's about pretty Elaine Dodge and her attempts to track down her father's killer, mysterious supervillian The Clutching Hand. Helping her is Craig Dodge who appears to be a combination detective, newspaper reporter, and scientist (though I could be wrong about this––it’s kind of hard to tell). It is full of all the action and intrigue you'd expect in a serial, and one episode even includes a death ray. Still, I'm not much of a fan of the form, as you've probably guessed by now. A 1914 Pathe serial.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.

Fireworks – Bandage (film #12 in the Public Info. Films section of TVArk). [Category: Public Service]

70s British PSA in which a mother thoroughly mortifies her little girl by telling a neighbor in detail how she injured her heavily bandaged hand making a mistake with a sparkler. I mean, really, hasn’t the girl suffered enough? Although aimed at parents, I bet this had an impact on kids, if only to avoid embarrassment.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

Argentina

Argentina. Standard geography film about the South American country of Argentina. There’s some historical interest here as you get to see ...