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Showing posts from August 27, 2006
Motorboat Explosion (film #24 in the Public Info. Films section of TVArk). [Category: Public Service]Brief 70s British PSA that warns motorboat owners to check for gas leaks before setting out. They do this by, as you can guess, showing a boat blowing up real good. Brief, but effective.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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The Aggressive Brown Water in the Tubes of the Professor (film #12 on German Cinema). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Early 70s German experimental film that appears to be about mass apartment evictions, possibly for urban renewal. A middle-aged white man argues with a group of women, possibly about the evictions. This alternates with more experimental scenes, such as a scene of a drawing of the man spewing blood from his mouth. The theme music from Shaft is somehow involved. It’s hard to make sense of this without understanding German, but there are some striking images here.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Apollo 9: Three to Make Ready (film #4 on Open Source Movies). [Category: News]This NASA film documents Apollo 9, the mission that tested the Lunar Module and spacesuits later used in the moon landings. This is told straightforwardly, with few surprises, but in an interesting way nonetheless. There are some lovely images of the earth from space in the film, which also adds to its value. This was an important, but not very exciting mission, so the film did a good job in keeping it from being boring.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
The Battle of the Bulge (film #7 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 covers the Battle of the Bulge, when the German lines bulged outward into northwestern Europe, slowing the Allied advance. The film covers the battle straightforwardly, with lots of compelling archival footage. There’s also an interesting section on the attempts made to allow the beleaguered GIs occasional opportunities for rest and recreation––I would like to see the original films the archival footage was taken from.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Flitful Flashes of First Alarms (film #22 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]This 30s film shows us a great variety of the everyday tasks of New York’s firefighters, from putting out vehicle fires to stopping an ammonia leak to pulling a horse carcass out of the sewer to putting out prank fires kids set on election day. Lots of great scenes of vintage firefighting equipment are in this film, including scenes of old-time steamers. Lots of historical value here, and firefighting fans should find this interesting.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Developing Self-Reliance (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #429 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Eductational]This Coronet film stars Woody from Dating Dos and Don’ts, though it’s not nearly as campy as the other film. Now that he’s got dating under control, his next problem is being too dependent on others, so a teacher gives him a set of simple steps to self-reliance, and soon Woody is so self-reliant he’s taking over whole projects at the Student Council. Of course, the adults responsible for this film didn’t really want teens to “make their own decisions,” or rather, they only wanted them to make their own decisions if their decisions were ones the adults would have made for them. Still, this film is not quite as farfetched as the usual Coronet outing. If we take its premise at face value, the “Steps to Self-Reliance” seem reasonable, though somewhat simplistic. But the teacher even admits that, saying that it takes a long time to develop self-reliance. …
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Cops (film #7 on Feature Films). [Category: Hollywood]Buster Keaton’s snooty girlfriend won’t marry him unless he becomes a rich businessman, so after convolutedly stealing a guy’s wallet, he makes his first big investment, buying a load of furniture off of a con-artist who tells him a sob-story about being evicted. Unfortunately, the furniture actually belongs to a family that is waiting for the movers. But Buster doesn’t know this, so he drives the furniture away in a huge wagon. Eventually, after having some trouble with his horse, he ends up in a policeman’s parade, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he ends up catching a bomb thrown by the local anarchist, using it to light his cigarette and then casually tossing it into the massed policemen. This gets the whole force angry at him, and it all ends with a wonderfully clever chase scene, as Buster takes on and prevails over every cop in town. This is a fun Buster outing, with lots of great off-the-cuff gags, and some amazing stunts tha…
Extraordinary Cab Accident (film #19 on The Movies Begin, Volume Two: The European Pioneers (Kino Video, 1994)). [Category: Early Film & TV]A man gets run over by a horse-and-buggy cab but emerges unscathed due to the magic of special effects. Nya! Fooled ya! A 1903 Robert W. Paul film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Catching an Early Train (film #57 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]A guy gets dressed in the morning with lightning speed thanks to the magic of running the film backwards. It’s fun to watch filmmakers discover all the neat little camera and editing tricks you can play in these early films. A 1901 Edison film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Handbook for Air Raid Wardens (film #6 on WWII V for Victory War Bonds & Rallies Show (Something Weird, 1996)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This training film for air raid wardens and the general public on how to deal with air raids is quite quaint when you consider that the U.S. never had to deal with any. It has a stark, educational-film quality about it that gives it a real wartime feel. It's hard to remember that in the days after Pearl Harbor people were really afraid of being bombed. This is a great wartime relic with much historical interest and a bit of campiness as well.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.