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Showing posts from September 10, 2006
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The Clash on Rock Revolution (film #58 in the Video section of Bedazzled). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]The Clash rock out “I’m So Bored with the USA” and “London’s Burning” in this televised concert footage. You can barely hear them sing over the screams of the crowd, but they project so much energy it doesn’t matter. A great punk relic.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
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National Drinking Game PSA (film #31 on AV Geeks). [Category: Public Service]Middle-aged people at a wild, drunken party are seriously bummed out by the National Drinking Game, which is actually an assessment test for alcoholism. From the looks on their faces, I’d say most of these partygoers are alcoholics, which is no surprise, frankly. Would that it be so easy to break through denial in real life.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Holiday Greetings, 1941 (recorded off of Turner Classic Movies). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Lewis Stone extends heartfelt holiday greetings to the boys over there. Since this is a theatrical short designed to be shown over here, it's hard to know whether or not they got the message.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
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Antipode Polychromasia (film #3 on Open Source Movies). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]This experimental film is similar to Anomalies of the Unconscious, involving exposed film that has been hand-colored and altered to create abstract images. Again, this has beautiful abstract imagery and a haunting soundtrack which seems to match the imagery perfectly. Another mesmerizing experimental film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ****.
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Fight Rages on Wallace Appointment (film #185 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: News]40s newsreel reporting opposition in Congress to the appointment of Henry Wallace as head of the Commerce Department. This is typical political wrangling and speechifying. Also included are stories on the need for more WACs to assist nurses in army hospitals, military and diplomatic bigwigs visiting various places, a fire at a navy pier, a father of triplets inventing a device that gives them their bottles simultaneously, and the invention of a new buzz bomb. The WAC story has some interesting footage of nurses which may have been taken from another film, and the baby-feeder story is pretty silly. Other than that, this is a very ordinary 40s newsreel.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Blast Berlin by Daylight (film #100 on Universal Newsreels). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This wartime newsreel documents the first Allied air raids over Berlin. Some great footage of pilots bantering in front of their decorated planes is shown. Also include are stories about the humane treatment of German prisoners of war in the US, Brazilian fishermen retrieving rubber from a sunken German ship, Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Douglas MacArthur making goodwill trips, a successful air raid on Saipan, and the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York. This is a great wartime newsreel that gives you a good snapshot of different happenings during the war years. Unlike most of the WWII-era newsreels on the Universal Newsreels site, this is very well preserved.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Hoose-Gow (film #3 on Monsters We've Known and Loved (Creepy Classics)). [Category: Hollywood]This early silent Laurel & Hardy short features the pair getting sent up the river to the big house. We feel sorry for them, but we should feel sorry for the prison––after all, there's no bad situation L & H can't make lots worse, and they do in their inevitable slapstick fashion. It all ends with a big rice-glop fight (it's a long story). What this has to do with monsters, I don't know, but it's lots of fun.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Easy Does It! (film #14 on Cultoons, Vol. 1: Ads and Oddities DVD (Thunderbeam Animation, 2004)). [Category: Industrial]Joe loves Ann. Ann loves Joe. Joe and Ann want to get married. Problem: Ann’s father’s grocery store is failing, and the mortgage holder, evil Mr. Squeeze, is threatening to foreclose on it unless Ann agrees to marry him. Joe, who works as a stockboy in the store, believes that all is lost until Easy, the Stokely-Van Camp sprite, visits him and shows him how he can increase the store’s profits by stocking Stokely-Van Camp products instead of the UK (Unknown) Brand of canned goods the store had been trying to sell. This animated film for grocery store owners is a true delight. It has just about everything I like to see in an ephemeral film: a supernatural sprite character who comes to help out the main character, singing and dancing food items, housewifey footage, and lots of scenes of 40s grocery stores and grocery products in glorious, garish color. Highlights inclu…
A Cowboy Needs a Horse (film #6 on Disc #2 of Disney Rarities DVD (Disney, 2005)). [Category: Hollywood]In this 50s cartoon, a small boy has a dream about being a cowboy and fighting various bad guys. This is a charming toon made in the 50s modern style, with no dialogue, just the title song on the soundtrack. I particularly like the beginning sequence, where a giant pencil draws all the things the boy needs to be a real cowboy (horse, rope, spurs, etc.), as well as the ending, where the items are all erased in turn. A great example of 50s modern style animation.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Caltrans Photolog Sample (film #6 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]You may find this silent driving footage to be oddly familiar-looking if you took driver’s ed in high school. That’s because this is film from the driving simulator, circa mid-80s. Only it’s as if the person operating the simulator was putting the pedal to the metal. Landscapes, small towns, curvy mountain roads, roadsigns––everything whizzes by at top speed. This has a slightly trippy feel after awhile, especially the curvy mountain roads, which seem to undulate sensually under their own power. Normally, I don’t review films in the educational category that are more recent than 1980, but when I found out that this was a simulator film, I just had to have it in my collection.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Dining Together (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #439 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]Extremely stiff and cheaply made manners film from the 40s that teaches kids proper table manners for Thanksgiving. They couldn’t afford synchronized sound, so all you hear is cheesy piano music and slow stiff narration, using the collective “we” a lot, such as “We like having good table manners.” Fortunately, this kind of obvious mind-control strategy is a complete washout with kids––otherwise, we’d all resemble the living dead in such films as A Date with Your Family. Brain-deadening.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Central High School Gymnastic Drill (film #35 on America at Work, America at Leisure. Also in the Historical section of Open Video Project). [Category: Early Film & TV]Boys dressed in leotards demonstrate vaulting, boys dressed in shirts and ties show us their stuff on the parallel bars, while girls dressed in priceless-looking bloomer uniforms rock back and forth on a seesaw-ladder contraption. This has a wonderful turn-of-the-century feel to it, as well as being very well preserved. A 1904 Biograph film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Blood and Sand Trailer (film #19 on SabuCat Movie Trailers). [Category: Commercial]Trailer in glorious Technicolor for the 40s big-budget bullfighting movie Blood and Sand. If you want the Hollywood version of Spain and bullfighting, then this is your trailer. If you want to see beautiful costumes and sets from Hollywood at its peak, then this is also your trailer. Personally, I’d rather watch Bully for Bugs. Like most SabuCat trailers, this is remarkably well preserved.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Bob Dylan & the Band, Isle of Wight 1969 (film #15 on Bedazzled. Also, film #10 in the Video section of Bedazzled). [Catgory: Sleaze & Outsider]The Band performs the song “The Weight” in this live footage from the Isle of Wight concert. This is one of my favorite songs of theirs, so it’s fun seeing it live. The shaky camerawork and murky lighting make me think this may be a bootleg film––it sure looks like it was filmed by a member of the audience. Despite the title, Dylan is nowhere to be found in this clip.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Driven to Kill (film #456 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]Lowell Thomas narrates this mawkish driving safety film. He tells us the story of Hal, a nice guy and solid citizen, except when he’s driving. Hal drives like a jerk and eventually causes an accident that kills the other driver. Thomas makes a lot of emotional hay with this, but somehow I doubt the film had much impact on jerky drivers. The film is very similar to many other driving safety films of its time, with little to make it stand out, other than Thomas and the shameless overacting of the woman who plays Hal’s wife.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
The Eyes of the Mummy (Hollywood's Attic, 1996). [Category: Early Film & TV]This version has its title cards all in German, so it's a little hard to follow if you don't understand the language (like I don't), but eventually the story pieces itself together. A European explorer in Egypt discovers a beautiful Egyptian woman being held prisoner in a pyramid by a strange, wild-eyed Egyptian man. The European rescues her and takes her home with him, where she has a bit of trouble adapting to straightlaced Victorian society. She eventually makes a hit with her exotic dancing (yes, you read that correctly). Unfortunately, the wild-eyed Egyptian manages to track her down and begins harassing her in secret. The nice European guy is unable to prevent a tragic ending for them both. Pola Negri plays the exotic Egyptian woman and I bet this film made her career. An interesting exotic romance with some nice visual moments. Be warned if you're a monster fan, though, that ther…