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Showing posts from October 22, 2006
Attack of the LEGOs: Revenge of the Order of Darkness (available on Brickfilms). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]This lengthy, elaborate Brickfilm could use some help in the storytelling department. It has a basic action plot of Our Ninja Hero fighting the Order of Darkness, an evil army that threatens to take over the world. There are lots of jokes, parody elements, and references bandied about. Some of them work, many don’t. Still, there are enough fun moments and concepts to make this worth watching, such as the armaments dealer that sells entire armies and weapons of mass destruction through its drive-through window, and the parody movie posters in the Legoland movie theater lobby. And yes, there’s a credit cookie sequence at the end.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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First American in Space (downloaded from the Featured Clip Archive of WPA Film Library). [Category: News]Documentary footage of the first American manned space flight of Alan Shepard. This has some historical value, but no real surprises.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
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Atomic Weapons Tests: Trinity Through Buster-Jangle (downloaded from Open Source Movies). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This early-50s government film documents the atomic testing program from the first explosion at Trinity site to the Buster-Jangle tests, which included the first underground tests. The tests and the rationale behind them are explained in great detail, which gets rather dry after a bit. But there are some interesting visuals, such as some striking animations and the expected explosions. At times, the audio cuts out, due to its being “sanitized” (their word, not mine) by the government to remove all still-classified information, though this is infrequent and not too intrusive. This film has lots of historical value in documenting the early atomic testing program, as well as being fairly interesting to watch.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Feeding the Baby ["Repas de Bebe"] (film #2 on The Movies Begin, Volume Two: The European Pioneers (Kino Video, 1994). Also, film #4 on Pioneers of the French Cinema (Hollywood's Attic, 1996)). [Category: Early Film & TV]A couple enjoys feeding their baby. Slightly more interesting if you consider that most likely everybody in it, including the baby, is dead now. Probably one of the first home movies. An 1895 Lumiere film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.
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Foreign Fire Departments (downloaded from Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]This 30s firefighting film has lots of stuff about the Boston fire department, some of it I’m sure I’ve seen before, but I’ll press on in the assumption that at least some of this is new. Most of the first half features demonstrations of lots of different firefighting equipment, including a pipe that blows smoke out of cellars. The second half features footage of various fires, most of which I know I’ve seen in other Stillman films, especially the footage from Yokohama. Not much new to see here, actually, unless you’re a firefighting completist.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
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Daddy (downloaded from Bedazzled). [Category: Hollywood]Sultry Julie London sings to her sugar daddy about all the finer things in life he’d better give her, and, in case he doesn’t get the message, she has scantily-clad models show him all the swag she expects. This is much livelier and more convincing than the soundie version of this song, making it more fun.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
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Courtesy for Beginners (available on A/V Geeks. Also available for download from Google Video). [Category: Educational]This 60s manners film for gradeschoolers is pretty campy, but it’s also so utterly charming that you don’t want to be too hard on it. Most fun is a scene of kids practicing greetings by speaking into a tape recorder. They do the greetings in a stilted, yet realistic (for kids) fashion, then make faces when they hear their voices played back. Then they have other kids respond politely to the recorded greetings, and this is also a lot of fun. OK, it’s important to teach kids manners, and the basic civility taught in this film is reasonable, but it’s hard not to start giggling at the earnestness portrayed here, while still being swayed by its charm. This is a late-60s Coronet film, with all of the Coronet earnest charm, which wouldn’t be around for much longer, so there’s a wistfulness about this film, too.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Inte…
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Charles E. Hughes Speaking During Campaign, Duquense, PA, 1916 (downloaded from Theodore Roosevelt). [Category: Early Film & TV]Justice Hughes gives a campaign speech on behalf of TR to steelworkers in Pennsylvania. This kind of film was one kind that was vastly improved once sound was invented. Still, this has a bit of historical interest. A 1916 Universal film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
Hot Spot (film #27 on The Complete Uncensored Private SNAFU DVD (Image Entertainment, 1999)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This is the polar opposite to The Aleutians––Isles of Enchantment (Oh Brother!). The Devil himself narrates this tribute to the GIs slogging their way through hot-as-Hades Iran, delivering Lend-Lease supplies to Russia. Private SNAFU only makes cameo appearances in a few of the gags. A slightly weird moment is when we see the Devil taking salt tablets, but otherwise this is ordinary.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Abba Commercials (available on Vintage Ads. Also available on You Tube). [Category: Commercial]This is a set of 5 British commercials for National, a small appliance company, that were done by the Europop group Abba. In all of them, they sing a jingle for National to the tune of “Fernando.” Since I never liked that song, I think this is an improvement. And there’s something so natural about Abba doing commercials somehow.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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The Cool Ones Trailer (downloaded from Bedazzled). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Manic 60s movie trailer that tries so hard to be cool that it fails miserably. For that reason only, it should be preserved for all time. But if that wasn’t enough, it also features a clip from Mrs. Miller! A must.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****+. Overall Rating: *****.
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Down Mobile Way (downloaded from Google Video). [Category: Public Service]This Department of the Interior film from the 30s tells us all about the state parks being built by the CCC near Mobile, Alabama. Lots of scenes of the CCC at work are shown, some with interesting old-time technology, such as steam engines. The film is mildly racist in its portrayal of African Americans, such as referring to the black CCC members as “Negro boys.” Other than that, this film is pretty straightforward, though it does have historical interest.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
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Attack of the Flesh-Eating Subterranean Bog Monster from the Center of the Earth and Beyond the Moon: Apocalyptic Revenge (downloaded from Open Source Movies). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]This parody of 50s sci-fi monster movies is pretty amusing, in an amateurish sort of way. It features a dorky teen couple, a mad scientist named the Professor, and a monster that looks like it was created at Muppet Labs. Silliness ensues for a little over 8 minutes, then it ends abruptly. This may not be Hollywood quality, but I don’t want to discourage people with camcorders from creating this kind of fun, so I’m giving it a high rating.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Exploration of the Planets (downloaded from Google Video). [Category: News]This NASA film from the early 70s goes over the series of unmanned space flights that were planned to explore all the planets of the solar system. For the most part, these flights fulfilled their promise, as evidenced by how much more we know about the planets now than we did when this film was made. This gives the film quite a bit of historical value. It’s all pretty straightforward and unsurprising, but not boring either, making this worthwhile viewing for those interested in the history of planetary exploration.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
I Can’t Give You Anything but Love (downloaded from Prelinger Archive). [Category: Hollywood]A pretty woman sings “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” (Bay-Be!! You remember how it goes…) and a couple of dorky couples dance in the kind of nightclub floor show they just don’t do today. A charming soundie from the 40s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.