The Door to Heaven (film #1 on The Educational Archives, Vol. 6: Religion DVD (Fantoma, 2003). Also available for download from Open Video Project. Also available for download from Prelinger Archive).

This 40s religious film takes abstract spiritual concepts and makes them concrete through a host of visual aids. Salvation is portrayed as a literal Door to Heaven. Mistaken routes to heaven, such as Good Works, Church Attendance, and (my favorite) Self-Righteousness are also portrayed as doors marked with the proper signs to identify them. Qualities that must be let go of on entrance to heaven are portrayed as actual objects, my favorite being a huge brown-wrapped package labeled “SIN” (wonder what’s in it?). Although amusingly simplistic, this film is utterly charming in its sincerity and kooky-looking props, so I’m not going to be too hard on it. Its religious message is reasonably sound for the believers and would-be believers it was made for, so why not let the prop department have a little fun?

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

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