Frigidaire Imperial Line (available for download on Open Video Project. Also available for download on Prelinger Archive).

This bombastic film from 1957, meant to introduce the new “Imperial Line” of Frigidaire appliances, is the ultimate populuxe monstrosity. Appliances are talked about in endlessly bombastic, yet reverent tones while a single, elegantly dressed housewife walks from one to the other to demonstrate them. At times, she caresses the appliances almost ecstatically, yet it is a restrained ecstasy designed not to undercut the reverence. The campiest and weirdest section involves a surrealistic montage of appliance parts that drift past the women, supposedly reprenting “a woman’s dreams.” Monderninity is worshipped here, as everything new, technological, and modernistically designed is portrayed as All Good. The appliances have the spare design of a modern glass-walled skyscraper, while the range control panel resembles the controls of an airplane. All of this is great fodder for post-modern critique, though the film’s reverent tone reduces its camp value somewhat. Still, this is a striking example of 50s populuxe thinking at its apex.

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

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