Reviews of film ephemera, including such things as educational films, industrial films, military and propaganda films, tv commercials, movie trailers, shorts, experimental films, and movies made for non-mainstream audiences.
"Jubilee" was a sort of black "Command Performance", made for the entertainment of black G.I.s and featuring black stars. In this excerpt, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson sings a duet with Lena Horne of "That Ol' Devil Consequence". Fairly interesting from a historical perspective, though it would have been more interesting had they included more excerpts from this.
Johnny at the Fair (MST3K Episode #419: The Rebel Set. Also available for viewing on You Tube).
Little Johnny goes with his parents to the Canadian National Exhibition, but when his folks would rather view some boring old exhibit rather than do the exciting stuff like rides, he wanders off in disgust and has a bunch of adventures of his own. Another boring newsreel featurette about something that's supposed to be fun. The msting is pretty good, though.
Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears (available for viewing on You Tube).
The Monkees engage in silly antics on a beach to their song, “Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears.” Specifically, Davy frolics with a girlfriend, Mickey gets chased by a cop, Mike digs a hole, and Peter is nowhere to be found. Typical Monkees silliness which should bring back memories for folks of a certain age.
More driving tips from Sid Davis, this time covering such things as littering, traffic signs, going around curves, left turns, and hitchhikers. The section on road signs has a lot of great 50s signs in it. Again, this has lots of big, ugly 50s cars on narrow streets. Again, this is pretty ordinary, but I enjoyed the signs a lot.
A Nationwide System of Parks (downloaded from Google Video).
This Department of the Interior Film provides an overview of the work the Civilian Conservation Corps did on state parks around the country during the 30s. This makes is a valuable historical record of same. There are no real surprises here, but the film moves along, and there are some interesting visuals of CCC members engaging in various activities, including a man who has just learned to write his incredibly long name. Lots of historical interest here.
This film documented the championship fight between Gentleman Jim Corbett and Peter Courtney. It's probably the first boxing match ever filmed, making it an interesting historical artifact, but even the narrator couldn't help commenting on Gentleman Jim's revealing shorts. An 1894 Edison film.
Abbott and Costello Bloopers (available for viewing on You Tube).
Short blooper reel of outtakes from various Abbott and Costello films, all featuring Lou Costello. This is a typical collection of fluffed lines and unexpected happenings on the set. No real surprises here, but a few are mildly amusing.
The events of December 7, 1941 and immediately afterward are chronicled in this newsreel. Some of the language is mildly racist ("Japs," "Nipponese"), but mostly this is pretty straightforward. The footage of America's reaction to Pearl Harbor in the days immediately following the event is pretty interesting, though.
Flood Relief: President Inspects Area and Speeds Aid (available for download on Universal Newsreels).
This 50s newsreel documents flooding in the Northeast, with some striking scenes of disaster and devastation. Also included are stories on war in North Africa, elections in the Saar region of West Germany, a train wreck in Massachusetts, and an anti-tank weapon called “the Thing.” This is pretty standard, though it does have some good disaster footage and a few scenes of interesting-looking German political posters. “The Thing,” sadly, is interesting in name only.
This soundie features a slightly strange nightclub floor show, with chorus girls in mini skirts, a geeky-looking Spanish dancer in a bolero jumpsuit, and what looks like an African-American woman in a French maid’s outfit. They all dance to a peppy jazz tune in typical floor show style, except for the Spanish guy, who bends like he’s Gumby. For the most part, though, this is a pretty typical soundie.