The Acrobatic Fly ( Silent film from 1910 which shows a fly laying on its back and tumbling various tiny objects with its little fly legs, including a tiny barbell, a wine cork, and another fly. This is bizarre enough that it’s kind of fun to watch. It was probably even more fun for audiences of its day. Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Accuracy First ( This silent Western Union film from 1928 warns telegraph operators that small mistakes can cost their customers thousands of dollars. A female transmitter is interrupted by a coworker (and I’m wondering why she’s stroking her hair, but never mind) and this causes her to transmit an error in the telegram she’s sending. The female worker at the other end sees the error and thinks she can “correct” it, but actually doesn’t know what she’s doing and thus ends up printing a telegram with the wrong message, causing a stockbroker to make an expensive mistake on the trading floor. This is pretty lively for a training film, with characters that are shown to be real people, rather than drones. It also has lots of historical interest in showing what it was like to work as a telegraph operator during the 20s. And don’t forget to sell one October and two December! Or is that buy? Sell, no buy! Arrgh!! No wonder the stock market crashed! Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
I'm baaackkk!!! (Not that anybody cares, probably.)
L’Abbaye ( This French language instruction film, made by Encyclopedia Brittanica, features a young French woman and a much older man (who we hope is her grandfather or something) touring a French cathedral. This must have been for advanced French students, because the characters babble on in fluent French without any subtitles or anything. It’s obvious the young woman is impressed with all that she sees, and indeed, there are some lovely camera angles of the grand architecture here and there. Mostly, though, this is pretty ordinary, though it is very French. Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

Better Reading

Better Reading . Teenager Harold Wilson has a problem—he can’t read for (expletive deleted). So he has to spend all his free time studying ...