Sunday, May 04, 2008

Films on 5/4/08

VD: A New Focus (1971) American Educational Films
Hosted by James Brolin (who was playing the hip doctor on Marcus Welby, MD). Presents an entire picture of the VD problem, giving medical facts, and probing the myths and attitudes of young people concerning VD that often prevent prompt treatment. The obligatory white coated doctor is Stephen Sacks, MD (who looks to still be practicing in the Los Angeles area) whose eyes slowly scan the cue cards as he reads his lines. The best part of this film is the dramatic sequences where the teens confront the possibility of having VD. Like most VD films from this time period, there is no mention of prevention (condoms).

Insight: Just Before Eve (1978) Paulist Productions
Presents a revised version of the Biblical story of creation. Shows how God answers Adam's prayer for another human being after providing a checker-playing angel who is too perfect and a dog which cannot understand him. (Stars Martin Sheen as Adam, Flip Wilson as God, Henry Proach as Angel Josh and very briefly appearance of Darleen Carr as Eve). I knew about the Paulist Insight series from other films in my collection but I saw an excellent overview of the films by Mark Quigley & Dan Einstein of UCLA at the 2008 Orphans Film Symposium at NYU. I immediately started scouring Ebay for films from the collection. This film looked to be good, I mean, Flip "The Devil Made Me Do It" Wilson as God? My mind reeled at the possibilities, but, alas, the film isn't so great. The simplistic dialog ruined it and Flip was just reading lines. Todd Morman commented that it was like an Sunday School class play. I'm on the lookout for "Clowns of Freedom" where Martin Sheen plays an imprisoned clown.

They (1972) Phoenix Films
Wow, this film was a mess! A little boy and a grabby hippie teen talk about the two types of people "We" and "They". "They" are the enemies who live on the other side of the river. Occasionally "We" and "They" battle - throwing spears at each other, taking the lives of children (shades of "Dead Birds"). Then there are the "Outs" who live on an island and are often washed away by floods. Eventually we all figured out what the film was about (that we are all part of the "We" group if we accept the "Theys".) but it was so muddled with symbolic gestures and pointless, annoying dialog.

Blues Maker (1969) Christian Garrison/Univ of Mississippi
Shows Mississippi blues singer, "Mississippi" Fred McDowell, singing and talking about his blues. Includes scenes of the area which helped to shape his country blues. Everybody was blown away by this documentary short which mostly had Fred playing and singing with shots of living in rural, cotton-dependent Mississippi.

Data Processing (1981) Gallaudet College
Captioned for the deaf. Explains data processing and shows range of jobs from Data Entry Operator to Programmer. Features three hearing-impaired people successfully building careers in this field. This is the second film that I have about hiring the hearing impaired to do computer work - during a time when computers were big and loud.

Inside-Out: How Do You Show (1972) Agency for Instructional Television
Presents three boys who express or withhold their feelings about various things that happened to them in the course of an afternoon. Points out the many ways that feelings can be expressed. In one day, this group of boys horse around in a rickety school playground, get mugged by older boys, break a bunch of bottles, hit a homerun during baseball practice, run scared through a cemetery, fight each other while wearing trash cans on their heads and sneak chocolate cake from under Mom's nose. Ah, to be a kid again in the 1970s!


kate said...

I finally remembered I was subscribed to your blog. The description of "They" reminds me of a horrible film we watched in 7th grade about alcoholism that depicted the alcoholic's brain as a house full of rooms with a bunch of annoying preachy assholes in each room talking about denial and responsibility and Reasons Why You Drink and things like that. At least as I remember it.

Skip Elsheimer said...

I think the film you saw was called Alcoholic Within Us (1973). I don't have the film but here's a description I found for it:
An allegory in which the mind is represented as a house inhabited by six feelings that stop the mind from coping with life: loneliness, fear, insecurity, inadequacy, resentment and guilt. Maturity calls a meeting when the house becomes troubled, but immaturity leads the emotional feelings to another part of the house where they won't have to make an effort, where they will find an instant solution--alcohol.