Jlewis

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  1. British Instructional Films Ltd., revived company under Associated British Pathé As mentioned in my introductory post here... In 1933, Harry Bruce Woolfe merged his British Instructional Films with Gaumont and took his popular “Secrets of Nature” series with him, changing the name to “Secrets of Life” since British Pathé, his most recent distributor, retained the rights to the original series name. Soon consolidating under a new name of Associated British Pathé, the company reissued many of the pre-1933 titles through the next two decades, often with new soundtracks. Then, around 1945, a decision was made to reboot a second “British Instructional Films” and have new material to offer. The company had already been flourishing with features and documentary shorts, especially their excellent “Pictorials” and newsreel items, so this wasn't an absolute necessity for them. Yet there was a post-war boom in school films and enough were in circulation for a brief period of about five years or so. Since 2011, British Pathé has uploaded the bulk of them for our YouTube viewing pleasure and it is high time I attempted to catalog as many titles as possible despite scant references online. It is interesting to note that over half of these are silent films for classroom movie projectors, including a fascinating series made in conjunction with the London Zoo that was loosely marketed in periodicals as “Nature Studies”. Each of these ran a mere 2-3 minutes and simply showed a familiar mammal or bird close up and in action so that artists learning to draw, animators looking for movement studies and children learning “what is a zebra” could enjoy a good examination without a human lecture or music interfering. While this may not have been the most novel of concepts, it was still a novelty that would successfully be repeated in 1971 by Encyclopædia Britannica Films with Jane & Peter Chermayeff's “Silent Safari” series that did add the animal sounds recorded in the field and, thus, weren't silent. All in black & white, with minutes and seconds indicated by “m” and “s” per YouTube lengths. Directors, if I know them, are indicated in (). Air Journey (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 7m46s / 1947 Made with support of B.O.A.C. Alpine Farm / (silent) 7m33s / 1945 Antelopes / (silent) 3m54s / 1947 Apes (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m44s / 1947 Apple Growing / (silent) 9m32s / 1949 Bears (David Welsh) / 3m3s / 1947 Bison (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m30s / 1947 Blast Furnace / 9m29s / 1949 Books / (silent) 6m28s / 1949 Boots And Shoes (David Welsh) / (silent) 6m39s / 1947 Bricks For Houses / (silent) 4m13s / 1947 Building A House (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 9m36s / 1947 Butter Making (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 10m51s / 1948 Camels / (silent) 4m25s / 1947 (?) Cape Buffaloes (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m17s / 1947 Casting In Iron / 11m43s / 1949 Made with the Council of Ironfoundry Associations and R. & A. Main, Ltd Cement / (silent) 7m15s / 1949 Chalk (David Welsh) / (silent) 8m8s / 1947 The Chameleon / (silent) 2m41s / 1949 Cheese From Milk / (silent) 10m7s / 1948 China Clay / (silent) 10m47s / 1949 Cows (The Cow Family) (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m / 1947 Creatures Of The Rock Pool / (silent) 5m53s / 1949 Cuckoo-Spit Frog Hoppers / (silent) 8m3s / 1947 Deer / (silent) 2m58s / 1947 The Dog Family (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 8m57s / 1947 Drifting / 10m27s / Aug 16, 1949 Covers fishing off the British coast, mostly East Anglia East Anglian Harvests / (silent) 8m30s / 1946 Egypt (Irene Wilson) / (silent) (1R) / 1948 An Egyptian Village (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 8m58s / 1947 Electricity / (silent) 20m / 1949 Elephants / (silent) 3m22s / 1947 (?) The Engine Driver / (silent) 8m29s / 1947 Fibre From Flax / 10m17s / August 16, 1949 Fibres To Fabrics / (silent) 10m42s / 1949 Find A Word No. 1-6 (J. Turner) / (silent) 6 shorts (3m each) / 1947 The Fireman / (silent) 11m7s / 1947 The Forge (David Welsh) / (silent) 4m33s / 1947 Giraffes (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m46s / 1947 The Glass Makers / (silent) 8m7s / 1947 Gold Beating / 5m56s / 1951 Grinding Corn (David Welsh) / (silent) (1R) / 1947 Harvest Time (David Welsh) / (silent) (1R) / 1947 Horses / (silent) 7m25s / 1946 (?) How Cotton is Grown In Egypt / (silent) 8m48s / 1949 How Fibres Are Spun / 10m12s / August 16, 1949 Husky Dogs (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m5s / 1947 Lace Making (J. Monkman) / (silent) 7m35s / 1947 Lions (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m / 1947 Lithography (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 8m29s / 1947 Llamas / (silent) 2m10s / 1947 Maize Harvest (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 3m46s / 1947 Mare And Foal / (silent) 3m2s / 1948 Margarine From Oil / 8m10s / 1949 The Mint (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 8m58s / 1946 Modern Bakery (David Welsh) / (silent) 5m48s / 1947 Modern Dairy / (silent) 6m49s / 1948 Monkeys / (silent) 2m55s / 1947 (?) Newspaper Story / (silent) 13m35s / 1948 Newsprint / (silent) 21m / 1945 Nigeria: Its People And Produce / 10m58s / 1951 Co-produced with J. Bibby & Sons Limited Nile Irrigation / (silent) 10m18s / 1948 Segments reissued: Sakia, The Shaduff & The Archimedean Screw Oil From Nuts / 9m34s / 1947 Oranges / (silent) 8m35s / 1950 Ostriches (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 2m33s / 1947 Owls / (silent) 2m24s / 1947 Pelicans / (silent) 2m30s / 1947 The Pathé site dates this to 1946 (likely filming date) but its release date in The New Era in Home and School is listed as September 1947, being the first of this “Nature Study” series. Penguins (David Welsh) / (silent) 3m / 1947 Port Of London / (silent) 10m38s / 1946 (?) Postcard To Devon / (silent) 10m11s / 1946 The Postman (J. Monkman) / (silent) 10m28s / 1947 Pottery Without A Wheel (David Welsh) / (silent) 9m39s / 1947 School Puppets (V. Brann & lrene Wilson) / (silent) 6m7s / 1947 (?) Science And The Farmer / 10m42s / 1949 Made for J. Bibby & Sons Limited Sea Harvests / 10m29s / 1949 Sea Lions (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m56s / 1947 Seals / (silent) 5m24s / 1948 Sheep And Lambs / (silent) 3m33s / 1948 Shellfish / (silent) 8m11s / 1950 Covers lobster, cockles & oysters Sights Of London / 11m29s / 1951 Silk From Mulberry / (silent) 10m42s / August 16, 1949 Skins From Seals / (silent) 8m36s / 1948 Slates / (silent) 6m7s / 1948 Some Flowering Plants: Dicotyledons / 8m18s / 1950 Some Flowering Plants: Monocotyledons / 6m33s / 1950 Spinning Flax / 10m48s / 1949 Stained Glass / 9m49s / Aug 16, 1949 Stockholm Story / 11m10s / 1951 Strange Sea Creatures / (silent) 9m2s / 1950 Covers turtles, sand worms, electric eel, sea horses & octopus Swan And Cygnets / (silent) 3m20s / 1948 Suez Canal (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 8m9s / 1947 Sugar Cane Harvest (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 3m50s / 1947 Summertime Meadow / (silent) 8m54s / 1946 (?) Summing Up: A Quarterly Chronicle of Current Events No. 1 (Peter Baylis) / 20m approx. / December 1946 Compilation of British Pathé material. The others were released accordingly: No. 2 (April 1947), No. 3 (July 1947), No. 4 (October 1947), No. 5 (December 1947) Tern, Plover & Coot / (silent) 6m8s / 1949 The Thames (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 8m30s / 1947 They Bring You Fish / (silent) 9m37s / 1948 (?) Tigers (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 2m49s / 1947 Timber For Houses / (silent) 8m42s / 1948 Tin Mining / (silent) 10m55s / 1949 Ti t-Mouse The Weaver / (silent) 5m47s / 1949 Tower Bridge / (silent) 4m53s / 1946 Trawling / (silent) 10m14s / Aug 16, 1949 Tree To Paper / (silent) 10m39s / 1949 Underground Journey / 4m26s / 1945 Shows girls on a subway in London Village Bakery / (silent) 5m32s / 1947 Cresswells' Bakery in Braintree, Essex Village Blacksmith (David Welsh) / (silent) 5m10s / 1947 Village Children Of South China / 8m50s / 1951 A Visit To A Farm (Irene Wilson) / (silent) 5m36s / 1947 Weaving Linen (David Welsh) / (silent) 4m30s / 1947 Whaling / (silent) 7m34s / 1948 Filmed off South Africa What Happens Next? Finish The Story No. 1 / 3m / December 1946 (U.S. release for this and the subsequent titles: September 14, 1951) As the title suggests, a partial story is shown and children must guess “what happens next” What Happens Next? Finish The Story No. 2-7 / remaining 6 shorts all 3m each / March 1947 Yaks (Miss H. Dunt) / (silent) 3m10s / 1947 Zebras (Miss H. Hunt) / (silent) 2m40s / 1947 In 1959, an attempt was made to create “Secrets of Nature”, the TV series. Unfortunately just a pilot show was produced:
  2. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Have not seen this one. Some of those Universal-International westerns are a bit obscure for me since the movie critics I read in my youth like Leonard Maltin and Leslie Halliwell tended to Pooh-Pooh the ones not featuring Jimmy Stewart. Halliwell treats this one as “unusual” but not particularly distinctive. Sounds like the screenplay was a mishmash of a couple earlier western plots.
  3. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    The whole Jean Arthur age issue didn't bother me. We all get bothered by completely different things in the movies we watch. Maybe it is just me. My sister waited until she was in her forties before having kids, even if such a thing wasn't typical of late 19th century farm wives. A bigger issue than the soft-focus photography was the dialogue. At one point, Van Heflin's Joe talks about marrying her young and pretty just a decade ago, which sounds peculiar since both he and Jean look like they have been married two or more decades. Despite its flaws, SHANE is still a reasonably good film with some interesting themes worth examining. George Stevens documented the opening of Dachau as a member of the U.S. Signal Corps and, not surprisingly, the films he made in the decade and a half culminating with THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK reflected the experience with an interesting perspective on death and killing, both human and non-human and especially how children relate to it all. In 1947, he directed the wonderful I REMEMBER MAMA in which the lead (Irene Dunne) makes sure her daughter Katrin (a pre-VERTIGO and DALLAS Barbara Bel Geddes) sees her favorite uncle just after he dies so that, in her words, "you won't be afraid of death". Intriguingly this uncle spent a lot of money saving the lives of children and helping one handicapped boy who was not related to him walk again. Although this very loving Norwegian family living in 1910 San Francisco had a rather "earthly" view of death, it was clear that they were very much against killing in any form. A cat is suffering in pain and they debate on putting him out of his misery. Ultimately they never succeed in their mission, but fortunately there is a very happy ending. In A PLACE IN THE SUN, it is obvious that Montgomery Clift's character (named George like the director) is totally incapable of killing anybody. Nonetheless his wife, played by Shelley Winters, drowns and he must pay the penalty... the death penalty. Also no more Liz Taylor to smooch him. I haven't seen his next feature, SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR, but I think that title speaks for itself. GIANT has some great life and death sequences, often involving non-humans like I REMEMBER MAMA. A beloved horse must be put down because of an injury, in addition to being partially responsible for the death of Luz (Mercedes McCambridge). Later we have that memorable scene of the three children befriending a turkey, only to be traumatized when their pet is served at Thanksgiving. Aside from Luz' death, we also witness another human death, that of "Angel" who was first saved from death as a baby when Liz Taylor's Leslie first found him with James Dean's Jett but later died for his country and is returned in a flag draped coffin. (Sal Mineo played him since Warner Brothers kept making sure his characters kept dying on screen.) Again, a small boy is focused on watching the funeral and yawning because he hasn't quite understood the whole purpose of it yet. Children and animals... While one horse looks uncomfortable doing a key stunt in SHANE, all of the other critters on camera look surprisingly happy. Joey has no bullets in his play gun and can only shout "bang bang" when the elk (wapiti) and mule deer roam about his farm as if they are the family pets. This family only kills when absolutely necessary. I especially like the scene of the mule deer just watching Shane arrive on his horse without any intention of running away until Joey shoos him away. No humans in this movie are violent except the villains who get killed in justice. There is even a big fuss made over a neighbor's pig getting killed as if he too was one of the family pets. Jean Arthur's Marian keeps telling Joey that he shouldn't become too attached to Shane because she knows he will some day have to go away. Why? Because, unlike them, he will eventually kill somebody. Yes, this somebody (Jack Wilson, played by Palance) killed a neighbor and justice had to be served. Yet Shane now has blood on his hands and must leave Joey's life forever because it is not the goal of this family for Joey to use guns with bullets.
  4. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Aside from a few props suggesting the fifties rather than the late 19th century like Jean’s make up and the modern children book used (and curious antlers on the farm that do not look like western American moose or wapiti), my main problem was that there are way too many Brandon face shots. More so than Fay Wray in KING KONG. I only recall a few close ups of Jean Arthur although she didn’t seem too old for me since Van Heflin looked rather tired in many of his scenes. They at least looked compatible as a middle aged couple with a kid. Maybe she had the kid at forty? Yeah... the Alan Ladd attraction of the kid was borderline Sal Mineo even if he is supposedly too young to be thinking of Alan like Sal.
  5. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Regarding the men... unless they are Clark Gable who can keep Claudette Colbert under his authoritative control and remind her who is wearing the pants. I still like that movie even if it too is gradually losing its luster. I know. I am exaggerating a bit here.
  6. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Yes. Capra has many issues with women in his films that is worth psychological analysis. Also the men in his films are often child like and uncomfortable with... women. Cue another film of his that I have referenced twice. Then again, George did manage to lasso the stork in that one once he figured it out. Yet ladies who do not marry and want a career become old maids with glasses working at the library.
  7. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    I am odd in what I see among multiple movies that otherwise have nothing in common. The problem with Capra is that he gets preachy. I used to like his 1946 holiday classic that has been aired to death on tv, largely because of the great performances. Yet it has lost its luster with me over the years and I find it a bit annoying to sit through today. There is way too much sermonizing and opinionated lecturing going on. In that one, Jimmy’s George hardly even thinks for himself with everybody telling him what to do. Maybe this is why Capra liked him as an actor? He obeyed authority figures on screen with little questioning?
  8. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    OK... I am jumping the gun here and you haven't posted your review yet. Maybe you aren't doing this particular film first, but I might as well get into it. Re-watched MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON again last night. Seen it multiple times but it had been a few years. Also watched another chestnut repeat on the previous night after a multiple year break, ROSEMARY'S BABY. Both films share a few striking characteristics in common, both strengths and flaws as you might say. The story core in each is, once you think about it carefully, rather silly. One involves a political battle over a silly dam being built where one wants a silly boys camp. (What? Isn't there enough room in the state for both?) Combined with this is the ruthless tycoon Jim Taylor, swarming-ly played by Eddy Arnold in essentially the same role as Lionel Barrymore in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, buying up an entire state and eager to make a quick buck once the bill passes through Congress. (Actually this part relates very well to modern day Washington D.C. even more so than it did in 1939 because an awful lot of senators today are “bought” and vote only the way they are paid to vote.) Yet Jimmy Stewart's Jefferson is sure making a huge mountain out of a mole hill here. Jean Arthur warns him early on not to exhaust himself as he gets overly excited seeing the sights from his taxi. This eager beaver needs to take a sedative. On the plus side, Claude Rains' John Pain accurately states that Jeff is simple but not stupid, so it takes him far less screen time than Mia Farrow's Rosemary to realize he has been hoodwinked. This brings me to the central plot core in the '68 film that is just as shallow as MR. SMITH. Rosemary is tricked by her husband to have sex with The Beast. Yet is he really Satan, since we don't even know what he looks like? Somehow I think it would be a much bigger world wide “deal” that would require more than just a cocktail party in a cramped NYC apartment celebrating. However there is so much production, cinematography wizardry and a central powerhouse performance involved in each that you easily forget so much of the basic silliness. Frank Capra and Roman Polanski were at the top of their game and really put a lot into these films. I will start with the perfect casting. I love all of the "gee, I didn't realize they were in this film" peekaboos in “support” such as Dub Taylor, William Demarest and Jack Carson among the reporters in the former film and, in the latter film, Patsy Kelly being super grumpy and Hope Summers so icky-icky sweet and controlling that your teeth ache with cavity pain just listening to her. Both directors also successfully contrasted lead personalities here for dramatic effect. Note how neither Claude Rains' Joseph Paine or John Cassavetes' Guy Woodhouse can even look at the always honest and genuine lead star directly. In the former film, Senator Joe is strategically placed several seats down (obviously due to the seating arrangement, but the camera angles and clever editing heighten the effect) while Guy has his face covered in the dramatic climax while standing in the next room as far away from his wife as possible. Polanski was obsessed with showing so many characters cut-off by side doors a.k.a. just in the next room so that you can't see exactly what they are doing. In Capra's film, we see multiple characters entering different rooms as they either change their personalities almost like Superman's cape in a telephone booth or, as in Jefferson's case, having a new spiritual awakening not experienced before (such as his first visit to Lincoln Memorial and the senate room for the first time, with focus put on his facial expressions). Particularly dramatic is the use of light versus dark in both films. What does Jean Arthur's Clarissa say about figures "casting long shadows"? Twice we see Arnold's Taylor in stark silhouette while those thumbling beneath him in cowardly allegiance are brightly lit since they have no place to hide from him even if he himself can easily become a creature of the night. Also shown in stark silhouette is Clarissa breaking through her cynicism to explain to a fallen Jefferson, who is only now shown in the dark for the first and only time because he has fallen into his “dark” side of despair, by telling him that he must bring what Washington needs... genuine honest goodness not tainted by financial greed. In other words, she must pull him out of the dark and bring him back into the light. When the Castevets (very lovable, if seedy, Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) officially enter a room from Rosemary's point of view, they walk through a dark hallway so that they are temporarily silhouetted just like Capra's cast members. We are as sensitive as Rosemary as to questioning whether they are operating in the light or dark. In that classic piece of Capra-Corn (which I think are all a bit corny), director Capra knew how passionate Jimmy Stewart was about patriotism and love of the Land of the Free that the whole boy's camp is really not important anyway. It is just a springboard call-to-arms to get the actor all gung-ho. Remember that he wasted no time enlisting the moment the bombs were dropped at Pearl Harbor. Likewise, Roman Polanski knew that Mia Farrow was obsessed with becoming the Mother of all Mothers, loving every child equally no matter what he or she looked like. Even if his eyes weren't “normal” like Guy's. Not that she ever got a good look at her husband's eyes since he was constantly looking way like Senator Joseph Paine, avoiding eye contact. I especially love how fictional Roman (Castevet, played by Blackmer) influences Rosemary by saying “you don't have to join us... just be a mother to him” much as the real Roman (the director) probably said the same to Mia to get her performance. So... yes, both films have their flaws, but I love them both the same.
  9. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Seen this twice but it has been a while and will have to see it again. George Stevens often had women who were stronger than the men in his films. I am thinking of I Remember Mama and Giant off the top of my head. Well... maybe Hudson and Dean could hold their own against Taylor in the latter but she was still "one tough Texan". Also handled Hepburn in Alice Adams.
  10. Jlewis

    A Shortie Checklist: Paramount

    Oooooh I wish it was so easy. Hopefully this post will help not just you, but others, in starting your great archeological dig. Yup... it will be quite a dig! Yet don't give up. The more you discuss a film of interest online, the more observant eyes will be around to guide you in the proper direction. I used to get so many questions about the Paramount shorts of the forties and fifties, in particular. One of the quickest responses I can give is to always keep your eyes open on eBay because so many vintage shorts were made available on 16mm and can easily be "digitalized" by old movie enthusiasts, especially films that the major entertainment companies don't think are worth battling over for copyright status. The UCLA archive has quite a few vintage Paramount shorts from multiple decades and I hear they sometimes make DVD copies for a fee. It is always worth emailing them to find out. First, of course, you have to check if your title is in their search engine. Sadly yours was not, but something else of great interest to you could still pop up there: https://cinema.library.ucla.edu/vwebv/searchBasic According to Jerry Beck on the Cartoon Research site, Harvey Comics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Films) not only acquired their fifties cartoons, but also the bulk of the live-action subjects from the same period. Yes, these would likely include your title, if it is still available. Over the years, they have been owned by different mother-companies, the latest being Dreamworks Classics/NBC Universal and I guess this is one place to start emailing questions: http://classics.dreamworksanimation.com/ They did release many old Casper shorts on DVD through Sony in 2006 since there was enough interest in them. Paramount did regain the rights to many old shorts, but it will require much pushing and shoving to get them as motivated in dusting off the vaults since fewer modern Americans are excited over Pacemakers as they are Jack Ryan. On the plus side, they are doing a great job with Republic Pictures' library and have released some interesting stuff through Olive Films like the ol' Betty Boops. Kino Lorber (https://www.kinolorber.com/) put out a cluster of the late-'20s-'30s material on DVD over the years. The Jerry Fairbanks reels of 1935-49 are owned by Shield (http://www.shieldspictures.com/index.html) which put a few titles on iTunes. I should be in the habit of linking the other threads here so it is easier to navigate these. I find it interesting that the RKO-Pathé one is the most popular.
  11. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Back in the eighties and early nineties (a.k.a. MGM's When The Lion Roars came out shortly after that one), I got pretty comfortable seeing all of these veterans interviewed about working-at-the-studio, whatever studio it was. Now I miss them all since they have joined all of the other stars up in heaven. Going off topic, my favorite series will always be the James Mason narrated and Ken Brownlow and David Gill directed Hollywood (mostly compiled in 1978-79), which successfully "canned" for posterity so many veterans of five to seven decades back. This included those who knew Valentino before he "became" Valentino. I especially loved Colleen Moore in all of hers, especially the one where she imitates a strongly accented buddy of hers ("oy oy oy") commenting on her first talkie tests and speech lessons.
  12. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Interesting that you are choosing three of their lesser known vehicles instead of the obvious "Big Four" (Adam's Rib, Pat & Mike, State Of the Union and Guess Who) plus Desk Set. Unfortunately I could not find AMC's old documentary The Republic Picture Story online. Last saw it in the '90s, but it would be so much fun seeing it again. It probably didn't include clips of the four you recently detailed, since the focus was on the titles that average movie buffs (those who bother with the '30s-50s, that is) were more familiar with.
  13. Jlewis

    Nudist Camp Films

    Different situation with Tarzan The Magnificent, but I will allow you to investigate the YouTube montage "Tarzan (Gordon Scott) loincloth malfunctions" on your own to determine if he is magnificent or not. In movie theaters, nobody noticed at 24 frames per second, but VHS, laserdisc and DVD prompted a whole new audience of investigative eyes with the ability to freeze-frame. The Disney company, in particular, panicked when it made other discoveries on The Rescuers (1977) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988).
  14. Jlewis

    Nudist Camp Films

    I have been away too long and didn't realize we had threads like this. Not surprised at all that it got far off topic, since this isn't something many posters like discussing with any seriousness. Did cover some of this topic on the "time line" on page 3 of this thread: To be honest, nudist films were seldom very good or even cinematic. It is difficult to determine which director or cameraman involved in these was worthy of Hitchcock or Welles status. Actually hard core pornographic films of the 1970s are much more interesting, not so much because they are more explicit but because there was more skill in camera work and story telling involved... at least during its brief "golden age" before stay-at-home-and-watch VHS focused ALL attention on The Act itself and nothing else. The earliest nudie docs were apparently made by the major German companies; I think Variety reviewed one UFA import around 1927 but I can't remember the title off hand. The emphasis was more on female nudity than male, but the men were dropping trou in a couple mainstream dramatic films made in Europe during the late twenties and early thirties with little fuss. Some like G.W. Pabst's Kameradschaft (1931) and Jean Vigo's Zero De Conduite (1933) even had fleeting P-P shots. As expected, it was distributors in the United States and other non-European countries that were the prudes. (Japan didn't even allow kissing in their films before 1947.) This Nude World (1933) was the most popular of the American releases, getting plenty of attention from the press when it succeeded in a few major theaters just before the Production Code took over. The narrator was a radio familiar (and voice in many thirties Warner Brothers shorts) Leo Donnelly. You can buy it cheap from Alpha Video or view a murky copy online. For its time, it isn't all that bad and actually shows quite a bit of nudity, mostly from the back end. Garden Of Eden (1954) was the first in color, the first to get advertised in BoxOffice magazine and other periodicals and eventually the first to get past all of the censorship laws. It all ended with one final court case held on the federal level in 1957 that ruled that nudity by itself in films was not "obscene". Then came the mass flood of copycats, followed by those of Russ Meyer (i.e. The Immoral Mr. Teas, 1959) that added a plot and the humorous label of "nudie cuties". ("Roughies" involved less nudity but more questionable violence and were shown in the same drive-in "dives" that kiddies weren't permitted.) The first American nudist documentary to show full nudity without volleyballs covering the private parts was John Lamb's The Raw Ones, which opened in a few inner city theaters starting December 1965, right around the time that Andy Warhol was starting a fuss with his New York City exclusives such as My Hustler. Speaking of Warhol, you also have to parallel the history of nudist docs with the long stretch of avant garde experimentals that were uncensored by The Code because they were shown exclusively at film festivals to an "art crowd" and not to Middle America. These range from Willard Maas' Geography Of The Body (made in 1943) to the early works of James Broughton such as The Bed (filmed in 1967 but shown February 1968 exclusively in San Francisco for a while) and were not in the same class as the 16mm and 8mm "blue movies" sold under the counter in camera stores for bachelor parties in the 1950s and '60s.
  15. Jlewis

    TopBilled’s Essentials

    Yeah, "shmoodle" wasn't often used although "making woo" was, often in animated cartoons of the period. Speaking of cartoons, Vera Vague was, as Barbara Jo Allen, a popular radio personality who appeared in some nifty Columbia comedy shorts of the forties along with her character actress work in features AND occasional cartoon voices, particularly later in her career for Disney. She did the voice of Fauna in Sleeping Beauty.

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