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Suggestions for "educational" movies for summer viewing. (Middle school/Freshman)


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I noted a reference to the 1973 Depression-Era action/drama EMPEROR OF THE NORTH and I recollect something about it you don't see often in movies:  The lead actor has bad-lookin' teeth.  Lee Marvin's teeth were made up to look gnarly.  

In most movies the actors all have pearly white choppers because filmmakers -- probably rightly so in most cases -- don't think movie-goers want to see people with bad, ugly, yellowed, etc. teeth on-screen.  'Tis very unattractive!  But EMPEROR OF THE NORTH is an exception.  I can't think of another movie offhand where the main character has yellowed, 'worn' choppers.  Fits the movie, tho! 

 

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12 hours ago, Dargo said:

 

Well HECK! If we're gonna go all academic/documentary here, then allow me to suggest THIS miniseries:

The Story of English episode 1 - An English Speaking World - Part 1 / 7 - YouTube

Now, a few of its aspects and details might be a bit dated as it was first broadcast back in 1986, but I still remember quite well being highly fascinated with and by this Emmy Award winning series while watching it on PBS back then.

(...of course I WAS "a little" older than the age of 14 at that time, 34 to be exact, but still I think any kid interested in bettering his understanding and knowledge of the world and some of the people living on it, might find it "fascinating" too!)

 

That is a good one! I'd forgotten all about it. It sparked me to start thinking about where the words I use daily and my style of speech (Appalachian) came from. 

It really is fascinating subject and presented entertainingly.

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A few more from the Western genre ... The Outlaw Josey Wales, A Man Called Horse,  High Noon, Lonely Are The Brave and Shane ...

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High Noon directly relates to HUAC (per Ben M.'s commentary)

Cast a Giant Shadow with Kirk Douglas as real life Mickey Marcus

Did someone mention Sullivan's Travels (Preston Sturgis)

The More the Merrier

Did someone mention Fatman and Little Boy?  Several years ago, I was at a dinner with someone in their 30's.  She had no idea what the Enola Gay was.

The Americanization of Emily (1964) is a great movie written by the great Paddy Chayevsky

Did someone mention Judgment at Nuremburg (great movie with great cast)

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17 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

for sheer rural folksiness Tobacco Road beats The Grapes of Wrath by miles.

 

Really?  You watched THE GRAPES OF WRATH and thought it was about "rural folksiness"?  :rolleyes:

And MOE;

If not already mentioned, I'll throw in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD as it is a fairly accurate depiction in both 1930's Southern small town living and some of their attitudes too.   The movie's fictional town of Maycomb  looks close enough to old photos of small Southern towns I've seen in old magazines and in friend's old family albums to have actually been a real town from back then.    And the way the children played and associated together reminds me of the stories I've heard about the past of my own Mother and her cousins before I ever saw the movie or read the book.  And when I was a kid, practically every neighborhood had their equivalent of "the Radley place".  

Sepiatone

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ALL JOKING ASIDE, Strange as this may sound I would recommend the 1940s Max Fleischer animated SUPERMAN cartoons, which are all in the public domain and can be viewed on YouTube and any number of streaming services like Tubi.

They’re absolutely beautiful to look at, and a few of them do have some social historical importance, there is an offensive anti-Japanese one that is still worth checking out for illustrative purposes. 
 

And I think a 14-year-old would absolutely get them, appreciate the beauty of the animation, and it also helps that are each about 10 minutes long.

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9 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

KEN RUSSELL’s THE DEVILS (1971) 

Hey, the kid’s gotta grow up someday.

Well then. This is an interesting suggestion, not really sure where we fit that in the curriculum. Maybe on vivisection day we can end with this film to lighten the mood.

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20 hours ago, JakeHolman said:

Sticking with American history ... The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Gettysburg  and Gods and Generals ... recent movie world history ...Dunkirk ...

How does THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE fit in with American history?  Unless the intent is American FILM history, which I don't think the intent is here.   Same as your suggestions of "Josey Wales" and SHANE.   Good movies, sure.  But not much on educational value as American history goes.  Best to stick with 

DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK and such.

Sepiatone

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21 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

KEN RUSSELL’s THE DEVILS (1971) 

Hey, the kid’s gotta grow up someday.

I'm still pushing for it to be officially renamed Lorna's The Devils.

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MANDINGO!  → May as well introduce the poor kiddo to the seething, sleazy underbelly of the moneyed class in The Old South. 

You can instruct him as to what a 'bed wench' is!  😝 

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It was a bit  amusing during the 1930's  this film company "Educations Pictures" produced nothing of the sort.

educational.png?w=361&h=284

educational_pictures_shorts.jpg

 

 

 

And regarding an  obvious selection on Amazon Prime, what exactly is someone learning, how to milk a goat?  :blink:

Educational-Movies-on-Prime-FB.jpg

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And in keeping with the earlier mentioned western genre...

Considering this ongoing and lengthy major drought presently taking place across the American West, might I suggest you have the kid watch The Big Country, as this film is basically about water rights and how water in the western states is so often viewed as preciously as gold is and historically has been the cause of conflicts since the time the west was first being settled by those of European descent.

(...Jerome Moross' stirring score for this film will probably help him get right into this one too...does ME every time, anyway)

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It just occurred to me that one of my favorite genres is scholastic "Educational" short films. I have several series of Driver's Educational (drunk driving/railroad crossings) Atomic Bomb scares, Sex Education and my favorite...dangers of Drug use. These are 15 minute windows into different time periods and social expectations, often well produced & creative, sometimes absurd!

There are many behavioral subjects covered too like dating, marriage, good posture, speaking well, neatness/cleanliness, nutritious diet, etc. I love these films because it illustrates common fears & aspirations of my parents' world. The "educational" part is the contrast of our culture, our world today.

A great source is AVGeeks.com

And Periscope YT Channel. A recent appropriate one for this group:

 

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

I have several series of Driver's Educational (drunk driving/railroad crossings) Atomic Bomb scares, Sex Education and my favorite...dangers of Drug use

It's amazing to think I was driving at 14 and my kid isn't the least bit interested in it.

He'll like the "Duck and Cover" routine from those atomic films, for their comedy.  One of my favorite films in school was one produced by General Motors. It explained that air pollution from local factories was of great concern, the smog would hang over the city causing all sorts of trouble. The animation really brought the point home. While tailpipe emissions simply vanished ! All I can say is thank goodness we got that straight.

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I grew up on educational films of a more recent vintage. In my elementary school social studies classes in the '70s, it seems we were always watching conservation-minded short films with strummy, John Denver-style acoustic guitar, all awash in muted colors, stressing the urgency of conserving energy, conserving the ecology, saving wildlife and reducing our "carbon footprint" (clearly what they were talking about, although that term hadn't been invented yet) and pollution. These don't air anywhere anymore, and it seems they were largely ignored.

I'm both perplexed and relieved by the reluctance of the present young generation to participate in driving. Having had my car slammed into on at least three different occasions I can immediately remember by teenagers, I'm not unhappy there are fewer of them driving!

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When I was a kid, 'bout the mid '50's on, there were plenty of TV PSA's about what to do in case of radioactive fallout, and others about driving safety.  One in particular I remember was about "Turnpike Trance".  Starts with some teen aged sounding kid asking, "Hey, Dad!  What's Turnpike trance?"   

I too, recall having drills in my elementary school in which we had to duck under our desks as practice in case of nuclear attack.  :rolleyes:  And another drill that caused us to go into the hall and crouch down against the wall at where it met with the floor, under where we hung our coats and jackets.(my grade school didn't have lockers, as it was built in 1918).   We've all come to realize that in case of a nuclear attack these measures would only ensure our being incinerated.  But TV was vigilant in seeing after our safety, with PSA's informing how to tune into  CONELRAD,  radios of the times(even car radios) being sold with little "conelrad" symbols on the tuning dial.  Couldn't find any of the other PSAs but did find---

 

And it had an early TV appearance of BOB DYLAN!  

Sepiatone

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