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One of the great documentaries of the 1970s . Manages to be both extremely amusing and fascinating thanks to an excellent collection of archival film clips ,a fine narration and some truly inspired original music. The message is clear. Don't knock the guy who comes up with some crazy invention because his next attempt at the same gadget could sell a million. The whole thing aims to celebrate the pioneering spirit of those who dare to attempt the seemingly impossible whether it be for the genuine advancement of their fellow human beings or just to provide a few much-needed laughs to lighten up the world in which they live. A truly memorable and positive viewing experience which all students of documentary-making should see.
Gizmo is a tribute to humankind's pursuit of progress and the inventive spirit. "Invention" in this film is a pretty loose term - you see strange contraptions, and you also see people doing amazing (and odd) things with their bodies. Most of the footage is in black and white and looks like it was gathered from old newsreels. Unforgettable sequences include flying machines complete with flapping wings, "human flies" climbing skyscrapers without ropes, a whiskey distillery that ages whiskey "100 million times faster than nature", and the topper is a woman who has rediscovered what she calls the "ancient greek cosmic laws of flight". This film is pure magic - I have watched it countless times and I laugh just thinking about some of the scenes. So many of the people in this film should have tried their inventions out before calling the newspaper out to film them. Some of the failures are just spectacular! Also definitely worth mentioning is the soundtrack which is fantastic. Almost every segment of the film is accompanied by a great song which helps to set the mood and really adds to its replay value. If you come across a copy of Gizmo, definitely check it out - adults and children will both really enjoy it.
I saw this film in the 70's (on PBS i believe) and remember laughing out loud at the unlikely inventions offered up with earnestness and enthusiasm by their slightly delusional inventors(before watching them go wrong, horribly wrong). Great b/w vintage footage. Its like America's Funniest Home Video's for The New Yorker readers.
I absolutely LOVED this movie! Some of the inventions really cracked me up.My favorite scenes were the buildings being blown up.It looked like they were shrinking.I wonder what that weird liquid was and why the people were dry when they climbed out of it.What was the deal with the guy at the very beginning of the movie making farting noises with his hands.Just how was that supposed to help mankind?Anyway the scenes with people trying to fly was my second favorite.This movie lets you know that everyone messes up once and awhile and you shouldn't give up!
USING THE COMPILATION method of filmmaking, the freely edited use of
old newsreel film is strung together; bringing us a 'brand new'
product. The selection of the title of 'GIZMO' denotes mechanical
inventions. But the production team extends the perimeter of interest
to include certain instances where humans function as would an
THIS IS PROBABLY a fine example of what has been called "Camp" humor. What was dead serious yesterday, can be and often is, quite laughable. Because we have the benefit of hindsight, which is always 20-20, to see what was the folly of hopeful, young inventors of 50, 60 or even longer ago.
WHAT UNFOLDS BEFORE our very eyes is a parade of failed multi-layered winged airplanes, athletic "improvement" devices and every sort of outlandish device imaginable. Among our favourites is a revolutionary 'flying' machine; which employed a series of flapping umbrella-like half cube globes. They pulled down fiercely and were, theoretically supposed to create an upward heading column of air; which would (again theoretically) lift the vehicle upward. It didn't.
AMONG THE "HUMAN" machines we have is an old time strongman who catches cannonballs as they are being fired from a piece of archaic artillery.
NOW, JUST YOU think. What a great 3rd Baseman that guy could've been!
The images are amazing! Clearly, the filmed clips were taken at the time the events were ready to 'take off,' and the devices were at the final stage of development. Imagine how many similar concoctions never reached this stage, or took place without being filmed. The patience of editor Howard Smith for reviewing so many sources is being rewarded here. Some of the ideas inspired (or were inspired by) scenes in contemporary Hollywood movies, i.e., the building climbing, or survive as photo post cards. What we see here was a sampling of unusual and compulsive behavior popular in the film age. A question: was the TV presenter the young David Letterman?
Gizmo! is a documentary centered around man's creative instinct. Some
of the world's most way out inventions ( black and white) have been
included here. The score is really original and watching it gives you a
rich sense of satisfaction. It really left me with a feel good feeling.
I watched this 20 years ago...haven;t seen it till today. It was one of my inspirations growing up. It basically caters to an inquisitive mind so if you're into education...this is a great movie to show the kids.
There are multifarious inventions shown throughout the film. Some were successful some were not. All had the common effect of making you think "hey I can do that too !" There was inventions about flying, tumbling down a mountain side inside a giant wheel, making musical instruments with paper cups....all in all a very interesting watch. ps : I was addicted to this program for years in my childhood. Hope to see it soon again.
I love this movie/documentary. The first time I saw it was when VHS
videos first became available to rent in my area in the late 1970's or
early 1980's. The soundtrack is compelling and the end when they play
the Canon inspired me so much I talked my then fiancé to use this for
However, one thing has bothered me for decades. And now that I've finally been able to get a copy of the movie and the internet has been invented ...
I've had many discussions with friends who've seen the moving regarding the opening dedication and the comments at the end of the movie.
What the heck is the narrator saying?
Is it a different language? Is he just making up words? "crianisus", "those who craminate in this movie", "man's rexiphor"?
Someone must know.
GIZMO is a wild documentary about the eccentric inventors and entertainers
who only wanted to make the world a more interesting place. Among some of
the lunatic inventions shown here are talking grandfather clocks, a bicycle
that can scale houses, caps to keep swimmers' beards dry and cars that
appear to drive backwards. Then you have the public entertainers who show
they have the talent to do odd things such as bend hardware with their
teeth, do carpentry with their tounge, tightrope across Times
Added to this, the bulk of the footage is from before World War II, so these visonaries address the camera in an ernest, polite manner that adds much to this film. A great piece for the family.
It had to happen someday: a movie about people who DIDN'T succeed with their
At least they got their fifteen minutes of fame.
In "Gizmo", the excitement and virtue of creativity is embraced in full as a multitude of inventions from a ways back are shown, via newsreels. Some are pretty viable (indestructable head gear) while others are just plain silly (inummerable flying machines) but all show a lot of imagination behind the madness.
You have to hand it to the inventors, though: they were trying to better mankind. At least it wasn't through weapons of war.
All in all, "Gizmo" is a lot of fun, for the whole family, even. If you can find it, rent it, or even catch it on TV, watch it. Especially if none of your ideas ever succeed.
You'll feel better.
Ten stars. Let's hear it for the entreprenurial spirit!
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