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Changing of the Guard (1936)
Nice blend of early Technicolor and music
How strange to find a Technicolor short from 1936, especially one telling a story. The reds are gorgeous from the Colonel's formal dress to the flowers that contain reds and pinks and are surrounded with nice greens. The maroon of the grandfather's robe is quite amazing as I find that this is a difficult color to find in early movies and they do it so well here. The blues from dark to light are scrumptious and the cornflower blue of Sybil's bathrobe and even the blue of her eyes stand out quite amazingly.
Sybil Jason is quite delightful in this short. She rarely got to stand out in a leading role and here she gets to sing of "The Changing of the Guard" and does it wonderfully. She also gets to tap dance with a regiment of beautiful guards. I'm pretty sure that Buckingham Palace never got to see such a delightful sight as these dancing ladies. And lets not forget the bagpipe regiment, the singing of "Annie Laurie" and "Auld Lang Syne".
A delightful short and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in early Technicolor.
Carnival Day (1936)
Not much plot, but oh, the colors!
I would never recommend this short on plot, but it is a not to be missed item when it comes to color. This film must be one of the earliest uses of Technicolor around and they use it beautifully. The images are crisp, clear and almost jump off the screen. The scenes of Peggy, the flower girl, and Bobby, the jockey, are gorgeous. The only film of this era that had colors as well executed was, in my opinion "The Adventuresof Robin Hood" two years later. It's only 16 min. long and worth every minute of it. The cinematographer, William V. Skall, was later nominated for eight Academy Awards (four in a row 1940-43) and won for "Joan of Arc" (1943).
Unconditional Love (2002)
Strange, but funny as hell
This is one of the oddest movies I have watched in a long while. Usually if they are this strange I bail out early and rarely regret it. Luckily, I held on for this one. While I can't say that this is a great movie (it isn't), I can say that watching it is rather like a good acid trip - only a few really awful moments and the rest filled with "did I really just see that?" wonderment. Lots of laugh out loud moments. A great cast of characters with Meredith Eaton outstanding as the dwarf daughter-in-law with an attitude. Keep an open mind.
Quest to Ref (2002)
Inspirational & intense
It might be easy to just see this as a basketball/referee film, but it is much more. Not being a basketball ref or even a fan (though I put in my 8 years during high school and college), I looked at what, I felt, the makers were trying to convey and not at the technicalities of the game. I saw a film that said it was not only fine to persevere at what a person loves, but it was also fine to be a little crazy about it.
Mr. Blabbermouth! (1942)
good morale building short
At first glance this seems to be a stereotypical patriotic U.S. WWII film. It is much more than that even when you factor in some of the cringing portrayals of the enemy. If the enemy were as idiotic as they are often portrayed why were they such a problem? This film balances the jingoistic part with a very good message about attitude. Mr. and Mrs. Blabbermouth are the people who always make the worst of a good situation. If there is any good to be found they will bury it. This film tries to give the American public a feel good boost about their situation in the war. It's a morale builder and it works. I know that I would have felt more optimistic after seeing this short in 1942.
March On, America! (1942)
For short lovers only - and even then......
This film was produced during WWII in a patriotic attempt to tell the history of the U.S. and inspire the country. It fails on both counts. The history although fairly correct is presented in a paternalistic manner and goes on seemingly forever. Hokey costumes and bad acting are no reason to turn off something, but they went a little too far when Abraham Lincoln spoke with an Irish accent. The film does pick up in the patriotic segment at the end - the narrator finally comes to life and has some zip to his delivery. It is too short though and filled with scenes that made me wince. A memorable one is of a Nazi soldier shooting an enemy in front of a wall and as the man dies his hands slide together and form a large bloody V for Victory. Watch this only if you are filled with the desire to watch as many shorts as you can find. Like me.