"A short mystery film from members of the Amateur Cinema League. A group of relatives gather in a haunted house for the reading of a will. Someone among them knows a secret about the house, and uses stories about the Black Widow to try and scare everyone away. In the end, their identity is revealed and all the secrets come to light. Title cards narrate the dialogue." Chicago Film Archives.
"Mr. Midgley's production is a gay and picaresque saga of a 350 mile jaunt by bicycle along the highways of Bryce and Zion National Parks and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Distinguished camera work, pleasing compositions and imaginative treatment contribute to the film's success. Outstanding in the picture, however, are its crisp pace and lighthearted laughter at the cyclist's own wry adventures. Brightly executed titles and a restrained use of a fine "running gag" round out this altogether engaging travel study." Movie Makers, Jan. 1947, 49.
"West Virginia, the State Beautiful is organized as a series of scenic vignettes taken during an auto trip eastward on Route 60, known as the Midland Trail .... This route, first proposed by George Washington in 1783, had been upgraded for automobiles in the 1920s and is portrayed here as a source of civic pride. Rev. Snodgrass probably screened his 75-minute travel documentary for church and civic groups. The five excerpts included here begin with the start of the tour in the border town of Kenova, whose name is laid out in an intertitle (“KEN. O. VA.”) to drive home its derivation from the first letters of the states the town touches: Kentucky, Ohio, and (West) Virginia. In Huntington, Route 60 runs down busy Fifth Avenue and past the International Nickel Company, opened six years earlier and rightly labeled in the titles as the world’s largest nickel alloy plant. Farther east in the higher Appalachians are glimpses of sheer “LOVER’S LEAP” cliffs (before the Hawks Nest Dam was built in the 1930s) and lumber-industry trains geared for the steep hills. Rev. Snodgrass closes with a homemade sing-along slide for the state song, “The West Virginia Hills.”" —Scott Simmon
"Land of My Dreams, Joseph J. Harley, ACL, will tell you, is a simple record of fun and friends. As such, it is an attractive piece of Kodachrome, colorful in its camera work, leisurely in its pace (400 feet, 8mm.) and frankly sentimental in its outlook. Lake Saranac and the Harley summer cottage comprise the land of Joe Harley 's dreams, although his myriad friends of ten years' standing play a large part in that Elysium. You see them throughout the film, going about their fishing and boating, picnics and swimming with an infectious zest and good humor. The record is climaxed with a detailed presentation of a grand communal party, at which each of the guests is required to put on some sort of skit or bit of entertainment." Movie Makers, June 1944, 246.
Note of warning: the "communal party" referenced in the description above includes a performance in blackface.
"In 1921, Sheeler and Strand collaborated to make Manhatta, considered to be the first American avant-garde film. Inspired by Walt Whitman's poem "Mannahatta," which is quoted in one of the intertitles, the film portrays life in New York City in sixty-five nonnarrative shots. The sequences display one epic day in Lower Manhattan, beginning with a ferry approaching the city in early morning and ending with a sunset view from a skyscraper. Shot from extreme camera angles, the film captures the dynamic qualities of the new metropolis" Museum of Modern Art (New York), Department of Film.
"Zero is an aspiring artist, but he is a wraithlike being, and his ornate appearance makes him even more of a caricature. Just as sound had been approximated in A Hollywood Extra through close ups of a bugle, so zero's playing of the same instrument leads to his meeting with his true love, Beatrix. However, when she is recalled by the Grand Vizier of Afghanistan, their brief union presages the fatal failure of Zero's mingling with the outside world. Reading his future in a mammoth book of destiny filled with grotesque and discouraging words, an organ-grinder brings to play the inexhorable tune of fate to which zero must dance. Zero's life becomes a perpetual nightmare, surrounded by monstrous ghouls, whose giant, deformed faces leer, laugh, mutter, and point as they surround and overwhelm him. In the end, as Zero's name implies , his music, life, and love, count for a sum of nothing" Taves, 104.
Charlton Heston stars in David Bradley's amateur adaptation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. "Julius Caesar was produced with amateur actors and makes impressive use of available, neoclassical Chicago locations, including the steps of the Art Institute and the pillars of Solider Field. But the film, which cost at least fifteen thousand dollars to produce, was seen by both the ACL and the local Chicago press as a quasi-professional--if independent--production; indeed, it was on the merits of this film that Bradley won his much-sought-after contract with MGM" Tepperman, 252-253.
An amateur club adaptation of Alfred Noyes poem The Highwayman. A "ballad of love and murder" that "emphasizes atmosphere and explores the sympathetic relationship between natural and dramatic elements". The poem "narrates the highwayman's secret meeting with his love Bess, a landlord's daughter, their discovery by a group of soldiers who hold Bess as bait for the highwayman, and her grisly death by musket...Throughout the poem the natural settings play an important role in amplifying its supernatural and dramatic content...Like its use of natural settings, a natural acting style was employed to set this film adaptation apart from its source materials and its rival media. Finally, the film's use of double exposure in order to create the impression of ghostliness in the tragic couple's final reunion marks a particularly cinematic solution to the problem of visual representation" Tepperman, 244-245.
Hell Bound Train "depicts the devil as the train's engineer both driving his locomotive toward hell and tempting the sinner-passengers that occupy various cars on the train. The film is divided into episodes each one representing a different kind of sin or sinner and set in a corresponding car of the train" Tepperman, 233-234.
Also known as Footnote to Fact [As I Walk].
Total Pages: 169