Some of the records in our database link to videos that you can watch. Click on the films below.
"Nightsong is a dramatic story of a colored night club singer, Willie Wright, trying to make the big time and, most of all "to get people to like me." One evening while singing, his eyes rest on the face of a beautiful young white girl and his infatuation with her becomes unmistakable as the story unfolds. The film is 99% visual with a sound track that places great emphasis on the various moods of the young singer" PSA Journal, Sept. 1965, 50.
Watch: Via Chicago Film Archives
A family permits a lone hunter to stay in their cabin for the night. The hunter entertains the children with magic tricks. Later, the hunter's addition to the cabin sparks a debate over who will sleep in the cabin's beds.
"Sailing around Alaska." UC San Diego Library.
Watch: via UC San Diego Library
"An amateur film made by and starring the husband and wife duo, John & Evelyn Kibar. After Mrs. Kibar asks Mr. Kibar to throw away his old collectables, or “junk,” Mr. Kibar begins reflecting on past travels. Only later do we find out this travel sequence is actually just a dream." Chicago Film Archives
"Amateur film in one continuous shot parodying a talk show, where the guests promoting an Institute of Amateur Cinematographers (IAC) gathering in the next year get carried away with their enthusiasm, much to the chagrin of the host." Chicago Film Archives
"An amateur film made by and starring the husband and wife duo, John & Evelyn Kibar. The film follows John, a cake decorator, as he struggles to keep up with the bakery’s cake orders. Title cards with dialogue are dispersed throughout the film." Chicago Film Archives
Comedy about a psychiatric hospital patient who attempts an escape. Two inept hospital employees fail to retrieve the patient, allowing him to encounter a child whose scooter offers a chance at a faster getaway.
"Three men encourage people to follow rules set by the air raid warden in the event of an air raid. The rules are put to song, and some rules are depicted by actors." Chicago Film Archives
"An amateur film made by and starring the husband and wife duo, John & Evelyn Kibar. The couple visit an art gallery, where John proclaims he can make art just the same. Title cards with dialogue are dispersed throughout the film." Chicago Film Archives
"A two part travelogue featuring travel and industry highlights on the shores of Lake Michigan. Part one includes scenes of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin while part two includes travel highlights of Indiana and Michigan." Chicago Film Archives.
"Footage along the American River that was used to save the American River Parkway." Sacramento Public Library.
"Hansen travels to Hong Kong following his original visit to China in 1937. Initially, he spends much of his time roaming the commercial districts, giving a sense of tourism side of Hong Kong. Immediately following, he spends several minutes focusing on the skyline and captures footage of locations on the outskirts of the city. Hansen then spends the rest of the evening eating at a local cuisine and attending a show. For the remainder of his trip, Hansen shifts his attention from Hong Kong's tourist areas to the residential districts, fishing docks, and rural farming." UC San Diego Library.
Watch: via UC San Diego Library
""Our Day" is a smart, entertaining day-in-the-life portrait of the Kelly household, shown in both idealized and comic ways. This silent 16mm home movie uses creative editing, lighting and camera techniques comparable to what professionals were doing in Hollywood. His amateur cast was made up of his mother, wife, brother and pet terrier. "Our Day" also contains exceptional images of small-town Southern life, ones that counter the stereotype of impoverished people eking out a living during the Depression. The 12-minute film documents a modern home inhabited by adults with sophisticated interests (the piano, literature, croquet) and simple ones (gardening, knitting, home cooking). Kelly, a newspaperman, was also an accomplished photographer, painter, and writer. He began shooting film in 1929 and continued until the 1950s." Library of Congress (U.S.)
Watch: via archive.org
"Good teaching films are not easy to produce, and welding activities are not easy to film. In making this picture, Ray Garner and the Harmon Foundation have solved both problems in a highly satisfactory manner. The procedures are clearly and simply outlined in titles which are combined with unusually fine camera work, to produce a well integrated whole. Done almost entirely in closeups, the actual welding scenes show perfect exposure and, in many instances, very interesting angles. The film was made at Hampton Institute, in Virginia, and a student demonstrates the proper techniques in procedure. The title art work was especially good in this film, and the entire production showed the effects of a well organized plan and a careful procedure." Movie Makers, Dec. 1942, 509.
Watch: via National Archives
"Paracutin, by Ralph E. Gray, is probably the most complete and accurate record of Mexico's new world wonder yet to be produced on 16mm. film, even possibly in the 35mm. medium. Mr. Gray, long one of Mexico's most devoted American friends, was on the scene soon after the eruption broke out in a peasant's cornfield, and he has made four further trips to record changes and progress in the volcano's life. His superbly filmed footage presents the dramatic subject from every available viewpoint — even to seemingly dangerous closeups of the fiery rim — but it has been edited and is presented in strictly accurate chronological order. Human interest scenes of the effect of the giant cauldron on native life are plentiful and appealing, even to a striking sequence of the heavy dust deposits along the streets of Uruapan, more than thirty miles from the eruption. Paracutin is today a dramatic study of beauty and power; it should prove in the future to be a unique and valuable scientific record." Movie Makers, Dec. 1943, 474.
"This experimental film by Kenneth Anthony (credited as Ken Anthony) is a twist on the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. The main character, a young man, has a portrait of himself in a contemporary style. Over the course of the film, images of traditional paintings begin appearing on his body, much to his concern. After he leaves, his female companion is chased by the portrait. As more images appear on his body, the young man decides to destroy the portrait. He fails, however, and turns into a work of contemporary art himself. He is sent to a gallery by the women in the film, all of whom fall in love with the portrait. The final shot indicates that the portrait may come to life" Texas Archive of the Moving Image.
"En Patria Libre, Sergio García documentó los primeros logros de la revolución sandinista en Nicaragua. [...] Se trataba de un documental convencional, con una voz off (leída por Felio Eliel) sobre un momento de frescura y esperanza por el triunfo del Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional. El arranque del documental con una serie de imágenes de Sandino en alto contraste que culminan en la foto de un adolescente guerrillero (mientras que en la banda sonora se escucha a Pablo Milanés cantar "Los caminos") preludian el tono que se desarrollará sobre el caso de la revolución sandinista" (Vázquez Mantecón, 2012.)
"In Patria Libre [Free Country], Sergio García documented the first achievements of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua. It was a conventional documentary, with an off voice (read by Felio Eliel) about a moment of freshness and hope because of the triumph of the Sandinista National Liberation Front. The documentary begins with a series of highly contrasted images of Sandino that end with the picture of a guerrilla teenager (while the soundtrack plays "Los caminos" [The roads] by Pablo Milanés), which is a prelude to the tone that will be used to describe the Sandinista Revolution" (Vázquez Mantecón, 2012).
"The life cycle of the peach -- from peach blossom to peach pie" (Holmes, 2018).
"Seldom has an amateur embarked upon so formidable a production as did David Bradley when he and some friends decided to film Ibsen's Peer Gynt, using Grieg's music for background. This mystic drama is considered so difficult that it has been performed only twice in the American theatre; yet the task held no terror for this group. Fashioning their own costumes and finding suitable locations in suburban Chicago, Mr. Bradley's intrepid band has done an amazingly good job. It would be easy to visualize the result had the production been in less capable hands than those of Mr. Bradley, and it is to his great credit that such quaint characters as the Button Moulder and the many trolls and woodland sprites do not appear ludicrous. The chief fault in this tremendous undertaking is that Ibsen's gigantic play has been transliterated to the screen rather than translated. That is, Mr. Bradley, by his own admission, modeled his scenario as closely as possible on a work written expressly for the theatre. Had he taken more liberties with the dramatic form in favor of a more peculiarly cinematic treatment — as exemplified so strikingly in the fine Hall of the Mountain King sequence — there would have been no structural weaknesses in his film. With this fundamental concept firmly in mind, Mr. Bradley, recently turned twenty one, should scale the heights in his future productions." Movie Makers, Dec. 1941, 566.
"In Ultima Thule and Peggy's Cove, produced by Edward A. Bollinger, ACL, and Mrs. Bollinger, one finds what must be the ultimate in beautiful scenic photography, magically infused throughout with a sensitive feeling for the relationship of ordinary people to their natural backgrounds. Beyond the veritable perfection of many of the scenes in these pictures it seems impossible for camera and film to go, even when guided by skill and imagination as superb as Mr. and Mrs. Bollinger's. Compositions, cutting and sequence structure are incisive and stirring, while the title wordings and execution leave little to be desired in suave good taste. The two subjects are first and last reels of a four reel study of Nova Scotia, in which, it is understood, Mr. Bollinger has done the camera work and his wife the editing and titling. It is a happy combination, from which have resulted documentary reels of magnificent skill and breathtaking beauty." Movie Makers, Dec. 1935, 550.
Watch: via Nova Scotia Archives
"Story of murder during a treasure hunt." Movie Makers, Nov. 1933, 475.
Watch: via Archive.org
"We open with a little boy standing on a box in a telephone booth; his little friend is too busy or not of a receptive mood for the boy friend. Hurt as he is, he goes into the park and laments his failure to lure the young lady. He is about to resolve a life without women when a young (very young) girl comes into his perspective. His agile mind responds and he sets about to make an impression using many approaches of demure and sophisticated charm. His success was not exactly complete. Finally she visits the "girls" room. Her long delay is too much for the young man, so he makes another telephone call and hurriedly leaves the scene. The commentary is enhanced by the sophisticated French voice. This will be included in the Package" PSA Journal, Oct. 1962, 34.
"Dancers move in front of a background made up of crystal formations filmed through a microscope. One of Norman McLaren’s first experimental films." Library and Archives Canada.
"Porpoise Oil presents a cleverly planned and charming story that shows how the Indians of the upper St. Lawrence region live today and how their ancestors obtained oil from the porpoise of the neighboring bays. Dr. Leighton was fortunate enough to find an old Indian who, in his younger days, had been a champion porpoise hunter and the picture tells in Kodachrome how the fish was shot and the oil tried. This constitutes an important document of Indian craft that, otherwise, in time would be lost to the world. A touch of humor throughout and a surprise ending serve to spice the film and to make it the excellent study that it is instead of a routine record film. The continuity is well developed and the photography is of good quality." Movie Makers, Dec. 1937, 630.
"Portrait of a Young Man, by Henwar Rodakiewicz, ACL, is a triumph of fine photography and sensitive imagination. Abstract in treatment, and speaking through delicately rhythmed scenes of smoke, leaves, grasses, the sea, machinery and the heavens, this film is an attempt to portray in graphic terms a young man's reactions to the beauty, force and mystery of the natural world. In producing the final three reel version, Mr. Rodakiewicz has filmed deliberately toward the one end for more than three years and in many different locales. Although using largely material to be found in nature, he has so transmuted it, by the creative artistry of his selection and control, as to get from each selected scene, not a mere reproduced likeness, but a trenchant and symbolic image. Portrait of a Young Man is beautiful, exciting, workmanlike and distinguished." Movie Makers, Dec. 1932, 538.
"The mind and heart of Lydia are portrayed symbolically in smooth-flowing, single-framed drawings in this psychological study of a woman. A different film for the devotee of the experimental approach to motion pictures" PSA Journal, Oct. 1963, 42.
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"Pouring A 200 Inch Telescope Mirror, by Edmund H. Wellech, ACL, is a glorified industrial but greatly worthy as a clear record of one of civilization's milestones. Mr. Wellech's film, in addition to being an important scientific document, is, besides, a truly excellent cinematic achievement, for it makes an involved subject entirely understandable. The accomplishment of the single task of determining the correct exposure for scenes of molten glass against a dead black background is in itself a feat that would make the film outstanding. But, beside this, there are carefully worked out cinematic exposition and an approach to perfection in every aspect. As an engineer working at night for the Corning Glass Company, Mr. Wellech devoted his spare daytime hours to making this noteworthy film." Movie Makers, Dec. 1934, 546-547.
Watch: via YouTube
"Bituminous coal is the major actor in The Power Behind the Nation. This sound on film color movie, made by Waldo E. Austin for the Norfolk and Western Railway Company, shows effectively the tremendous part played by soft coal in the development of the nation. The picture is well filmed and thoroughly integrated by an excellent narrative, while lead and end titles are appropriately double exposed on shots of moving trains, which serve to drive home the point that the railroad is the important link between the mine and the consumer. Exceedingly fine sequences of coal mining and well handled shots of the railroad equipment are high points. This film is a fine example of an industrial motion picture produced without the excessive equipment and appropriations sometimes thought to be necessary for such an effort. " Movie Makers, Dec. 1940, 604.
"The story of a three-day whale watching trip in July 1991 from Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA, 100 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean to Georges Bank, to find and film sperm whales and six other species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), including the never-before-filmed North Atlantic Beaked Whale. Filmed and narrated by Dr. Robbins Barstow of Wethersfield, Connecticut, USA." Archive.org
Watch: via A/V Geeks (Archive.org)
"A Race for Ties" tells the story of a sawmill owner, Joe Atwood, and his race against a large timber company, headed by U. Cheetem, to sign an exclusive contract for railway ties. In addition to a plot driven by one of the region’s staple industries (the lumber industry), the film highlights the scenic nature of the region" - Michel S Beaulieu, Women Film Pioneers Project.
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