"Hamilton H. Jones has again shown his marvelous ability to combine beautiful movies and fine music on the double turntable into a cinematic whole that, in New England Autumn, carries an audience through the calm delight of fall days to a climax that has great dignity and spiritual stimulation. We see autumn in its most restful and wistful mood, and the action is slowly paced in harmony with the dying year. There is leisurely strolling in the many hued woods. The leaves on the ground are scuffed through and gently scattered. We see the things that we all like to do in the forests in autumn. Finally, in an arresting sequence of autumn fruits — great, gleaming pumpkins and ruddy apples — the music turns to the inspiriting old Dutch hymn of thanksgiving. Rising first orchestrally and then voiced by a thousand singers, the chorus ends as our eyes are lifted to the simple spire of a New England church. Here is suavity, here is intelligent movie making and here are dignity and spiritual uplift." Movie Makers, Dec. 1947, 534.
"Lester F. Shaal demonstrates, in New England Frames, what editing of existing footage can achieve. He has compiled from scenes of numerous sections of the Northeast a record of the year's seasons. Although the opening sequence of a train departing in a snowstorm seems to presage a more dramatic theme than that which follows, Mr. Shaal has captured the flavor of the New England countryside in all its seasonal beauty. Particularly competent in the winter sequence are the smooth follow shots of skiers. A little streamlining in the overall coverage would not have impaired the attractions of even this land of the early settlers." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 468.
"L. Clyde Anderson was given an award for Color photography, for 'October By-Ways.' We want to congratulate Mr. Anderson for his selection of colors. It is one of the very first amateur pictures we have seen where color was really properly balanced. There were no harsh notes to distract, but he chose scenes where the ensemble blended and where there was a fine eye-resting blance of color and also color composition. It was obvious that Anderson used haze filters on his outside scenes as the sky does not have that postcard-blue effect, but has been reduced to almost a gray haze which helps the fall colors in the trees and does not take the eye away from the main points of interest." American Cinematographer, Jan. 1937, 37.
"Sunlight and morning noises, the rich, sweet smell of clover, the hot grain fields at midday and windmills drawing water from the deep earth — these are part of the common life of an Ohio farm that two young girls, Marjean and Mary Elizabeth Headapohl, have put into their film, On the Farm. It is a record as American in feeling as Walderts Pond, even though unconsciously so. Innumerable closeups show the generousness of the earth in Ohio, whether in flowers around the house or in the grain and vegetables of the fields. Day after day, the imponderable clouds drift by. Peas are shelled for dinner; the cows are brought in from the pasture by the collie dog; the farm hands return to the barn after a day of harvesting wheat. There is little more shown, in substance, and presently the film ends. But it leaves one with a conviction that this simple way of life in America cannot easily be changed, and that, as long as people of good hearts make records such as this, we cannot wholly forget that the Republic was founded on the plough." Movie Maker, Dec. 1940, 603-604.
"Herman Bartei has, in Pathetique, made another contribution in the special field which he shares with Walt Disney and Leopold Stokowski — that of setting music to film. In this process, the music is the absolute, to which the footage must conform. While Disney achieves his conformity with drawings, Bartei uses actual cinematography of natural scenes. Mr. Bartel's absolute in this instance is the first movement of Tschaikowsky's Sixth — or Pathetique — Symphony, which is played from start to finish on double turntables, while the film sets forth what its maker feels is an interpretation in motion pictures of the music. The footage consists of autumn scenes, whose subject matter and tempo are varied to agree with the musical expression. The success or failure of this type of effort must depend upon the universality of the conviction of unity between musical and scenic episodes. Mr. Bartei reaches several high spots, notably one in which swirling crows against an angry sky are in very real harmony with the musical statement. Other scenes of autumn mist are very apposite to Tschaikowsky's phrases. The synthesis as a whole is both convincing and emotionally exciting." Movie Makers, Dec. 1943, 474.
"Spring comes for John W. Ruddell and nature unfolds its little power plants of color and our cameraman has captured these beauties for us. The seed catalog heralds the coming of spring. The housewife busies herself with the new, pretty pages of flower pictures and goes into a bit of slumber. Then followed the results of a tremendous effort in filming single frame, time lapse growth of seeds, plants, trees, and flowers. This is not just another effort to make time lapse photography. The picture is sprinkled with unusual and amusing photographs of plant life and flowers, leaves grasses, carefully timed to the music. The choice and use of music in this picture does a great deal to enhance its effectiveness. A beautiful and delightful prelude to spring." PSA Journal, Nov. 1957, 32.
Prelude to Spring stands as the Canadian Film Awards' de facto Film of the Year for 1957 after the judges did not select a winner in the professional category.
"In Reflections, Henry E. Hird has followed the intelligent practice of revising footage shot when film was more plentiful, with the result that he has created a new and interesting synthesis by editing. On a winter evening, a man reflects on the joys and adventures of a past summer. Of an athletic disposition, he has swum, sailed and hunted. Interested in wild life, he has observed and filmed birds. From time to time, he adjusts a radio, to find music that expresses the moods of his reverie. Finally, he turns off the radio, the musical accompaniment ceases and the film ends in silence. With excellent cinematography and with a nice editorial sense, Mr. Hird has gathered interesting events into an entertaining whole." Movie Makers, Dec. 1944, 496.
"The first on the list, Rushes, 300 ft., 16mm., filmed by J. V. D. Bucher, is an unusual effort, for it presents a continuity theme woven about a single subject, the wild rice plants in a marsh. It well illustrates what distinctive subjects for amateur movie making are offered by scenes close at hand that are often ignored. It is a satisfyingly beautiful study of the rushes, telling the story of their resistance to the assaults of nature, climaxed with their defeat by fire. The plan offered a large number of exposure problems which were successfully handled. Of particular beauty are the scenes of the burning rushes, taken with a fast lens, and fog effects and closeups of the plants' plume like heads, taken with filters against cloudy skies. The continuity motif used is simple and yet unites the subject into a complete entity rather than a series of disjointed sequences which happened to be taken of the same subject." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 758.
"Russian Easter is a reverent and impressive film of the celebration of Easter in the Russian Orthodox Church and in the homes of Russians living in this country, all presented against the background of the birth of spring. Easter in the Russian Church is more closely associated with the coming of spring than it is in some other faiths, and the antiphonal cry, "Truly Christ is risen!" finds its response in leafing trees, budding flowers and virescent hillsides. Accordingly, this is a joyful film, filled with the gladness of Easter and of spring. The rich liturgy of the Easter season in the Russian Church is presented with intelligently planned sequences that span the time from the beginning of Lent to three days after Easter. Interwoven are sequences of home life, as the household prepares for the celebration and the feast at Easter. So, the picture actually consists of three themes — Easter in the church, Easter in a private home and the coming of spring, all interrelated by a masterly handling of film planning and editing. Outstanding scenes in this picture are the shots of Church of Alexander Nevsky in the winter snow, looking like a color print of old Russia, and the shots of the dinner, after Easter services, when family and guests eat the traditional Easter dishes. This latter sequence has particular grace and charm. Mr. Serebrykoff has made a sincere and delightful film that bolsters one's faith in the future of amateur movie making, for he has produced a brilliant picture that could be made only by an amateur in the full and accurate sense of the word — a film that would have been profaned by professionalism." Movie Makers, Dec. 1942, 489.
"Robert P. Kehoe accepted a strong challenge and secured a fine result in filming Snow on the Mountains. Filming so static a subject as snow forms, iced trees and wind storms on a mountain presents a real task of vitalizing the material. Mr. Kehoe has brought weird and beautiful life to the screen. This film, excellently scored to present the musical message suggested by the snow scenes, builds from the pleasantness of subdued ice and snow forms, through the almost animate figures created by winter on trees and bushes, to a breath taking climax of a snow storm on the mountain. Culminating the beautifully edited and intelligently filmed footage is an inspiring sequence of flaming powdered snow, reflecting the full crimson of the sunset. So remarkable is this action that the impression imparted is almost one of a cascade of liquid fire flowing across the screen. In order to secure many of the scenes, Mr. Kehoe stood so long in the snow that it was necessary actually to lift him into a motor car and to remove the cine equipment from his chilled hands at the end of his task." Movie Makers, Dec. 1944, 494.
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