2 p.m. Sunday, April 25, 2015
53 Wall Street Auditorium
Rare treasures on 16mm from the collection of legendary film collector Herb Graff, featuring a conversation with Brian Meacham and Bennett Lovett-Graff
Film Notes by Brian Meacham

BONJOUR LE MONDE (Dir. Walter Welebit, 1982, 6 min.). Winner of a silver medal at the 24th International Film and Television Festival of New York, this short film is an example of the sponsored film, a promotional work commissioned, in this case by Air France, to advertise services, but more than that, to tell a story with artistry, emotion, and visual flair.

FILMING THE BIG THRILLS (Prod. Truman Talley, 1938, 10 min.) Part of a series of films entitled “Adventures of the Newsreel Camera- men,” this compilation examines the dangerous and unpredictable situations encountered by the men who filmed for the newsreels, from devastating floods in the midwestern United States to political upheaval in Europe and Africa.

TOP OF THE WORLD (Prod. E.M. Newman, 1933, 11 min.) Part of the “World Adventures” series distributed by Warner Brothers in 1932-33, this film examines life near the Arctic Circle, visiting Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland.

SANTA CLAUS SCHOOL IS OPENED (Official Films, 1960, 3 min.) One of more than 50 titles from the “Almanac Newsreel” series in the Graff Collection, this film provides a light-hearted look at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School, opened September 27, 1937, as well as other unusual Santa Clauses around the country.

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (Blackhawk Films, 1954, 11 min.) Blackhawk Films’ reconstruction of the original Fox Movietone 1927 interview of Sherlock Holmes author and noted spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is the only known filmed interview with the legendary writer.

MAKER OF WATER SKIS (R. & B. Productions, 1958, 6 mins.) This short follows Ed Reed of Worcester, Mass., pioneer waterskiier of the Maine Coast and creator of his own line of custom waterskis, known as “Ed Reed Specials.”

LIFE GETS TEEJUS, DON’T IT? (Snader Telescriptions, 1952, 4 min.) Western Swing musician Tex Williams, best known for his talking blues style, had a massive hit with “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette),” which held the number one spot on the BIllboard chart for six weeks in 1947. Here, he performs a typically downbeat and amusing song about the tedium of life.

THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS (Dir. Jack Chambers, 1941, 7 mins.) ”No book can be killed so long as one copy of it remains.” Produced for the British Ministry of Information, this propaganda film proudly contrasts the free, book-loving people of the U.K. and the book-burners of Nazi Germany.

CHILDREN OF OTHER LANDS: ROUMANIA (Post Pictures, 1926, 10 min.) Part of a series of films focusing on the lives of children around the world, this film examines peasant children in Romania, who, despite having “...for long years been the victims of neglect, depression and poverty,” are nevertheless “appealing and likable,” according to the introductory intertitles of this silent, tinted film.

LAND OF THE PYRAMIDS (Castle Films, 1951, 9 min.) This entry in Castle Films’ “World Parade” series is a home viewing version of a Universal Newsreel from 1950 titled LAND OF THE NILE. Castle Films became well-known as a distributor of 8mm and 16mm newsreels, comedy shorts, cartoons, and silent films condensed and repurposed for home use. The company’s films were sold through camera shops, department stores, and mail order catalogs, and in the days before VHS, were influential in inspiring young film buffs and collectors.

THE MONKEY AND THE ORGAN GRINDER (Snader Telescriptions, 1952, 3 min.) Tenor and actor Allan Jones, best remembered as the romantic lead in the Marx Brothers’ A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and A DAY AT THE RACES, sings one of his biggest hits.

BATTER UP (Dir. Robert Youngson, 1949, 10 min.) Prolific producer, director, and screenwriter (and two-time Oscar winner) Robert Youngson tells the story of professional baseball in the first half of the 20th century through the lens of American Presidents. See first pitches thrown out by Coolidge, Roosevelt, and others, and see stars like Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Johnny Vander Meer.

[TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX PROMOTIONAL FILM] (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1936, 7 min.) See Shirley Temple, Myrna Loy, Victor McLaglen, Darryl Zanuck, and more as the studio takes us inside their Hollywood backlot for a glimpse of films in production in 1936.

[SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS PROMOTIONAL FILM] (1963, 6 min.) A visit to the original Six Flags, in Arlington, Texas, soon after it opened in 1961, made to promote the park as a fun adventure for the entire family, including El Aserradero, the world’s first log flume ride.

DID YOU KNOW: Herb Graff credited seeing hte films of Charlie Chaplin at the Museum of Modern Art in New York with changing his life. "It stopped me from being a bum. Every time I went to the museum was one less time I went to the poolroom."

Presented in the Treasures from the Yale Film Archive series with support from Paul L. Joskow '70 M.Phil., '72 Ph.D. Printed Film Notes are distributed to the audience before each Treasures screening.

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Monday, April 10, 2023 - 2:07pm