Saturday, July 4, 2009

Film strips live! A favorite YouTube poster's offerings

Moving through a YouTube poster’s account is indeed like sifting through their video collection. And the gent known as Filmstripman certainly has a cool collection.

I came across his account when I saw a thumbnail for a film intended for viewing in school, a filmed record of Shirley MacLaine reading a book when she was quite adorable (1965). The fact that filmstripman’s copy bounces at various points and is a bit worse for the wear doesn’t make any difference, since the story time lady at your local library was never this eye-catchin’:

Filmstripman’s clips are indeed from film originals and that becomes apparent when you view his silent cartoons. In these uploads you can actually hear the projector, as in this bit of Felix the Cat:

He includes a few cartoons in his uploads, and one that is available elsewhere in a pristine version, but is still delightful in his 16mm rendition, is “A Picture for Harold’s Room” directed by animation legend Gene Deitch. The source, of course, is a work by the great Crockett Johnson (creator of the awesome, and unjustly forgotten, “Barnaby” strip):

FSM (as filmstripman can more easily be referred to) also has put up a number of commercials and trailers. Among them I prize this one for Chaste, “the feminine hygiene deodorant.”

Any pitch by Sam the Man must be honored. Here’s he on about taking care of your eyes (ouch):

And this terrific trailer for the perfect film Badlands by Terrence Malick, set to “A Blossom Fell”:

FSM’s specialty, though, are educational films, and perhaps the two finest (I’ve only sampled a scant few — if anyone has any other recommendations, please pass them on) both curiously concern the subject of female puberty, and how young girls should be instructed in all things menstrual. The first such brilliant artifact is “Linda’s Film on Menstruation” (apparently shot here in NYC). It’s a “women’s lib”-era discussion of the topic that boys could watch if they could stand it (their stand-in is gawky boyfriend Jonathan Banks, an all-purpose character actor who was memorable on the great show Wise Guy). The great thing about the film is that, although it is about awkwardness with the topic, it creates its own awkwardness (as when one woman announces, “I flow very heavily”). There is a weird To Tell The Truth fantasy sequence, another scene showing girls how to buy tampons and, well, it’s just very special. And, need I add, extremely dated:

Along with the “Linda” film, FSM as posted another classic on the topic of girls’ puberty, Dear Diary. I have this winner on VHS, but have never presented it on the show, although it really has needed to be shown to a wider audience. Thus I can definitely recommend you check out this educational pic, which is made to play like a jaunty afterschool special. The girls joke around, teach each other how to kiss a boy (and how it will make you feel “down there”), ask the magic question in the halls of their school (“didja get it yet?” meaning their first period), and there’s a really, REALLY amazing visit to a dressing room where a creepy woman with a British accent lectures two teen friends on the different kinds of breasts (it’s meant to be comedy, but man, is it sorta perched right there on the edge…). Anyway, drink it in, it’s nuts (and it’s from 1981, so again, it’s a nice little bit of dated craziness).

Since FSM has mostly put up materials that are suitable for family viewing, it’s interesting to note he’s put up an uncensored version of a film that I had posted a clip from many months ago. The film in question is a sensory-assault short directed by a gent named Anthony Stern called “San Francisco 1968” that shows footage from that time and that place, set to an alternate version of “Interstellar Overdrive” by the Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett at the helm). Stern had been the assistant director on the film Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London and presumably had access to the audio tracks for the film for his short. The film is mesmerizing, but I had used only an excerpt from it on YT, as I wasn’t sure if the filmmaker was still alive and would be pissed that his film was included in its entirety on the dubious creation that is YT. Also, there is some very prominent and pleasant female nudity in the pic, and I figured YT would manufacture another one of their typically American jeez-I’m-scared-of-the-human-body “violations” against it.

FSM is undeterred, however (although I would advise all YT posters not to note in their comments field that they’ve got elements in the clip that YT ordinarily rejects). For this, I salute him and I urge you to watch the freakin’ thing in full screen and just let the colors swim around your eyeballs. Your mind will disengage somewhere in the first few minutes, and then it’s just all image. One wonders what Mr. Stern got up to after he did this short….

[And again, as I posted below, be aware of the strong powers of, should you want to preserve any of the fine offerings you see on Youtube.]

Part one:

Part two:

1 comment:

Chris Sobieniak said...

Too bad Filmstripman's long gone.