Archive | January, 2012

A Normal Birth (1951)

31 Jan
Director Unknown
Producer Medical Arts Productions, Inc.
Contributors Unknown
Length 11 Minutes
B&W/Color B&W
UO Library Catalog description: A photographic record of the actual delivery in a normal birth.
Call # FILM Ma100
Genre Medical Education
Rare No
Online No
Copyright status Public Domain
Physical condition Fair
Oregon-related No

Notes: A Normal Birth is pretty self-explanatory. It is an update of a film made in 1950 meant as a revision to illustrate a normal example of childbirth through various photographic images. Lots of warpage in the film itself. Numerous splices would indicate that it was well used, possibly in an educational environment pertaining to medicine. Damage is less pronounced further into the reel. Slight acid deterioration.

The 1950’s was apparently a golden era for childbirth films. There are full DVD compilations of these types of movies available on DVD. Upon reviewing some of these films on YouTube, I’ve found that they all share a common trait: they depict childbirth as very painful, almost comically at times. A Normal Birth is unique  in its portrayal of the birthing process. It is significantly more documentarian, relying a on the static image and completely realistic visuals rather than taking any stance on the subject or dramatizing it in any way. This would further suggest its use in a formal educational environment. Collections of the more extreme 1950’s childbirth films can be found here.

Seductive Child (1960)

26 Jan
Director  Unknown
Producer  Unknown
Contributors  Unknown
Length  11 Minutes
B&W/Color  B&W
UO Library Catalog description:  Scenes of a young boy interacting with a young man; used to sensitize counselors to adult aberrant behavior.
Call # FILM Ma219
Genre  Experimental, Instructional
Rare  Yes
Online  No
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Good
Oregon-related  No


Seductive Child is a true orphan film. There is very little info available on the movie so the conclusions drawn about it are purely speculative in relation to attitudes towards pedophilia during the 1960’s. It features a group of children enamored with a James Dean-esque character riding a motorcycle. They follow as he drives down a road, calling after him and expressing their admiration. One child approaches the young man in a playful manner, asking to sit on the motorcycle. The man obliges and the child happily revs the engine. The man then gets off the motorcycle and proceeds to stand by a tree before beginning to touch himself as the child bounces up and down on the seat. The machine tips over, trapping the child underneath. The man comes over and picks it up off of him, but is pulled to the ground in the process. He grapples with the boy and they flip over back and forth on each other until the child plunges his thumbs into his eyes. The man gets up rubbing his eyes and the boy runs away. The other group of children convene and begin to throw rocks at the man as he drives away.

It’s interesting seeing who is the victim and the predator here. There is a certain amount of ambiguity presented in the film as to who is who. On the one hand the young motorcyclist does attempt to force himself on the child, but the boy himself is shown in a way that portrays him as the seducer. The character of the motorcyclist also sits in stark contrast to the “dirty old man” persona of pedophiles today. He is definitely not the type of person you would expect to be a child molester. This falls in line with the general attitude of pedophiles during the 60’s, which had a much different focus, centered on the unassuming young man or even family members. Children were also not always trusted in court during these times and skepticism over claims of molestation was prevalent due to a Freudian understanding of children’s sexuality, which framed child sexuality as by its very nature innocent, but always present and a potential liability for adults (source:

Below is a selection of stills from the film.

Dead Birds (1964)

26 Jan
Director  Gardner, Robert
Producer  McGraw Hill Films
Contributors  Harvard University Film Study Center
Length  84 min
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  Presents an ethnographic cross section of the life and customs of the Dani people of the Baliem Valley in West New Guinea, recording actual events that occurred during the Peabody Museum expedition of 1962
Call # FILM Mc316
Genre  Ethnographic
Rare  No
Online  No
Copyright status  ©McGraw Hill Films (1962)
Physical condition  Good
Oregon-related  No


The sound recorder for this film by the name of Michael Rockefeller disappeared shortly after production while doing field research in Netherlands New Guinea. He was declared legally dead in 1964. This disappearance has been deemed as one of the 20th century’s greatest mysteries. This film is a graphic real-life depiction of a New Guinea tribe that goes through the motions of war, death, agriculture, and traditional ceremony.

%d bloggers like this: