Archive | March, 2012

Natural Timber Country (1972)

20 Mar
Director  Ron Finne
Producer  Teknifilm
Contributors
Length  53 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  Tells the story of the logging industry in Oregon, with emphasis on older logging techniques.
Call #  FILM MD24
Genre  Documentary
Rare  No
Online  No
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  Yes

Notes:

Natural Timber Country was filmed by Oregon native Ron Finne and is the story of old-time logging in the forests of the Northwest. The film was originally available only by mail order from the director’s home in Springfield.

The film lacks a traditional narrator, instead giving us interviews with loggers taped in the field or their homes. To help us visualize the words of the loggers, Finne edits them together with shots of the Northwestern wilderness, both in Oregon and Washington. Also featured is old footage and photographs of loggers stump-rigging trees, skidding felled logs down greased tracks, and one of the first mechanical improvements in the logging business, a steam powered engine for moving larger timber. Also recalled are stunts and jokes of the loggers, such as standing at the very tip top of a limbed and topped tree, or jumping from one log to another as they rolled down a hill.

Above all, the message of the Natural Timber Country is an environmental one. As one man says at the outset of the film. “Timber all around you, you just never figure you’d use it up.”

We have multiple films in the University of Oregon archives made by Ron Finne, a Eugene/Springfield, OR local.  We own films of his including The Whale (1971) and Tamanawis Illahee Rituals and Acts in a Landscape (1983)

Zlateh The Goat (1973)

20 Mar
Director  Gene Deitch
Producer  Weston Woods Inc.
Contributors  Consultation – Maurice Sendak, Original Story – Isaac Bashevis Singer
Length  20 minutes
B&W/Color  Black and White
UO Library Catalog description:  A heartwarming story about a little boy and his heroic family goat who must survive stranded in a harsh blizzard
Call #  FILM MB192
Genre  Feature
Rare  No
Online  Yes
Copyright status  Protected
Physical condition  Poor
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

Zlateh The Goat is an adaptation of a children’s story from Israel, written in 1966 by Isaac Bashevis Singer. In order to survive in a time with little work, a man sends his son Aaron to the butcher with the family goat, Zlateh. On their way to town, a terrible blizzard sets in, and they are forced to take shelter in a haystack, where Zlateh keeps Aaron alive for three days with her warmth and milk. When Aaron returns to his family alive, they are overjoyed, and decide to keep Zlateh after all.

The characters of the film remain silent, while light music and the amiable voice of a narrator keep us informed of the story.

The film is directed by Gene Deitch, known for his animated work on Tom & Jerry and Popeye.

Maurice Sendak, renowned creator of Where The Wild Things Are, and original illustrator of the print edition of Zlateh The Goat, is credited as a creative consultant.

High-Speed Motion Pictures of the Human Vocal Cords (1940)

20 Mar
Director
Producer  Bell Telephone Laboratories
Contributors  Motion Picture Library, American Medical Association
Length  12 minutes
B&W/Color  Black and White
UO Library Catalog description:  Illustrates apparatus developed for high speed photography of the human vocal cords. Describes briefly the position and action of vocal cords. Presents mirror views of normal larynx during production of sounds of different intensity and pitch. For laryngologists.
Call #  FILM MB294
Genre  Instructional
Rare  Yes
Online  No
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

This silent film documents (using Bell Telephone Lab’s patented down-the-throat camera) the physical motions of human vocal cords while at rest and while producing different notes and pitches. Also recorded are the effects of helium gas on the vocal cords.

How The Eye Functions (1941)

20 Mar
Director  Karl Kurt Bosse
Producer  Knowledge Builders Films
Contributors  Supervision of McRory Studios
Length  12 minutes
B&W/Color  Black and White
UO Library Catalog description:  Illustrates the functions of the various parts of the eye and explains focal adjustment. Includes animated drawings.
Call #  FILM Ma2
Genre  Instructional
Rare  Yes
Online   Yes
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

A classroom film from the 1940’s, How The Eye Functions is a short, partially animated feature that explores the intricacies of the human eye, including the machinations of the cornea, iris, retina, and tear ducts. It explains concepts such as focal adjustment and eye rotation. The film features sound and music, opening with an overture of “The Blue Danube.”

Right Wing Machine (1978)

20 Mar
Director  Uncredited
Producer  Maurer, Fleisher, Zon & Anderson, Inc.
Contributors  AFL-CIO Committe on Political Education
Length  23 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  This relates the growing threat of right wing political activity aimed at defeating labor’s friends in Congress and at other levels of government and replacing them with anti-worker ultra-conservatives. It describes the tactics and techniques of politically active right wing groups
Call #  FILM MB296
Genre  Political Film
Rare  Yes
Online  Yes, partially
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

This is a pro-union film distributed by the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.  Animated segments mixed with live shots of an imposing and deep voiced narrator to deliver what the producers considered critical information about the right-wing political group and how it conducts its business.

The film is full of scathing criticism, sometimes bordering on mockery, of the right-wing, including a look inside their “propaganda workshops” where large punch-card operated computers (brand new at the time) process information about the voting public.

Growing Up Japanese (1975)

20 Mar
Director  Michael Berger
Producer  Gordon Newsfilms Inc., The U.S. – Japan Trade Council
Contributors  Released by Modern Talking Picture Service, Inc.
Length  25 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  Helps promote an understanding of the Japanese people and way of life by examining Japanese ways of learning to get along together
Call #  FILM MC228
Genre  Documentary
Rare  Yes
Online  No
Copyright status  Public Domain
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

Growing Up Japanese was released by the U.S. – Japan Trade Council (now known as the U.S. – Japan Business Council) to promote good relations between Japan and the United States.

The film is prefaced with this announcement, as required by the Counterespionage Section of the National Security Division of the U.S. Government:

“This material is prepared, edited, issued, or circulated by Charles Von Lowenfeldt, inc., San Francisco, which is registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as an  agent of the Japanese government through the U.S.-Japan Trade Council, which is also registered under the FARA. The Japanese Government provides almost all funding for the council. Dissemination reports on this film are filed with the Department of Justice. This statement is made in compliance with the FARA.”

This sort of statement was common, at the time, for films produced by foreign governments but released in the United States. However, it’s requirement by the National Security Division and its mention of dissemination reports provide a sour and suspicious note at the beginning of an otherwise pleasant documentary.

An American woman narrates the film with an even voice as we see many facets of the young Japanese students life in Japan. We watch them study, play baseball, and perform morning aerobic exercises (a daily ritual which carries through to adult life in the workplace).  Students engage in a balloon popping relay and other activities, not unlike spirit-weeks of students in the United States. Later, students take difficult tests and decide which advanced schools to enter based on their grades. Schools are very competitive in Japan, and some students develop phobias and aversions to the rigorous testing regimen.

The film emphasizes a particular focus on the sense of community shared by the Japanese. Although very different countries, the viewer is encouraged to draw positive parallels between Japan and the United States.

A Year Towards Tomorrow (1966)

16 Mar
Director Edmund A. Levy
Producer Edmund A. Levy
Contributors Sundial Films Inc., The Office of Economic Opportunity
Length  25 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description: Follows Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) on their one year assignments. Two women go to a Navajo reservation in Arizona, while a man goes to a poor district of Atlanta, Georgia.
Call # FILM MC154
Genre  Feature
Rare  No
Online  Yes
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition  Poor
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

This film is commonly referred to as a documentary, but is actually a re-enactment of true events after their conclusion, although the characters are portrayed by the original VISTA volunteers themselves. The VISTA organization is a national service program specifically aimed at fighting poverty. Vista members commit to one-year assignments in poor communities around the country.

The film follows three volunteers as they settle into the communities they’ve been assigned to. Two women go to Lukachukai, Arizona to join a Navajo reservation. There they attempt to teach the residents how to speak English, sow clothing, and to make the best use of their government-issue food provisions. Meanwhile, a young man arrives in a poor African-American district of Atlanta, Georgia. There his goal is to start a tenant union and also to assist in the education of the neighborhood youth, some of whom rarely set foot in school.  Many of the residents are resilient to the program, and the volunteers must use compassion and wit before they can even begin to help their charges.

Of particular note is the dry narrative delivered by Academy award winner and entrepreneur Paul Newman.

This film won an Oscar for best documentary short at the 39th Academy Awards Ceremony in 1967.

The Springtime of Autumn (1971)

16 Mar
Director Bruce Bittle and Bud Lawrence
Producer Oregon Center for Gerontology
Contributors Oregon State Program on Aging, Administration on Aging (Washington, D.C.)
Length  20 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description: Follows volunteers from the Foster Grandparents Program as they work with and teach developmentally disabled children from Fairview Hospital and Training Center in Salem, OR
Call # FILM MB221
Genre  Documentary
Rare  Yes
Online  No
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  yes

Notes:

This film documents the Foster Grandparents Program set up by the Oregon Center for Gerontology. The program is designed to couple senior citizens with mentally challenged youth in a one-on-one setting. This serves not only as a learning aid for the children, but also as therapy for the older generation.

In a review published in The Gerontologist magazine, University of Oregon’s own Professors Carl Carmichael and Larry Wittnebert had this to say about the film:

“Seeing a ‘Grandmother’ teach a retarded child how to thread a wire through a spool or a ‘Grandfather’ prepare a physically handicapped child for swimming therapy causes the viewer to transcend the specific material at hand, and consider such things as the appropriateness of some of the normal characteristics of aging in dealing with the special problems of these children. The film subtly but clearly leads the viewer to consider how the elderly are especially well equipped to fill some of the gaps in our present medical assistance systems with a little extra patience, compassion, child-rearing experience, and time.”

Soft guitar music accompanies the film, provided by musician Dick Cooley.

The film was primarily shot at Fairview Hospital in Salem, and includes scenes from a visit to the Portland Zoological Gardens.

Meditation Crystallized (1973)

16 Mar
Director  Elda Hartley
Producer  Elda Hartley
Contributors  Hartley Productions
Length  13 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  Explores the connection between Tibetan meditation and art, as told by Lama Govinda.
Call # FILM MB206
Genre  Documentary
Rare  Yes
Online  No
Copyright status Unknown
Physical condition  Fair
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

This film is an attempt to connect the mesmerizing art of Tibetan monks and the underlying meditative philosophy, as explained by Lama Anagarika Govinda (1898-1985). Govinda was an artist, author, and one of the western world’s foremost expositors on the traditions and expressions of Tibetan Buddhism. As Lama Govinda puts it, this art is the result of centuries of meditation crystallized.

The film is constructed primarily of candid interviews with Govinda in the Tibetan Nyingmapa Meditation Center in Berkeley, CA., and also detail shots of lavish Tibetan art pieces from the Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY.

Building Children’s Personalities with Creative Dancing (1953)

16 Mar
Director Frank Goldsmith
Producer University Extension/University of California
Contributors Written by Laurence Frank, Jr. and Gary Goldsmith
Length 30 min.
B&W/Color Color
UO Library Catalog description: Demonstrates dancing as an approach to personal development through art.
Call # FILM Mc16
Genre Instructional/Documentary
Rare YES
Online NO
Copyright status PUBLIC DOMAIN
Physical condition FAIR
Oregon-related NO

Notes:

The film is an ethnographic study of children’s dancing with an interpretive voice-of-god narrative to describe the intent, hopes, and desires of the researchers. Dancing was instructed by Gertrude Knight, a dance instructor who worked for Children’s Music Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Children’s Music Center writes of itself, “More than a record shop….a center staffed by consultants trained to help parents and teachers select the finest records and books for any age, from pre-school to beyond the university. Here you will not find the trite or the violent; only what stimulates children to move, listen, play an instrument, relax or create. We are especially proud of our tremendous collections of material on history and contributions of Black and Spanish-speaking Americans; the best of our own heritage, and that of people everywhere.” Source

This knowledge of Knight’s background helps explain the music selection used by experimenters, which is not your run-of-the-mill rock ‘n roll.

BFI’s description: “Made to demonstrate an approach to personal development through art—in this instance dancing. At first, like most children, a group of boys and girls are embarrassed and tense. A teacher skillfully guides and praises each child toward a unique personal and improvised style.”

Read about how Gertrude Knight touched the life of Lottie Jenvey, here.

Read another personal account of one of Knight’s former students, who learned to dance creatively at a summer camp in 1958.

Also contributing to the film, Edgar Brokaw—former Professor of Film and Television, Emeritus at UCLA. He passed away in 2002, but left a legacy in producing 71 films. Learn more about his life here and here.

The film was written by Lawrence Frank, Jr. and Gary Goldsmith. It is possible that Lawrence Frank, Jr. is the one mentioned in an obituary here—Frank and Goldsmith would go on to co-produce The Goldseeker (1956), a short western film (Source).

Read a 1968 news clipping that mentions the film in conjunction with special education films.

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