Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Watch This: The Ultimate Midcentury Modern Industrial Film


There are whole chapters of film history yet to be written about corporate and industrial films. These are films made for training, sales or other purposes. Generally these were shot by production bureaus who specialized in them. Such well-known filmmakers as Robert Altman and George Romero got their starts in "industrials."

There are even people, and I count myself among them, who are fans of these 16mm marvels. A good number of them can be found on archive.org, especially as part of the Prelinger Archive subcollection.

Here's what may be the ultimate industrial film. It is, in itself a goof on the industrial genre, made by a leading producer of such, and made, appropriately enough, as a sales tool. As time has marched on around it, we now find some real bite in its satire of the science of persuasion. The authoritative voice of the narrator, the stock footage and staged historical re-enactments all make us question the veracity of the propaganda that inundates us. It's also very funny.

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