in the late twentieth century, veteran filmmaker Don List honoured me
by passing on to me the collection of 16mm films which his father had
collected in the 1940s and 50s. A legendary nice guy, the elder Mr.
List once made it a hobby to share the miracle of movies with patients
in pre-tv hospitals. He’d also bring the Regina Beach community
together once per week to take a gander at the flickering images. It is
a collection of B-movies and short subjects which helped to inspire the
young Don to take up the craft himself. Last year, I had just begun to
probe through the piles of cans when I cobbled together the
“Politically Incorrect” screening. This years selection takes on a
different, and probably more wide ranging theme which runs through
these films. They show us the war and post-war image of what men are
supposed to be made of (that’s World War II, for those of you less
familiar with that century).
Masculinity did not need to be suppressed in those days. Whatever
impulses a man had were probably justified and correct. He must protect
his girl, fight off adversaries and prove that each of us can be the
best. It is okay to belittle our enemies for they are inferior to us.
It is okay to kill our prey because they are a threat to us. We cannot
fail if the love of a woman lies in the balance because she is what
makes us strong.
I feel I must point out that I do not mean to belittle these films
through tonight’s screening. I enjoy movies and have fun watching the
new and old alike. However, we are not the innocent spectators of
bygone days. Within the modern context, these films contain
“unacceptable” ideologies which would prevent many of them from every
reaching an audience again. By presenting them in this way, we can find
entertainment in two ways. From the original “art” which went into
them, and from the irony we cannot avoid when we open our eyes and see
the shadow of our yesterday’s self.
Gerald Saul - curator, January 21, 2000
Program (times are approximate)
The Good Scout (6 minutes)
Director Ub Iwerks brought us this playful cartoon which proves that a
boy scout is without equal if his girl is in trouble. Chivalry never
dies in black and white.
Trailer for Dick Tracy meets CueBall (2 minutes)
Dick, with his viral full head of hair (or is that a hair helmet) faces the most disgusting foe yet.
Always Trust A Lifeguard (25 minutes)
In which our heroic male gets everything he wants, a girl and tires for
the car. Sponsored by Goodyear, this film puts plenty of rubber into a
Jailbait (12 minutes)
In which Buster Keaton proves to what length he will go to win the girl
of his dreams. Keaton is not the stereotypical macho man. However, all
typecasting is thrown to the wind when his virility needs to be proven.
If Keaton can prove to the audience that he is the best man for her,
then certainly she will see that too. Her dreams do not seem to be an
issue, as the audience is led to assume that a pretty girl will marry
whomever approaches her with an engagement ring. Fortunately, the men
in the audience are saved from seeing the deflating rejection which
occurs in the scene following the end credits.
unknown title - fishing documentary, excerpts (10 minutes)
A group of very macho men help to rid the sea of all of its dangers.
Aided by some “monkey boys” from the Dominican Republic, manta rays,
turtles, sharks and sword fish are all captured with thrilling ease.
The ill-informed nature of the ever-present voice-of-god-style narrator
is revealed when he tells us about how sharks are scared by commotion.
This documentary spills no information, only blood.
unknown title - war comedy (30 minutes)
Parking our 21st century enlightenment at the door.
I have as yet found only the second reel of this wartime comedy in
which submarine-based soldiers find themselves in the enviable position
of having Hitler and friends right where they want them. While
certainly a crowd pleaser for soldiers in action, each scene is more
absurd than the last. The American view of Emperor Hirohito, and all
Asian people for that matter, is less than subtle as he seemingly
transformed into an ape. Mussolini has rarely been portrayed as more of
a buffoon. In many ways, these sorts of films were a necessity for
soldiers, making them feel superior to the enemy which faced them in
the most real way every day.
God Save The King
Please stand...... or not..
[Mexican-Sp., f. mach(o masculine + -ismo -ism.]
The quality of being macho; male virility, masculine pride. Also attrib.
1948 B. Griffith Amer. Me 50 Machismo makes a boy swear big round oaths as a youngster.
1969 J. Mander Static Society i. 56 The exaggerated masculinity, the famous machismo, of the Mexican.
1969 A. Marin Rise with Wind v. 63 The bus driver..drove with Latin machismo through a tangle of narrow streets.
Ibid. x. 125 A eunuch was without machismo, that peculiar combination
of pride and virility that was the essence of manliness.
1973 Gagnon & Simon Sexual Conduct (1974) viii. 251 In the prison, toughness may substitute for intercourse as a measure of machismo.
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