Secret Cinema: Archive Discoveries, Unseen Curiosities
New chapter of ARCHIVE DISCOVERIES: UNSEEN CURIOSITIES FROM THE SECRET CINEMA COLLECTION at Rotunda
On Thursday, September 12, The Secret Cinema will return to the Rotunda with another chapter of our ongoing series, ARCHIVE DISCOVERIES: UNSEEN CURIOSITIES FROM THE SECRET CINEMA COLLECTION. Once again we'll feature a mélange of fascinating short films from the past. As we go through our collection, reel by reel, we continually find films that don't necessarily lend themselves to fitting into a themed group, yet are too interesting, or fun, or funny to not share. None have been shown in previous Secret Cinema programs. Indeed, few of these films are likely to have been seen ANYWHERE in recent years.
While the program as a whole has no dedicated theme, there will be a special look at the fascinating "Technocracy" movement of the twentieth century, it being the subject of TWO longer (and very rare) shorts that we'll show.
There will be one complete show at 8:00 pm. Admission is free.
As always -- still -- Secret Cinema programs are shown using 16mm (not video, not digital) FILM projected on a giant screen.
A few highlights from this new edition of ARCHIVE DISCOVERIES… include:
BROOKLYN GOES TO HONG KONG (1958) - Those who have viewed another favorite Secret Cinema film, BROOKLYN GOES TO PHILADELPHIA, will have an idea of the tone of this series, in which a Brooklyn-accented wise guy makes fun of various travel destinations. Meanwhile, we get a nice look at the then-independent city of Hong Kong, and its neon-lit nightlife…and a cameo appearance of Burgess Meredith?
MYSTERY OF THE RIVER BOAT, CHAPTER 4 (1944) - A typical episode of a 1940s cliffhanger serial, this one involving stolen maps, murder, dynamite and hidden oil deposits in a Louisiana swamp.
THE STORY OF ENGLISH INNS (1932) - This vintage topical short from Paramount takes an entertaining look at traditional lodging around the British countryside, ranging from modern (as of 1932) to inns hundreds of years old.
OPERATION COLUMBIA (1947) - Technocracy was a word on everyone's lips in the 1930s. It described a philosophy that the world should be controlled by technical experts rather than elected bureaucrats. That's the short version, and its espousers spun off a lot of complicated theories about world economies, productivity versus consumption, and "an energy theory of value," which many found confusing. Nonetheless, their ideas gained considerable traction during the great depression -- especially after Howard Scott founded a publicity-savvy organization called Technocracy Incorporated. Their officials wore grey uniforms with "monad" logos on the lapels, and members reportedly saluted Scott in public. While membership declined after New Deal policies restored some faith in more traditional methods of governance, interest in the movement continued, as documented in this remarkable film. It offers no explanation of the group's beliefs, but instead chronicles a huge motorcade from Los Angeles to Vancouver, a show of strength that also promoted a series of lectures Scott delivered in cities along the way. The convoy included hundreds of members' automobiles -- each one dutifully repainted in official Technocracy grey with large, red Technocracy Inc. logo decals applied to the sides. Surprisingly, Technocracy Inc. exists to the present day, though in greatly diminished form.
TECHNO-CRAZY (1933) - While technocracy got a lot of press coverage in its early-1930s heyday, it also suffered a fair amount of lampooning in the media, as seen in this delightful two-reel comedy starring slapstick veterans Monty Collins and Billy Bevan. As was typical in criticism of technocracy, much of the humor centered on followers not being able to effectively explain what technocracy was. 1933 was the year of peak parody for the movement; at least one other comedy short about the movement was released then, YOUR TECHNOCRACY AND MINE, starring famous humorist Robert Benchley. Animator Ub Iwerks made the 1933 cartoon TECHNO-CRACKED, but limited any satire to its title.
Plus much, much more!
SECRET CINEMA WEBSITE: http://www.thesecretcinema.com
Admission is FREE