The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights: Russian Fairytale Animation


This is a 1951 Russian animation of an 1833 fairytale poem written by Alexander Pushkin that is based upon the classic Grimms tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was directed by Ivan Pyetrovich Ivanov-Vano, known as the ‘patriarch of Soviet animation.’

You can read Pushkin’s The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights.

The film is in Russian so you can use the YouTube settings to turn on English subtitles.

Monsanto House of the Future in 1957 Tomorrowland


This is more interesting than it looks. Monsanto – yes, that evil company that takes dirt and turns it into a lawyer – worked with Disney to build a house of the future in Disneyland. It was intended to show how plastics would revolutionize home building. Apparently, the house was so strong that when Disney tore it down at the end of the sixties they could not break the outer shell with wrecking balls.

My primary interest in the film, aside from the mentally challenged smiling morons that inhabit Monsanto’s future vision, is the fascinatingly awkward focus on comfort as the primary aspect of life in the future. I think a great new science fiction film could be made by some nutty director who would look at the future of industrial films like this one for inspiration. It could be the antidote to the completely bleak, dystopian, post-apocalyptic dumb soup being offered by witless filmmakers like Neill Blompkamp. The thudding incomprehensibility of such work must eventually be counteracted by a house of the future and people who think they are happy!




Science Friction: 1959 Experimental Film by Stan Vanderbeek


This is an amazing and beautiful film by pioneering American experimental filmmaker Stan Vanderbeek. His work encompassed collage animations, live events, and early experiments with computer graphics.

The technological explosion of this last half-century, and the implied future are overwhelming, man is running the machines of his own invention… while the machine that is man… runs the risk of running wild. Technological research, development, and involvement of the world community has almost completely out-distanced the emotional-sociological (socio-“logical”) comprehension of this technology. The “technique-power” and “culture-over-reach” that is just beginning to explode in many parts of the earth, is happening so quickly that it has put the logical fulcrum of man’s intelligence so far outside himself that he cannot judge or estimate the results of his acts before he commits them…

Stan Vanderbeek


1958 Mike Wallace Interview with Brave New World Author Aldous Huxley

Mike Wallace talks to ‘Brave New World‘ author Aldous Huxley, focusing on the danger of slipping into totalitarian government as a result of overpopulation, increasing hierarchical organization of people in corporate structures, and improper use of television and subliminal advertising. He continually refers to the similarity between the methods of advertising agencies and those of political dictators.

Wallace: …and we’ll be persuaded to vote for someone that we do not know we are being persuaded to vote for?

Huxley: Exactly, I mean this is the rather alarming feature… that you are being persuaded below the level of choice and reason.

Perhaps that explains the election of George W. Bush, a raging drunk without the slightest education – a psychopathic false cowboy with delusions of a holy mission to invade the Middle East. It was national suicide. The election of Bush was the worst thing to happen to the United States since the Civil War and it cannot be explained by logic. The world is only at the beginning of decades spent recovering from the criminality and death unleashed by Bush. I think Huxley might have said that Bush was the easily predictable outcome of uncontrolled corporatization. Every corporation likes to push dull-witted and unimportant people into middle management positions where they can function as the tiered facade standing between the board members and the Chinese slave camps.

Robinson Crusoe: 1954 Feature Film Directed by Luis Buñuel

Spanish film director and original member of the Surrealist movement, Luis Buñuel, directed this version of Daniel Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe‘ in 1954. It’s a very good and straightforward telling of the story with a totally convincing island locale. The Defoe novel is now more important reading than it’s ever been. That’s because it is the greatest story ever told about being alone with one’s self. All you have to do is live in Los Angeles for a while with your eyes open to understand how few people want to ever be alone with themselves. You see this problem with people very clearly when they break up with significant others and immediately slide into whatever relationship presents itself. It signifies a profound weakness of mind and character. Defoe wrote about the intricate workings of a mind alone with itself and the unexpected joys and truths one discovers in one’s self. So, read the book. It’s a tough book, full of very fine sentences and very subtle thought. Give it a try.

If you are so inclined, you can listen to the entire book right here because I sat down and read the whole thing into a microphone several years ago. But I suggest you listen now and then while making your way through the book on your own.

Here’s an article on Luis Buñuel at the Senses of Cinema site.