Flying the Airplane of Tomorrow in 1948 Popular Science Film


Northrop’s Flying Wing was a spectacular monoplane built in 1947. Apparently, people had visions of putting bars into these things and flying lots of comfortable passengers around. Too bad flying never became this luxurious at all. This promotional film from the Popular Science series has some gorgeous make believe shots inside the aircraft.

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!




The Moon: 1965 Soviet Film by Pavel Klushantsev


In 1965 Pavel Klushantsev made this Soviet film about how a voyage to the moon might happen. I’ve seen and posted other footage from this great science fiction director, but this is interesting because its color has been restored to saturated magnificence. Don’t worry that you can’t understand the Russian language. Just watch and enjoy the 60s communist enthusiasm! You will be treated to astronauts cavorting on the lunar surface while wearing space suits that look to me like nearly perfect adaptations from popular speculative illustrations of the time. The technical detail of this film is really quite amazing. NASA might want to refer to it while trying to re-acquire its lost Apollo knowledge.

It is apparent that Kubrick had his eye on this director’s work as he prepared to make 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you know that film, you will catch the shots I’m talking about.