IT”S SHOCKING, IT”S THRILLING, IT”S HIDEOUS, IT”S Mr. 8 mm PRESENTS history of 8mm: volume 9: Newsreels a (mini) history of the sub genre: 1930’s? At MAYSLES CINEMA 5/17/13 Reviewed by David Huberman Getting out of the subway at hundred and twenty fifth street, a mild may spring night greeted me in Harlem. I walked over to the Maysles cinema, which looked more like a storefront art gallery than a film house.
The person taking admission was polite and efficient. And, better yet, gave off an aura of friendliness. Mr. 8mm greeted me at the door and mildly said. “Have a seat”. I saw two friends and sat down next to them. I looked at my watch; it was 7:25pm, five minutes to go. I observed that the Maysles cinema has about seventy seats or so, a small theater that’s clean and comfortable. My eyes were getting used to the semi darkness and I couldn’t help but notice that only half the seats were taken. I wondered if. Mr.8mm would wait around past the 7:30 starting time to see if more people would show up, but he didn’t. He closed the doors, came in front of us and announced the format of the super eight/regular eight mm films that he was showing and there would also be a Q&A at the end of the program. With that task done, Mr. 8mm ran to the back of the cinema, went into the projection booth and started the program. Before each film, he would state the title, if it was super eight or regular eight mm, sound or silent, how many minutes it would be and what company made it. I’ve seen in the past few years, film programs by Mr.8mm, and sometimes they were very good and sometimes they were not. But this particular program for me was magical. It was just a fantastic night. It was FUN. First off, there were no mechanical problems during this performance. It can’t be easy dealing with old super/ regular eight mm films and running two vintage projectors. I would imagine that you have to have skill and luck to pull off a good program. There’s extraordinary alchemy going on here, showing super eight/regular eight mm films found in west coast flea markets and garage sales on a big screen. Sure, you might be able to locate on the internet some of these newsreels, but to see it on a small computer desk top monitor is kind of a blasphemy. I have to admit my inner child did come out during the program especially during “the Tacoma Bridge disaster newsreel” (regular super eight, castle film, 12mins long) Were there people in the car? And did they get out alive? Watching these old newsreels I could only compare the feeling I got to like discovering a golden age comic book in my collection that I forgot I had. Another factor that made this program so special to me .Mr. 8mm’s choice of films and newsreels. All of them were very riveting and exciting, I especially liked “News Thrills of 1944, Volume one “(Official films, reg 8mm, silent, b&w, 12 mins) seeing the historic allied meeting with Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt”. Also, a very interesting choice was of course, “Adventures of a newsreel cameraman-filming the big thrills”(Blackhawk films,super8sound, b&w,1930’s, 12mins)a composite of many news events of that past decade from Florida’s hurricane in 1926 to the Mississippi floods and the iced-up honeymoon bridge in Niagara Falls during that past year to finally the Hindenburg disaster. As I was watching these ancient celluloid treasures, I started to get flashbacks from my childhood days(1960’s) and remembering watching newsreels being shown before the feature film at the Earl movie palace up in the South Bronx, near Yankee Stadium. I just want to mention that Mr. 8mm has had live musical accompaniments in his programs. This time, he didn’t have it and he definitely didn’t need it.(Some of his other screenings, the music worked well.) I think in this case live music would have taken away from this powerful screening. Coming to the end of his program, Mr.8mm’s Q&A was excellent (Unlike the last time I saw his screening-I felt he really didn’t answer the questions the audience asked him) He was knowledgeable about the subject matter and of the questions the audience asked. He showed respect to them for asking and answered them with as much information as he had. He especially was attuned to the history of Castle films. All and all it was a very charming night with the film program that Mr. 8mm presented at the Maysles cinema.
You can see the next installment of Mr. 8mm’s, -“(8mm) World war 11 propaganda/newsreels: volume ten (sort of like/kind of a sequel to/continuation of history of 8mm: volume nine: (8mm) Newsreels: A (mini) history of the (Sub) genre: 1930’s-?) With an art show (“Wallpaper & beyond”) & 60th? Birthday gala” BE THERE!! Wednesday,November 6, 2013 at 7:30