March 29th, 2012

We are constantly amused by the items in the Lothar and Eva Just Film Stills Collection that fall into the category we call Bavarian Softcore (see previous blog post on erotica).

Today, while working on the oeuvre  of  Sigi Rothemund, we discovered these films do have their own genre title, very close to the one we had assigned to it: Lederhosenfilm, which apparently translates into “Bavarian porn,”  a title that is far less amusing (and less descriptive!).

Cola, Candy, Chocolate (Sigi Rothemund, 1979) lobby card

The above image, from the instant classic COLA, CANDY, CHOCOLATE,  apparently typical for the director Sigi Rothemund (AKA Siggi Götz), brilliantly incorporates two themes that will always be funny – a chimp wearing clothes and women popping out of their tops.  The image below, from the same film, adds the additional hilarity of a man in poorly  done drag with the chimp (who, come to think of it, can also be considered to be in poorly done drag).

Candy, Cola, Chocolate AKA Drei kesse Bienen auf den Philippinen (Sigi Rothemund, 1979)

Mr. Rothemund was also partly responsible for a film that is difficult to comprehend from the production materials:

Starke Zeiten (Klaudi Fröhlich, Rolf Olsen, Otto Retzer, Sigi Rothemund, 1988)

STARKE ZEITEN, a production with no less than 4 credited directors plus a co-director, includes the above scene with David Hasselhoff as a mad scientist?  And then it’s off to the Middle East to blow up oil fields and drive around in a strange collage of mis-sized people!  Naturally, a chimp in human’s clothing (upper left) directs.

Starke Zeiten (Klaudi Fröhlich, Rolf Olsen, Otto Retzer, Sigi Rothemund, 1988)

Although nobody appears in lederhosen in the above images (and nobody appears to be in Bavaria), we assure you these are part of the much beloved Lederhosenfilm genre.

Next time we write about it, we promise to provide pix of people in Lederhosen being naughty in Bavaria.

A note to those of you looking for a research topic for your film studies degree – it doesn’t look like anyone has written much about Lederhosenfilm.  Just a suggestion.


Now available for research and viewing:  The Harvard Botanical Museum Collection.

The Grain that Built a Hemisphere. United States. Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, Walt Disney Company. 1947.

This collection, donated by the Tozzer Library to the HFA in 2012, is made up of forty-five educational films created between 1943-1978.  The films were collected by the Harvard Botanical Museum, founded in 1858 by Asa Gray and originally called the Museum of Vegetable Products, and were used in the classroom to teach on a variety of topics, mainly focused around agriculture.  Some films were sponsored films; others look at the ethnography or history of agriculture in different societies.   Other films in the collection include a war-time production looking at corn production (nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1943) which was created by the Walt Disney Company. There are a few titles by noted anthropologists and ethnographic filmmakers Timothy Asch and Napoleon Chagnon, both examining the life & customs of the Yanomami people (see the HFA’s Documentary Educational Resources Collection for more anthropological films).   There are also sponsored films which were created to showcase the how their products are manufactured before being sent to the consumers.

Overall, this is an interesting collection focusing on educational films about agriculture.  Each film has been cataloged, and the full finding aid can be found here.

A really interesting exploration into Hollis Frampton’s 1968 film “Surface Tension” is happening on the NY Times’ City Room blog, in anticipation of the April release of the Criterion Collection’s Hollis Frampton box set.  Check it out:


And see a short clip of the digital version of the film here:

Hollis Frampton – Two and a Half Minutes of Surface Tension

The TECO Collection

March 21st, 2012

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston donated their collection of 16mm film prints to the Harvard Film Archive in 2007.   They are now find-able on Harvard Library’s online catalog, HOLLIS.

To see the titles, go to Advance Search, put TECO Collection in the Keyword box, and limit the location to Harvard Film Archive.   Titles are cataloged with their original language characters, their transliterated titles, as well as their English language release titles.

Culled from the years 1979-1994, 115 titles from Taiwan and Hong Kong are represented here.  These prints were once used by the Cultural Office as a resource for loaning and screenings in and around the city of Boston.   The genres they cover run the gamut from Kung Fu action films to sweet romances to serious dramas. The films are in Mandarin and subtitled in English and Cantonese.

Titles include
That Day at the Beach (1983), Taipei Story (1985), The Black Skin and White Tooth (1985), Terrorizer (1986) (all directed by Edward Yang)
Ang Lee’s first film, Pushing Hands (1992)
Five Girls and a Rope (Hung-Wei Yeh, 1992)
Song of the Exile (starring Maggie Cheung, directed by Ann Hui, 1990)

Kung fu films such as
Dragon Inn (starring Maggie Cheung and Donnie Yen, directed by Hsiao Ton Cheng and Raymond Lee, 1992)
The Kung Fu Kids (Wu Wanlali, 1982)
Raiders of the Shaolin Temple (Fang Hoa, 1982)

And some great titles like
Marvelously Fast Juvenile Delinquents (Liang Chun Chao, 1988, starring Andy Lau)
Return of the Electric Love (Dunping Yang, 1982)
Even the Sun is Sobbing (Chin-Tang Lai, 1983)


Over the past few weeks we’ve added a number of digital audio files to the Hollis Frampton Collection.

The newly preserved digital files available include:

-3 cassettes from “Stan Brakhage: Early Reminiscences and Interview, Rollinsville, CO. 1972 Nov. 3”

-2 cassettes from a Hollis Frampton lecture in Chicago in December 1973.

-1 reel to reel audio tape recorded March 17, 1972:  Ken Jacobs and Larry Gottheim discussing films of Hollis Frampton in Ken’s class

These files are available for listening directly in the finding aid for the Harvard community (you must enter a valid Harvard ID), and they are also available for on-site listening on campus.  Any questions on access, check here first!

scratch that

March 12th, 2012

Film is both sturdy and incredibly delicate.  One wrong move can ruin a film forever.  The biggest mistakes most often happen in projection.  Like vampires, film projectors often destroy the ones they love.

The image above, seen through a loupe,  is from a 16mm print that was most probably projected from or onto a bent metal reel that had a burr on it.  This print of The Great John L. (USA, 1945) is from the Howard E. Burr Collection.  (This is also the kind of scratching you can get from running a film on a platter incorrectly, but those of you projecting at home probably won’t have to worry about that.)

The image above, from another print of the same film, shows damage that can be done inside the projector gate.  There is a short white line through the man’s head in this Gone With the Wind – style shot.  This is where the emulsion has been abraded, probably by something stuck to the gate.

The arrows point to another emulsion scratch.  This could easily have been made by a dirty roller in the projector.

Always clean your projector prior to showing your movie!  Here are some tips on projector cleaning from Bob Brodsky.