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Educational Archives: Social Engineering 101
     

Educational Archives: Social Engineering 101

 

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This is the second DVD compilation in the Educational Archives series of ephemeral films. Included on this disc are ten 16 mm educational and social guidance motion pictures dating from the '40s through the '70s. The initial purpose of these films was to help over three decades of school-aged Americans overcome the often-awkward transition beyond childhood --

Overview

This is the second DVD compilation in the Educational Archives series of ephemeral films. Included on this disc are ten 16 mm educational and social guidance motion pictures dating from the '40s through the '70s. The initial purpose of these films was to help over three decades of school-aged Americans overcome the often-awkward transition beyond childhood -- involving proper socialization skills ranging from the importance of personal hygiene to the causes and repercussions of vandalism. Although an additional function is to stimulate thought-provoking dialogue from their viewers, in hindsight many promoted more than the promise of social acceptance. In extreme cases they are actually nothing more than propaganda aimed at the concurrently untapped preteen marketplace. Cynicism aside, however, featurettes such as Lunchroom Manners and Soapy the Germ Fighter -- aimed at primary school-aged tykes -- are in many ways more applicable than ever. Not all of these flicks offer such straight-ahead advice however. Older kids are challenged with the open-ended Right or Wrong? and the ambiguously disturbing Why Doesn't Cathy Eat Breakfast. Other shorts, such as The Outsider and Why Vandalism? remind viewers of the days prior to political correctness or even very much sensitivity. True to the nature of the contents, and likewise a lack of better-quality masters, the audio and visual aspects to these films are often as grainy and heavily edited as they were when shown throughout the darkened classrooms of North America. The animated menu allows effortless navigation and indexing of the films as well as the bonus "interactive filmstrip." Likewise, consumers may view the films sequentially in a single sitting or á la carte. Curiously, the audio track is presented with Dolby digital noise reduction -- although the technology may well be lost here. Educational Archives, Vol. 2: Social Engineering 101 is both a journey through the past and a projection of what America wanted itself to become. As an indelible statement about American culture as well as endlessly entertaining kitsch, this is a must-see DVD. Here is looking forward to future volumes.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This short film compilation doesn't offer the outrageous subject matter of Educational Archives, Vol. 1: Sex and Drugs, but still boasts plenty of amusing moments for fans of educational films. Educational Archives, Vol. 2: Social Engineering 101 focuses on films produced between the 1940s and 1970s that attempted to teach schoolchildren proper social behavior. Two of the most unusual shorts focus on cleanliness. "Soapy the Germ Fighter" features a bar of soap coming to life to teach a boy about the benefits of staying clean and "Lunchroom Manners" teaches children proper manners for the cafeteria with the help of a puppet called Mr. Bungle. The latter short is already a cult favorite with Pee Wee Herman fans because a shortened version of it was used in The Pee Wee Herman Show. However, the best shorts on Educational Archives, Vol. 2: Social Engineering 101 are the ones that utilize dramatic narratives to communicate their points. "Shy Guy" depicts a young Dick York learning how to fit in by following his dad's advice of studying the in-crowd and "The Outsider" tells its tale of a girl coming to terms with her feelings of social inferiority with a melodramatic flair worthy of Douglas Sirk. Overall, Educational Archives, Vol. 2: Social Engineering 101 offers less overt camp value than its predecessor, but its attempts at pop psychology are guaranteed to fascinate educational film aficionados.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/18/2003
UPC:
0695026701828
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
NR
Source:
Fantoma
Region Code:
0
Sound:
[Dolby Digital]
Time:
2:00:00
Sales rank:
88,832

Special Features

Two hours of digitally mastered shorts from original 16mm prints; Notes on each film by collection curator Skip Elsheimer of the A/V Geeks Educational Film Archive; Bonus interactive filmstrip

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