Mirror of America (review)
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 5, Number 4, December 1975
- pp. 18-19
- Additional Information
tempts to bridge the gaps. The audience is assumed to have a familiarity with the subject, the issues and individuals. If one has that familiarity, Point of Order has an almost macabre quality as a dead McCarthy returns to intone his ever present point of order. Without that familiarity, however, the film has little intrinsic meaning. The editing is reasonable in that it covers the salient points of the hearings and makes an honest effort to present the contending viewpoints. De Antonio's work could provide a model for an edited version of the 1973 Watergate hearings. Charge and Countercharge. A Film of the Era of Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy is a further editing of Point of Order with some modest additions . Three-quarters of the footage is drawn from the Army-McCarthy hearings. The remaining quarter is a weak effort at explaining McCarthyism and providing some kind of a context for his anti -Communist crusade. A narrator is present prior to the footage of the hearings with an informative script and an attempt is made at objectivity. Sponsored by a publisher and intended for classroom use, Charge and Countercharge is superior to the other two, but it still requires a thorough preparation of the students before viewing. That is the principal liability of all three films. So much preparation is necessary before using them that you run the danger of over-saturation. But they do provide the historian of recent America, especially with Point of Order, a chance to recreate history in the classroom. They are suitable for use in advanced courses and could be employed in a survey offering. Lawrence L. Murray, St. Johns University Mirror of America (1964, 36 min., b&w), Ford Motor Company, Motion Picture Division and the National Archives and Records Service. Henry Ford was the world's largest producer of films in the 1920's. Mirror of America was compiled from a fraction of the 1,800,000 feet of film which the Ford Company gave to the Archives. Despite the redundant narration, the film is extremely interesting. Ford began making films in 1914 and this selection includes scenes from its movie studio as well as its factories, assembly lines, and testing grounds. There are brief glimpses of Coney Island, Belle Island, New York City, and Washington, D. C. between 1914 and 1927. Presidents Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge are all shown, as well as Ford and his friends John Burroughs, Luther Burbank, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, Buffalo Bill Cody, Will Rogers, Joe Cannon, and Charles Lindbergh. Mayfield Bray's Guide to the Ford Film Collection in the National Archives (Government Printing 18 Office, 1970) describes the material upon which the film is based. It may be purchased or rented from the National Audio- visual Center, Washington, D. C. 20409. Bernard Mergen, George Washington University Das Bauhaus (1968, color, 25 minutes), available at no charge from Modern Talking Pictures, Washington, D. C. Matthew Arnold once wrote that "machinery is our besetting danger." Never did this recurring idea receive more attention than during the 1920's in Germany. Cinematically, such speculation culminated in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, a view of industrial society 200 years hence released in 1925. The film's Cassandra-figure calls out repeatedly, "Between the brain that plans and the hand that builds, there must be a mediator— the heart." In a decade, characterized by rampant mechanization and, in many people's eyes, dehumanization, one of the few nonpolitical movements avowedly working to humanize technology was the Bauhaus. Founded in 1919, the Bauhaus aspired to create the "preconditions of cultural growth," to devise a complete environment for man relying on technology but still upholding his dignity. Its leading figures-Gropius , Kandinsky, Klee, Breuer, Feininger, Moholy-Nagy, and van der Rohe—rejected all former approaches to design, in the process giving birth to the first school of design working entirely within the premises of the industrial system. The film Das Bauhaus conveys both the spirit and achievements of the movement founded by Walter Gropius who, along with Mies van der Rohe, is interviewed. Among objects covered are Gropius' skyscrapers, chairs by Breuer and van der Rohe, and the abstractions of Klee and Kandinsky. Viewing this...