Tag Archives: domestic bliss

It’s a Cat’s Life (1957)

Watch on Archive.org

Institution: Internet Archive
Collection: Prelinger Archives

Running time: 10m 57s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: ca. 1957
Director: Emily Benton Frith
Production: Frith Films; Cinesound (sound)
Photography/Camera: Emily Benton Frith
Narration: George Barclay


Let’s face it. Historically, cats have sometimes had a bad rap. Sure, some civilizations have worshipped them – but others have associated them with the devil or witchcraft, shunning them (or worse). Their occasional disinterest in, or independence of humans is bitterly qualified as aloof or detached. As though a pet not constantly concerned with lavishing attention on humans (looking at you, dogs) is kind of a jerk. But if you want to soften any person’s heart towards the feline variety, all you really need to do is give them ten straight minutes of baby kittens frolicking. And It’s a Cat’s Life (1957) does just that.

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A Cruel Kindness (1968)

Watch on Wellcome Library

Institution: Wellcome Library
Collection: Moving Image and Sound Collection

Running time: 13m 4s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1968
Director: Winifred Holmes
Production: Verity Films; Oswalk Skilbeck; Film Producers Guild; Film Centre International Ltd; British Life Assurance Trust for Health Education; British Medical Association
Writer: Winifred Holmes
Photography: Jonah Jones
Editor: Anthony Ham


Nutritional guides have been prone to wild fluctuations and rearrangements over the past several decades, vary sharply by country, and have been influenced by everything from scientific studies and wartime rationing to the agriculture industry and food prices. Thank goodness for 1968’s A Cruel Kindness, then, which makes such a guide as basic as can be. According to writer/director Winifred Holmes’s film, the three food groups are carbohydrates (“energy”), fat (“warmth”), and protein (“for growth”). And sometimes, small quantities of vitamins. The filmmakers make no effort to explain what benefits this last group provides, likely because no documentary team wants to bore viewers with a discussion about watercress. We get it — it’s really good for you! Enough already, watercress. You’re almost as insufferable as kale.

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The Wonderful World of Tupperware (1959)

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Institution: Internet Archive
Collection: Prelinger Archives

Running time: 28m54s
Source film: 35mm; color; sound
Year: 1959 / ca. 1964
Director: George Yarbrough
Narrator: Russ Blair
Production: United Film Productions (Orlando, Florida)
Writers: Patrick E. Tahaney, Harry Whittington, George Yarbrough
Camera: Russ Blair


We’re fast-approaching the season of stuffed birds, holiday hams, and mountains of mashed root vegetables. Shortly thereafter comes the season of leftovers of every shape, species, and viscosity. The modern food preservation movement and virtually every brand of food storage container on the market can be traced back to Tupperware. As the plastics industry exploded following World War II, Tupperware rose from humble origins in Leominster, Massachusetts to dominate the home product market through an in-home “party” sales method.

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Halloween Party (1953)

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Institution: Internet Archive
Collection: Prelinger Archives

Running Time: 06m12s
Source Film: color; sound
Year: 1953
Production: Encyclopaedia Britannica Films


While the Halloween costumes of today are often clever, shameless, or absurdly referential, their burlap and paper counterparts from last century still hold the crown for creepy (see related links below). The main character in 1953’s HALLOWEEN PARTY brandishes one such mask in a way that inadvertently sets off a chain of events which concludes with him wearing a straw hat and covered in his mother’s lipstick. I should probably explain.

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