Tag Archives: short

Cipher in the Snow (1973)

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Running time: 21m 20s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1973 (copyright); 1974 (release)
Director: Keith J. Atkinson
Production: Wetzel Whitaker, Brigham Young University
Writer: Carol Lynn Pearson
Cinematography: Reed Smoot, Ted Van Horn
Story: Jean Mizer Todhunter
Editor: Peter G. Czerny
Music Editor: Dennis Lisonbee

Cast: Robert Bridges, Bruce Kimball, Jacqueline Mayo, Roberta Shore, Walter Stocker, Mary Cox, Larry Watts, Martha Henstrom, Kirk Hutchings, Ronald Jenkins, Court LeRoy


During a school bus trip one morning, a sullen boy named Cliff Evans asks to be let off. The driver obliges and Cliff stumbles a few steps before face-planting in the snow (complete with a freeze-frame and title text). The driver of the car behind the bus —  a math teacher named Frank Carter — rushes to the boy’s aid as the oafish driver pleads disbelief. A crowd of kids exits the bus and assembles around their fallen peer, who is confirmed dead at the scene by EMTs. What could have caused this? Dehydration? A seizure? A drug overdose?

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Christmas Rhapsody (1948)

Watch on Archive.org

Institution: Internet Archive
Collection: Prelinger Archives

Running time: 11m 00s
Source film:  16mm; b&w; sound
Year: 1948
Production: Encyclopaedia Britannica Films; Milan Herzog
Music: Charles Henry


Loneliness, sugar crashes, and increased alcohol consumption can all exacerbate the blue feelings that many people feel during the winter holiday season. As evidenced by the sad musings of the central character in the 1948 short Christmas Rhapsody, it can also be a real thing for at least one species of evergreen tree.

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Face Value (1981)

Distribution: A/V Geeks
Featured on: Temptations of a Christian Teenager

Running time: 09m 32s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1981
Director: Fred Carpenter
Production: Mars Hill Productions; Campus Life; Sterling Educational Films
Writer: Fred Carpenter
Photography/Camera: John Snavely
Location Sound: Lloyd Poe
Post Production Mix: Tim Himes
Editor: Fred Carpenter

Cast: Greg Guy, Steve Herrington, Nancy Houston, Brent Johnson, et al.


A cursory reading of the 1979 song, “Head Games,” by the rock band Foreigner, reveals vague relationship troubles between its narrator and a lover, expressed through the sort of tedious lyrics favored by the commercial rock radio of the era. The “answer” to these problems, the song states, is “nowhere in sight,” and the narrator’s daydreams are “haunting” and possibly “warning” him. Perhaps these specific allusions convinced director Fred Carpenter to use the song as a musical refrain in his 1981 moral behavior short, Face Value, but it’s an odd fit for a film that attempts to lecture teenagers about the futility of unscrupulous social behaviors. Did Carpenter have any idea about how many teenagers in the 1970s and 80s made out (and more) while ballads by Foreigner played in the background?

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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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Maple Sugar Time (1941)

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Institution: Library and Archives Canada
Collection: Metropolitan Toronto Library Board fonds, 1987-0337

Other title: Le Temps des Sucres
Running time: 8m 14s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1941
Director: Stanley Hawes
Production: National Film Board of Canada; Northern Electric Recording (sound)
Camera: Michael Spencer
Editor: Donald Fraser
Music: Maurice Blackburn


As a news topic, maple syrup has undergone an odd resurgence in recent years. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers — a Canadian organization dedicated to controlling the province’s output and stabilizing its price — has been criticized in the press due to borderline-draconian treatment of producers it considers delinquents. The price stability has been correlated to increased syrup production in the northeast U.S., thereby decreasing Quebec’s market share over the past several years. Thieves were caught stealing $18 million worth of syrup from a federation warehouse between 2011 and 2012. Last we heard, Jason Segel — of Freaks & Geeks and The Muppets fame — is attached to star in the film about the sticky-sweet heist. You don’t see this sort of press attention for honey (unless it’s related to bee colony collapse disorder).

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