The Secret Cinema will present a program of short films never intended for viewing by the general public. It will screen at University City’s Rotunda, as part of their monthly free film series.
TOP SECRET: FILMS YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO SEE showcases films produced to convey private information from the government, the military and big business, instructional or motivational in nature, to carefully targeted audiences of battle forces in the field, farmers, middle management and wholesale buyers of products. Spanning from World War II through the 1970s, these forgotten reels reveal long hidden and often surprising views of mid-century America. At least one of these films was originally marked as containing “Restricted” information (and for all we know it is still officially restricted!).
As always with Secret Cinema events, the films will be shown using real
film (not video) projected on a giant screen.
Just a few highlights of TOP SECRET: FILMS YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO SEE are:
ARMY-AIR FORCE COMBAT DIGEST #53 (1944) – A weekly newsreel made just for
soldiers, bringing news, developments in the war, and aerial footage of
bombing missions right to the barracks via portable 16mm projectors. This
episode is from October 4, 1944.
CULL FOR PROFIT (1951) – Made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this
color educational film argues in favor of eugenics in egg farming,
advising farmers to carefully remove from their coops hens that are lower
egg producers. It might have just as easily been called KILL FOR PROFIT.
COCA COLA: OPERATION TIGER (1975?) – This corporate motivational film was
made to instill pride and passion in the hearts of Coca Cola bottlers and
their delivery men, in hope that they would take extra care when setting
up store displays of the “beautiful red and white labels” on countless
cases of Coca Cola. It was part of a 1970s campaign secretly titled
“Operation Tiger,” and attempted to inspire these men to become fierce
kings of the soft drink jungle. A rare view from inside the belly of the
carbonated corporate beast!
RECOGNITION OF AFV’S (1943) – Adapted by the U.S. Signal Corps from a
British training film, this short aims to teach soldiers a valuable
lesson: how to distinguish Allied tanks (or Armored Fighting Vehicles)
from those of the enemy.
1104 SUTTON ROAD (1958) – Motivational dramatization shows the story of a
dissatisfied factory worker who imagines what it would be like to become
foreman or the company president. He learns that every employee must be
productive to succeed. Sponsored by the Champion Paper and Fibre Company,
with blazing Technicolor views of home and workplace life.