JUSTIN HERMAN SHORT SUBJECTS IV
Well, we now hit the 'dozen mark' as we screen three more prints from the stash of Oscar-nominee, Justin Herman - the filmmaker behind 'Pacemaker' one-reelers for Paramount for over two decades. This time Florida is the destination....Mr. Herman must have liked filming there, as he made well over a dozen shorts in the state. Here are two youthful human interest stories, topped off with a comic slice of Americana.
THE CITY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRLS (1950 - A Paramount Pacemaker) Writ. & Dir.: Justin Herman.
An up and coming 'aquamaid' Ann Williamson tells her story of a young girl's hopes, dreams and aspirations -- all in a buttery drawl. The setting is the fabled Cypress Gardens and we're treated to a tour of the "man-made paradise" with it's water-ski shows "decorative" girls and 'Mr. Florida' himself, Dick Pope (all of which would be seen to even more impressive effect in THIS IS CINERAMA two years later.) Upon winning the "Miss Citrus" crown, Pope offers Ann a chance at stardom - but there's a fella she's sweet on - water-skier and photographer, Tram Pickett. What to do, what to do....
WAY OUT WEST IN FLORIDA (1951 - A Paramount Pacemaker) Writ. & Dir.: Justin Herman.
We find a restless young fella from Wyoming,"fed up" with ranching life - hitchhiking in Florida. Now he's had it with Miami and is thinking about bumming it to South America. And then he happens upon Henry O. Partin's Brahman cattle ranch and he just can't help himself. He signs on for a spell as a ranch hand and thus we get a first hand tour what was then clearly considered bizarre (the otherworldly look of Brahman) and incongruous (cattle ranching? IN FLORIDA?!) Of course, our hero gets to know the family and is smitten by Partin's pretty niece. And then he gets ta thinkin'....
PARLOR BEDROOM AND WHEELS (1952 - A Paramount Pacemaker) Prod. & Dir.: Justin Herman. Narr.: Ward Wilson.
Mr. Herman really let his inner Pete Smith shine with the pun-filled dialogue in this one. A film about "motorized mansions" and "house trailers" and the people who buy, drive and live in them - in this case the kindly Mr & Mrs. "Whoosis" - a typical retired middle-aged couple. They select "a fetching little number....a 36 foot beauty" and set out for the open road. After a run in with a trucker and a comic jackknifing episode, we're treated to the the modern day luxuries and amenities of trailer park life (in this case the Parsley Park is on display). And then, a final wrap-up gag as the couple hit the road again. "Bye now!" (Bruce Lawton)