London Calling: A Vintage Cinetour - Thur. Aug 6th - 8PM

Oddball Films presents London Calling: A Vintage Cinetour, a program of 16mm films shot in mid-century London. From wartime propaganda, to art, documentary, music, ephemera and more, this is a one of a kind trip to another time and place. See the determination of Londoners in the face of the destruction of their historic city during the Blitzkrieg in London Can Take It! (1940) the propaganda short that helped change American sentiment towards entering WWII. Get a look at the art scene with A Lichtenstein in London (1968), a tour de force on site doc of the American pop artist’s famous Tate Modern show produced by Bruce Beresford featuring commentary by Lichtenstein, gallery views and shots of some of his most well known paintings and sculptures. The audacious Ken Russell (Tommy, Altered States) shows us his softer side with one of his very first short films, Amelia and the Angel (1957) about a little girl's quest for redemption through the streets of Post-War London. Black Cap Drag (1969) takes an in-depth look at two British drag performers in 1960s Camden as they discuss their lives and careers and sing a few Barbra and Marlene numbers in the historic gay bar that recently closed its doors. Zip around with Twiggy and other mod models in excerpts of Opus (1967) a fascinating tour-de-force montage of British art, architecture, theater and swingin’ fashions-all that was shocking in 1967; directed by experimental cinema legend Don Levy. And for a Technicolor taste of the British Invasion coming home, visit Tottenham and hear a few groovy tunes from The Dave Clark Five (1965). Plus, get a glimpse of the city pre-war in Castle Films newsreel London (1938) and early birds can tour the city with Vintage Travelogues

Date: Thursday, August 6h, 2015 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117


London Can Take It! (B+W, 1940)
"These are not Hollywood sound effects. This is the music that plays every night in London; the symphony of war."

An effectively didactic wartime newsreel touting London's strength in the face of nightly Nazi blitz attacks. A sobering (but oddly humorous) account of the destruction of hundreds of buildings in the historic city, but never the spirit of Londoners.  Produced by the GPO Film Unit, this little slice of British propaganda was distributed in America to sway public sentiment towards entering the war in Europe and to prove to the world that with a stiff upper lip, London can take it!

"There is no panic, no fear, no despair in Londontown. There is nothing but determination, confidence, and high courage among the people on Churchill's Island."

Lichtenstein in London (1968, Color, Bruce Beresford)
A British Film Institute/Bruce Beresford directed film shot at the Tate Modern show in London in 1968. This film records the impact of American artist Roy Lichtenstein's work on the public and their reactions to it in the context of a retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London, which attracted unprecedented attention and proved one of the most popular ever held there. Shows his early paintings based on magazine ads and comic strip cartoons, such as "Stove" (1962) and "Whaam!" (1963) as well as his sculptures and landscape. The soundtrack juxtaposes remarks by the public approving, questioning, and often rejecting the work (to hilarious effect), with extracts from previously recorded interviews with the artist made by the critics Alan Solomon for WNET, New York, and David Sylvester for the BBC. 

Amelia and the Angel (B+W, 1957, Ken Russell)
An utterly charming early short from one of Britain's most iconoclastic directors, the late great Ken Russell (Tommy, Altered States, The Devils).  The almost too adorable Amelia (played by Argentinian moppet Mercedes Quadros) is getting ready for her stage debut as an angel with her dance class.  Against the teacher's advice, she borrows her wings to take home to show her mother.  But as her brother is a "horrible little beast", he absconds with the wings and destroys them summarily.  Amelia must run all over the city to find a new pair of wings before her performance.  As she runs through the streets of post-war London, she runs into obstacles and colorful characters aplenty (including an equally adorable circus dog) in her quest to redeem herself.  While markedly more tame than Russell's work from the 70s and 80s, it is clearly his own with echoes of the themes of the absurdities of faith and a theatricality that would persist through most of his work. Ethereal, entertaining and inspiring, it's a rare treat from a Master.

Opus (Color, 1967, excerpt)
Produced for world-wide distribution for the British Government (Central Office of Information) and for continuous showing in the British Pavilion of Expo ’67, Montreal was directed by famed experimental filmmaker Don Levy. This film is a fascinating tour-de-force montage of British art, architecture, theater and fashions-all that was shocking in 1967. Opus is a whirlwind of music and montage of modern British machine sculptors and swingin’ British fashions, cars and lifestyles!

Black Cap Drag (Color, 1969)
It's London, 1969 and the world is in full groovy swing.  At the New Black Cap in Camden, two performers steal the show, and reveal themselves and their stories to the viewer.  Full of heart as well as humor, fun and fabulousness, Black Cap Drag is a remarkable and rare document of two men who can't wait to get dressed like Barbra Streisand and Marlene Dietrich.  One of the first queer safe spaces in England - at a time when homosexuality was still illegal - the Black Cap recently closed its doors after five decades, as its building is sleighted for development, prompting protestors to rally for the iconic venue. A tribute to the dearly departed night club will be held in August at a BFI retrospective featuring a screening of this film, digitally transferred and provided by Oddball Films (we will be watching the original 16mm print)

The Dave Clark Five (Technicolor, 1965)
After conquering America with their stomping beat, the DC5 make a triumphant return to the London borough of Tottenham and it’s all related in breathless Pathe Newsreel style voiceover! Plenty of sumptuous color, fan pandemonium, and "attending to their hair-dos" as the 5 perform “Bits and Pieces” and “Glad All Over”.

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.