Reel Housewives of Yesteryear - Thurs. Feb. 25th - 8PM

Oddball Films and curator Kat Shuchter present The Reel Housewives of Yesteryear, a tongue-in-cheek program of rare vintage 16mm cartoons, commercials, soundies, promotional films, educational and comedy shorts and other cinematic oddities about the old social mores of a woman's place within the family and society.  Generally made by men and often misogynistic and downright offensive, these cinematic slices of life remind us just how far the modern woman has come. One housewife can't contain herself once she discovers RIT fabric dye in the swingin' promotional short Color for Joy (1962).  In Merrie Melodies - Wild Wife (1954), the legendary Robert McKimson animates the "average" mid-century housewife's harried day as well as her unsympathetic husband.  One teenaged boy's mom has a lot of men over to the house while his dad's away in the philandering soundie The Man That Comes Around (1940) from the Music with Spice series. Pawn off some of your chores on your delightful domestic in the Pete Smith Specialty comedy Home Maid (1944). A good housewife is never done decorating, so why not try your hand at creating tissue-paper flowers in Cut Yourself a Bunch of Fun (1969). Mrs. John Barrymore gives us a lesson in how to keep your hubby happy in the tantalizing How to Undress In Front of Your Husband (1937).  One mother is doing everything wrong by feeding her family poisons in the form of food products, but one creepy British gentleman is stalking around her kitchen to give her proper nutrition information in an excerpt from Mystery in the Kitchen (1958).  And while we're in the kitchen, learn how to not make brainless mistakes like the silly woman you are with Cooking: Kitchen Safety (1949).  Then, it's time to take off the pounds for your man with the ridiculous Battle of the Bulge (1950). One woman single-handedly works a farm while her husband enjoys his off-grid leisurely lifestyle in the hilarious Finnish short Elsa (1982).  Plus tons of commercials, snippets and other surprises!

Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2016 at 8:00PM.
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00, Limited Seating, RSVP to: 415-558-8117 or RSVP

Highlights Include:

Color For Joy (Color, 1962)
A housewife dances and prances around the house, dyeing everything in sight with RIT fabric dye in this odd promotional film. Stars Patricia Harty, who played Blondie in the late 1960s sitcom, in perhaps her first “dramatic” role.  Makes a nice companion piece to Oddball favorite Match My Mood.  No housewife has ever been this peppy- not without a handful of leapers!

Elsa (Color, 1982)
A hilarious satire of gender roles from Finnish director Marja Pensala.  A man speaks about his family's decision to move to the country and adopt a simpler way of life.  In every shot, as the man relaxes and enjoys himself, we can see his wife Elsa doing all the strenuous and difficult work in their little off-grid paradise; from chopping wood to laundry to bricklaying, and all while she's pregnant.

Home Maid (B+W, 1944)
A Pete Smith Specialty comedy short for the domestic set from MGM. Pete Smith was a publicist that went into filmmaking; churning out 150 shorts and winning 3 Oscars.  Watch Polly as she cleans the house with ease and grace, all with quips from narrator/producer Pete Smith himself.

Cut Yourself a Bunch of Fun (Color, c. 1969)
Dennison presents a groovy promotional film featuring an extremely innovative character....a house wife who never finishes decorating! When hubby and the kids are away, she notices her home is looking dull so she decides to get into making paper flowers  - the perfect solution for the bored house wife!  You too can join along (BYOTP) and learn the whimsical and stylish craft of paper flower making!

Merrie Melodies - Wild Wife (Color, 1954, Robert McKimson)
Men just don't understand!  A wife recounts her terrible day of calamities and nuisances to her unsympathetic husband who seems to think this wonder woman is nothing but lazy.  Well, he's got it coming, you can count on that!

Music with Spice - The Man that Comes Around (B+W, 1940s)
A teenage boy sings about all the men that come over to the house after his father leaves for work, while his philandering mother preens herself in the mirror in this scandalous soundie.

How to Undress in Front of Your Husband (B+W, 1937)
An antiquated exercise in exhibitionism starring Elaine Barrie AKA Mrs. John Barrymore (!) wife of the famed Hollywood legend.  No wonder she was his last wife!

Cooking: Kitchen Safety (B+W, 1949)
Poor Eleanor; she slipped off her ladder in the kitchen and ended up in the hospital.  What a careless woman!  Don't you too be just another dumb injured housewife, learn how to cut things without cutting off a finger and other important lessons for us simple women.

Mystery in the Kitchen (Color, 1958, excerpt) 
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, this soft-boiled film aimed at housewives uses satire and humor to teach proper nutrition and good eating habits by pointing out the subtle poisons you may be subjecting your family to.  A well-dressed dapper man slinks around the kitchen and pantry, lecturing a long-suffering mother on how she is responsible for her family's personality problems by denying them nutrients. Beautiful color mid-century domestic scenes from our neighbors to the North.

Battle of the Bulge (B+W, 1950)
Part of the Variety View segment, this antiquated and offensive short aims to keep women in their place by joking about their rotundness and their men's displeasure. The narrator follows several women who are overweight and offers various advice and instructions on how to thin down for your ungrateful husband!

Curator’s Biography
Kat Shuchter is a graduate of UC Berkeley in Film Studies. She is a filmmaker, artist and esoteric film hoarder. She has helped program shows at the PFA, The Nuart and Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater and was crowned “Found Footage Queen” of Los Angeles, 2009. She has programmed over 200 shows at Oddball on everything from puberty primers to experimental animation.

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.