Saturday, October 14, 2006

Retro Video - The American Look

The American Look (1958)

Here's another kitschy old Jam Handy educational film (this one more about design and architecture). Even though it's not overtly about shopping malls, it's still got some great '50s era Suburbia visuals, and I think, should be of at least some passing interest to anyone who comes to this blog regularly and shares my nostalgic appreciation for not only vintage malls, but all things retro, space-agey, and groovy! Because in all that, the design's really the thing.

Here's the film description from the Google Video uploader:

"The American Look: A Tribute to the Men and Women, Who Design. A beautiful film highlighting the importance in America of design and aesthetics in every day items. It is interesting to see that this style, and the aesthetic of 1958 is returning to our modern lives... but we're not buying American anymore... we're buying Ikea."

Well said.


Anonymous didi said...

Oh my gosh, where do I begin? The cute little red rotary phone, the interesting mailbox, the beautiful housewife clothes, the handy dany gadgets and the funky buildings and cars. Wow. What a pleasure!

Sat Oct 14, 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

This is a really cool film for the design enthusiast. Thanks for digging it up, Keith.

Even though the film very much emphasized the Americanness of the look, similar designs could be found in Europe and even beyond the iron curtain at the same time. Indeed, I made out a handful of design classics that were the products of Scandinavian, Dutch or Italian designers rather than Americans (though in at least one case produced by an American company, so I guess it counts). Still, there is a reason it's sometimes called International Style.

And of course, the fact that Ikea still sells similar stuff is quite apt, considering the Scandinavians were one of the driving forces behind the modernist style. Besides, whatever one may think of Ikea, they produce inexpensive and generally well designed products, which accounts for their huge success.

I found it quite interesting that the new Chevrolet car (I love those tailfins, BTW) was modelled first in clay. German car manufacturers tended to use wood - I've seen full-scale wood models in museums.

Sat Oct 14, 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

You have been scouring haven't you? I have a bunch of these old educational films too in my archive, very neat stuff indeedy deed!

Sun Oct 15, 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Land+Living site must've seen this post. They have this same vid up there, too, now.

Knew I had seen it somewhere already. ;-)

Thu Oct 19, 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger rob parrish said...

does anyone know what model car is featured in the last third of this film?

Sat Jun 20, 10:37:00 AM  

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