Bloody Magnificent Capra
January 10, 2012 6:26 AM   Subscribe

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce "Hemo the Magnificent" (part 2), the 1957 Frank Capra-produced-written-directed introduction to the circulatory system? Bonus points for seeing Winnie the Pooh's red hair and for voice work by June Foray and Mel Blanc. "Public education through entertainment!"
posted by MonkeyToes (18 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
The remarkable thing about this film is that it is an effective introduction to evolutionary biology ("sea water"). Indeed, the real point of the film, even when I first saw it in school decades ago, was that biology only makes sense when considered in terms of evolution.
posted by SPrintF at 6:30 AM on January 10, 2012

This was one of the films my school actually owned outright, so I saw it frequently in my youth, but it just never gets old.
posted by sonascope at 6:38 AM on January 10, 2012

Oh my goodness! I have such fond memories of this from grade school. Thank you! Now I know what my son will be doing when he gets home from school today.
posted by alms at 6:53 AM on January 10, 2012

Hooray! This is the only film I remember seeing in elementary school. Years later, I was reminiscing with a friend about it over drinks, when another friend of ours told us there was no way this film could ever exist -- it just sounded too out there. Back then we had no way to prove it there at the bar -- guess who's getting sent some YouTube links today?
posted by heurtebise at 6:56 AM on January 10, 2012

Okay, twelve minutes into it I need to get to work. Sigh, I'll get back to it later.
posted by alms at 7:04 AM on January 10, 2012

Previously on Frank Baxter and the Bell Labs films.
posted by gubo at 7:12 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like the part where Hemo says, "I am the song of the lark, the blush of the cheek, the spring of the lamb; I am the price men have paid for their freedom, I am the wine in the sacred chalice," and during those final two remarks, Capra shows a panorama of a U.S. military graveyard, and a quick shot of Jesus passing the cup at the Last Supper.

Which makes it perfect for homeschoolers and unavailable in public schools I suppose.
posted by three blind mice at 7:29 AM on January 10, 2012

I still remember this from when I was in grade school! Thanks for this post!
posted by newdaddy at 7:41 AM on January 10, 2012

Excellent. Thanks for posting.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:47 AM on January 10, 2012

Hell yeah. I remember watching this in public school when I was a kid. This, and Donald Duck in Mathamagic Land are my two favorites in the genre.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:15 AM on January 10, 2012

The whole series of science movies with Baxter and his gruff reporter pal and the Magic Screen were great — not to mention a swell break from the times tables.
posted by tspae at 8:50 AM on January 10, 2012

Can't view from work, so I'll check it out later. But I remember this movie (and "Our Mister Sun") well.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:24 AM on January 10, 2012

I too fondly remember watching this in school and have duly passed the links on to my sister. Now if only I could find the educational film "Trespass!" (I think that was it) about the gruesome dangers of playing on railroad tracks, that so scarred us in our youth and which seems to have been erased from the universe.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 10:26 AM on January 10, 2012

Hal Mumkin, was it "Dangerous Playground"?
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:34 AM on January 10, 2012

How we used to get goosebumps when we'd see the two-tiered gray cart with the film projector on the top. The kid from the 'A-V' club would open the big gray canister, put the reel on the front arm, run the film through the serpentine to the empty reel on the back arm and then give the 'okay'. The lights would go down, the projector would start whirring and clacking and the screen would come to life. A quick, strobe-like countdown from five or three, an adjustment to center the frame, and then the final round of hushes as the film began.

Great find Monkeytoes!
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:08 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

As OHenryPacey says, unlike Lisa Simpson with Miss Hoover's apathy, I liked nothing more than movie days. Watching this made me wish for nothing more than an online collection of old films that were shown in elementary schools 30 years ago or so. Though I don't remember a lot of the details, if they were tagged by the libraries where they existed, so I could easily find the ones that teachers had access to in the Warren County, Illinois school districts, I'd be thrilled... though it would probably be a long time before you saw me anywhere else online again.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:40 PM on January 10, 2012

Remember Meteora, the goddess of weather? Unchained Goddess is now noteworthy for drawing attention to the prospect of carbon-dioxide induced climate change.
posted by 0rison at 3:39 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the suggestion, MonkeyToes, but although that was filled with harrowing near misses and the dramatic strains of the Wurlitzer, it was much too positive and uplifting and noticeably lacking in the graphic loss of a child's arm and the word TRESPASS! emblazoned across the screen in menacing red letters. At least, I think I remember those things; it might be like how people remember the Psycho shower scene in color.

But I have always loved watching these, to be honest, and also the training movies like in the other thread, and old industrial films that you can find on This (self-link) is a knock-off I made for some training I had to give a couple of years ago.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 6:21 PM on January 10, 2012

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