Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Our Mr Sun/Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays|
Genres: Kids & Family, Documentary, Animation
Studio: Image Entertainment Release Date: 09/30/2003 Run time: 108 minutes Rating: Nr
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Science fun from the 1950's...
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 10/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here we have the first two installments in Frank Capra's Bell Science series, "Our Mr. Sun" (1956) and "The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays" (1957), underwritten by AT & T (Ma Bell, to you n' me). Capra writes and produces, Shamus Culhane offers up the cartoon animation, while "Cosmic Rays" has Bil Baird's marionettes playing the role that cartoon characters play in the other three films.No extras on the disc, but there is an insert with some condensed liner notes. More on Baxter and Carlson, et al, would have been welcome additions to the DVD. Regardless, it will be a great treat for the science aficionado.In "Our Mr. Sun", a young Eddie Albert plays Mr. Fiction Writer, and introduces the Imagination Screen that the cartoons are projected on. Richard Carlson ("Creature From the Black Lagoon") takes over in the remaining three installments as the Fiction Writer, while Dr. Frank Baxter is present in all four shows as Mr. Scientist. "The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays" tries valiantly to explain, so far as we knew in 1957, what cosmic rays are and how we detect them. The idea of a mystery contest overseen by Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoevsky is clever, and the puppets make the science somewhat more accessible. Even so, this is probably the most inscrutable installment because the subject matter itself is somewhat inscrutable to the layman. Try as they might, when Carlson and Baxter start talking about Mu Mesons, some of the audience (admittedly, this includes myself), will get a bit lost."Our Mr. Sun" is probably the better of the two, while some of the science is clearly outdated in both. We've certainly come a long way in the understanding of the Sun and cosmic rays since 1957! Voice artist Marvin Miller (narrator of "The FBI" among other shows), plays Mister Sun, and Capra regular Lionel Barrymore plays the kindly Father Time.In "Sun", Baxter and Albert explain what the sun is and how it works. The film of the sun in action is interesting, but has been surpassed by SOHO, RHESSI, and other satellites, which now regularly beam back incredible imagery of solar prominences, sunspots, flares, the corona, and comet impacts. The mechanics of the sun are also more understood then they were in 1957, and solar cell technology (shown in it's very infancy in the film), has advanced by leaps and bounds during the intervening years. But the sheer enthusiasm of Baxter, Albert, and Carlson, combined with the incredible optimism of the era that is infused in each of the four films of the series, make up for any outdated elements. Perhaps the only downside of the two DVDs (the other being "Hemo the Magnificent/The Unchained Goddess") is that the very same optimism present in these films has long since died away from our society, and the films serve to remind us of that sad, long-lamented fact."Cosmic Rays" ends with a wonderful challenge to Mankind to "come back in 50 years" and see how much we've learned about the Universe. Since the 50 years is almost up, wouldn't it be fun to compare our knowledge then to our knowledge now?"
"Our Mr. Sun" Is Still Great
Jay Pasachoff | Williamstown, MA United States | 10/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just got my DVD of "Our Mr. Sun," the Frank Capra educational movie from 1956 based on Donald Menzel's book "Our Sun." The movie runs about 52 minutes. It includes an eclipse movie, starting with a diamond ring, interspersing views of eclipse watchers around the world, and ending the approximately 2-min segment with the final diamond ring. A little later, they show some of the High Altitude Observatory's coronagraph time-lapse movies of prominences.
The movie seems quite campy now, with primitive animation and with the popularizing scientist Frank Baxter playing "Dr. Research" and the actor Eddy Albert conversing with cartoon Mr. Sun and cartoon Father Time. But there is a lot of good material there, and there is very little I would change even after 45+ years. I didn't have a single scientific objection to the first half hour or more. The last 15 minutes or so, about solar energy, is the most dated.Glimpses of some of the scientists of the time--Walter Roberts, Jack Evans, Donald Menzel, and others--appeared.The quality of the transfer was pretty good. Only occasionally did I notice some film grain or scratches in the corner of the color movie.The movie was fun to watch. Also on the DVD is "The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays," another Capra movie in the series."
Informs and entertains brilliantly !!!
Ted Keats | USA | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These shows make learning about science fun.
The writing is first rate and the structure clear and easy to follow. The characters, the animation, the music and the scientific footage is wonderful. Each hour flies by though I recommend viewing them apart to allow the information to sink in.
There is plenty to think and talk about after each program. This is NOT mindless television.
If you have a child with any interest in science between 4th and 9th grade, this is a DVD you should own. Adults who enjoyed these programs as kids on broadcast TV or in the classroom may want to see them again. Although a little dated, most of the content holds up very well.
I saw the Bell Science series as a kid, I used them on 16mm film when I was a teacher and now I bought them for me and our child.
One of the special things about these programs is that there is a strong sense of respect for the subject, the science and the spiritual aspect of the physical world.
This DVD with two titles is a real bargain that belongs in your home video library. Enjoy!"
Thinkbolt | 03/15/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I love these old films, and the picture quality on this disc is top-notch, but I have to give it a mediocre review because this version of "Our Mister Sun" has been edited. There's something missing in the opening credits, as evidenced by an obvious still-frame that's been superimposed over the sequence, and the closing are credits are COMPLETELY MISSING! There's just a still-frame image that says "The End." Very poorly done.
This copy of "Cosmic Rays," though, seems to be all there.
I recommend this disc for fans of this series, but you need to be aware that "Mr. Sun" is incomplete. There are no extras on the disc, either."