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Monthly Archives: July 2009
1930’s retro-futuristic “Just Imagine” is finally on DVD

Filed under Reading / Watching / Consuming

Mad Science Lab from "Just Imagine"
"Just Imagine" on DVD
Just Imagine – now available at Amazon

This is momentous news, dear reader, and I have no idea when exactly it finally happened – but the world’s first all singing, all dancing science fiction musical is finally available on DVD.

“Just Imagine” was a landmark film, in which the 1920s and 1930s vision of the future was captured for all time – with amazing miniature sets and rockets, the most famous of which rose out of the prop room to become Flash Gordon’s rocket, in the movie serials – and it is simply not to be missed by anyone who loves the retro future.

It is also a profoundly silly film. Don’t let that stop you.

For years, it’s been impossible to find a commercial tape or disc of this movie, though bootlegs showed up often at eBay.

"Just Imagine" on DVD
Just Imagine – now available at Amazon
Just Imagine was an early sound picture – it was released in 1930 – and it features both Maureen O’Sullivan and the vaudeville comic El Brendel. The film takes us (and Brendel) to the astonishing world of 1980 – where we all have flying cars and New York is a multilayered city of public and private transportation, with traffic cops on floating platforms blowing their whistles at us. The sets are fantastic; the rockets are wonderful; and it’s just sort of mind-blowingly naive and silly.

There is (of course!) a trip to Mars, but possibly the best times are to be had here on Earth with its arranged marriages, its food pills, its whiskey pills, and its numerous jokes about Prohibition.

If Metropolis is our serious and socially conscious great-uncle of the retro future, Just Imagine is its jazz age slaphappy cousin.  The one we actually want to hang out with.

This is a great day. A tremendous day. It’s good to be here in the future. Now if they’d just release “Madam Satan”. But that’s another story.

 
 
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