Saturday, July 12, 2014

Traveltalks and non-Traveltalks

I've mentioned the Traveltalks shorts on quite a few occasions before, and they're always worth watching. One that's coming up in the schedule is 1951's Visiting Italy, which you can catch tomorrow at about 11:50 AM. TCM's schedule lists is following Make Way For Tomorrow, which starts at 10:00 AM and only runs 92 minutes, so I'm not certain quite when in the extra time the Traveltalks short is going to show up, or what TCM is going to do with the other 18 or so minutes. But I'd guess the online schedule is right that the short is going to be at the end of the two-hour block, especially since it's probably being run to coincide with The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone which comes on at noon.

But I'm not writing this post to discuss yet another Traveltalks short. It's just that it's nice to have this particular Traveltalks short on the schedule so we have something to compare to the short I really want to mention: Amalfi Way, which is coming a little after 3:30 AM (overnight tonight or early tomorrow morning depending on your perspective), following The Baby (2:00 AM, 85 min). This one was made in 1955, which was a year or two after the last of the Traveltalks shorts was produced, and has a narrator telling tourists all the fun they can have on the charming Amalfi Coast just south of Naples. Indeed, tourists almost seem to be a character in this one, much more than in the Traveltalks shorts.

So why is this short so different from all the Traveltalks shorts? Eagle-eyed viewers will note the opening credits to this short include one stating it was produced in conjunction with the Italian State Tourist Office. It would explain why tourists are the focus of this movie, and why the narration is so much more directed at tourists, almost as though it was advertising to them, as opposed to the Traveltalks shorts which, while they often mention some of the hotels for tourists, was somewhat more documentary in its focus. Being commissioned by a government tourist office would probably also explain the why the short looks a bit cheap and shoddy, as it's in black and white.

Amalfi Way isn't terrible, but after seeing all those Traveltalks shorts, you'll probably wish the production values could have been better.

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