This is topic The Littlest Angel (Blackhawk release) in forum 8mm Print Reviews at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on October 23, 2006, 06:09 PM:
Being that we are already getting close to the Holidays (frickin EGAD!), I thought I'd offer a Holiday review.

The film is "The Littlest Angel". This is the very first version that was put to film, (The authors orginal book only came out a few years before this film) made in 1951. This was originally a film to be shown in schools, it was an educational release, (thankfully, Blackhawk even allowed all of the original leader on this release, which states so). It's just an interesting comment on our american society, that this film has such a judeo-christian ethic to it, while today, if you even pray anywhere near a school, your expelled! How times have changed.

I degress ....

After the Coronet title image and the credits, the film opens with the Littlest Angel sadly sitting at the pearly gates.
We find that the Angel, being a child, has been in any number of mischievous actions in heaven and an "unholy terror" to all the angelic hosts, and the story goes into many of them, such as jumping off of clouds and not beingt able to fly, ect.

The angel is sent to the head angel and is inquired as to why his behavior is so bad. Part of it is loneliness, he misses his parents and after all, there are no other little angels for him to play with. The head angel asks what he could do to help our little angel. Well, the little angel left a box of precious little things on the earth when he left and he would so love to have them back. The head angel sends some angels to retrieve the box, and there is a marked improvement in the Angels behavior.

The box consists of normal little boy stuff; shiny rocks he found, fishing gear (I think) and other knicj knacks.

Fast forward the story. A day is proclaimed when all the angels are to come before the son of God and present gifts. The little angel tries to think of something, but can come up with no gift for baby Jesus. He gives the only precious gift he has, his little box of knick knacks.

After having given his gifts and seen all the majestic gifts given by the other angels, the little angel is ashamed and terrified that he gave God such a lowly present and runs in fear, afraid that God will be mad.

God takes the little angels gift and honors it above all, as the Little Angel gave all he had, and for having done so, the little angels gift becomes the Star of David, that guides the sheperds to the birthside of baby Jesus.

Of course, it is a very religious story, but it suprisingly not preachy, since heaven is the location of the story, hence angels and such. It is nearly intolerably cute, but that is some of it's charm. sadly, the credits do not give the studio that created it, or the animators and such.

The animation goes from full animation (24 frames persecond) to stopped "poses" and has a slightly old fashioned look of the late thirties to the characters. One of the most striking things about this release is the amazing color spectrum. This was originally released on kodachrome, and the color is amazing, (and is kept so by the fact that this was one of the later Blackhawk releases done on Eastman LPP film stock, so the color is absolutely perfect!!), especially in the scene of the throne of God and the colors of all kinds round about, very rich colors!! The sound is very good mono, though slightly on the muffled side. This was also a rather long cartoon, a full 15 minutes, it was thusly released on a 400ft. reel, in those really nice metallic grey Blackhawk boxes. I was lucky in that I bought this as used, but it became very clear that it was never played, having the original tape holding the film in place and not a single bit of wear on it.

It is a very nice piece of animation history from an earlier time and in many ways a rare one on super 8, in that, there weren't too many "educational" releases on super 8 (despite industrial films) ....

... and it still strikes me, that this relic was actually allowed in schools. It's of course, harmless, but if you even tried to allow this in a school of today, the ACLU would sue your ass for all you have.

a nice little find if you happen to get a chance to get this!
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on October 27, 2006, 05:08 PM:
Wow- what a great find OSI!

Don't you just love it when you buy a "used" print, and find it to be -as good as sealed!

And, being a Blackhawk 'silver box' release, dates it to the early 80's, so you really made out well with this one [Smile] .

I too agree about the ACLU and all that you said about that, and its a real shame.

I could go on and on about that, but I'll be nice and keep with Forum policy [Wink]

Thanks for the review!

Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on November 13, 2013, 07:17 PM:
Seven years after you posted this review Osi....and I just got a silver book version of this sweet little movie myself. Bright saturated colors and in mint condition. A nice holiday treat!

Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on November 14, 2013, 09:20 AM:
Me too Janice! Just picked up a print a couple of weeks ago.
Mine is a nice Blackhawk print and the colors are more pastel than saturated Technicolor, which suites the story just fine.

I also got a print of The Little Match Girl, which is a great Christmas cartoon put out by Columbia. The story is quite heartbreaking. My print has superb color.
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on November 14, 2013, 12:48 PM:
Blackhawk also released another Christmas themed educational film from the 1950's "How the Animals Discovered Christmas", also in the same kid of animated style.

However, I think that this was a single year print run, and sadly, they were printed before LPP film stock, and the Eastman film stock is reddening. It is a nice film though. In fact, I believe that dave Thomas "("super8movieman" on ebay) has one up for sale, and he also states that it has some fade to it.

It is, however, most certainly a rarity. By the way, thanks for posting those pics!

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