Virgil Miller

Playlands of Michigan (1949)

A more accurate title for Playlands of Michigan is Playlands of Lake Michigan, though an even more accurate one would be Michigan Playlands of Lake Michigan. “Voice of the Globe” James A. FitzPatrick takes the viewer through some of the state’s summer tourism, mostly as it relates to water activities.

The uncredited director (or directors) fails to bring much life to these activities, whether boating or swimming. There’s a magic show, but it’s unclear how much has been edited. And Playlands misses a chance for a joke with the reveal of an art class’s model.

Even narrator (and producer) FitzPatrick seems rather bored with the subject.

Then, for the finale–after a very uneconomical trip up and down the state’s western shoreline–Playlands gets good. There’s a couple minutes of phenomenal footage from the Silver Lake sand dunes. Virgil Miller’s photography is glorious.

It almost makes up for the rest.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Director of photography, Virgil Miller; music by Joseph Nussbaum; produced by James A. FitzPatrick; released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Narrated by James A. FitzPatrick.


Glimpses of Old England (1949)

Even though it does have some rather nice direction–a miniature posing as a real English village–Glimpses of Old England does not credit a director. One must assume the producer (and narrator) James A. FitzPatrick did not want to distract attention from himself. While he’s a complete egoist, it’s somewhat valid. Glimpses isn’t so much a travelogue as an incomplete lecture on English architecture.

It opens in the Cotswolds, a range of hills with some distinct architecture. FitzPatrick spends half the short talking about them, accompanied by a good score from Joseph Nussbaum and luscious photography from Hone Glendinning and Virgil Miller.

The pacing of this first half is perfect. When FitzPatrick does move on, he’s hurried and without much direction. When Glimpses ends, it does so abruptly. So abruptly, the narration even seems to acknowledge it.

However egotistical, FitzPatrick produces a good short.

Not the best narrator though….

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directors of photography, Hone Glendinning and Virgil Miller; music by Joseph Nussbaum; produced by James A. FitzPatrick; released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Narrated by James A. FitzPatrick.


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