Those kids who have grown up in the video age will never be able to truly experience the art of making a home movie. Video...just isn't film. When you can rewind and re-shoot scenes at will it just doesn't hone your skills. Plus, there's no comparing the look of film to video. As I watched Don Glut's I Was A Teenage Movie Maker I was transported back to the days of my filmmaking days when my friends and I got out the 8MM camera and made our own classics. The difference between Don Glut and us is that Don never grew out of it. He's now been making professional films for a number of years but he harkens back to the beginning with the remarkable two disc set that includes all 41 of Don's amateur movies made between 1953 to 1969, the golden age for young baby boomers.
There is one other thing that separates Don from so many of the rest of us who made our own home movies, and that's an obvious degree of creative talent. Talk about working on a shoestring budget, Don was not only ahead of his time compared to other kids, but you can argue that Don was advancing into techniques that paralleled Hollywood filmmakers of the day.
I could not help but star the DVD by first watching the actual documentary I Was A Teenage Movie Maker. This full-length documentary features a running commentary by Don beginning with his very first films and going right through his last amateur project. Besides Don, there are also comments from Forrest Ackerman, Bob Burns, and numerous childhood friends of Don's who reflect on their "acting careers" and working with Don.
What really comes across as you watch the documentary is Don's passion for movies. Like I said, he didn't grow out of it and still owns many of the props and costumes he used forty to fifty years ago. That alone is remarkable! Like most kids of that era who grew up watching the Shock Theater package of films, Don loved monsters, specifically the Universal Studios monsters. Many of Don's early efforts were his own takes on Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, and The Invisible Man, including many of those "jams' that featured all of the monsters. From there, Don graduated into the teen monster films of the 50's. Don's techniques of turning his actor into the Wolfman are incredible considering his age and what he had to work with.
Don would then move on to Superhero and action star films featuring the likes of Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Captain America and others, mixing in sound and music with his later efforts. The true thrill in watching these 41 films is seeing the progression of a moviemaker take place right before your eyes. There is so much on these two DVD that it will literally take you hours to get through. The total running time clocks in at a whopping 480 minutes! Besides the documentary and 41 films, you also get behind the scenes looks, commentary tracks, A Count Gore DeVol featurette, bonus films, and photo galleries. Rarely have I had this much fun watching a DVD! A true masterpiece!
REVIEWED BY TIM JANSON