Video of the Day: “Master Hands”

Video of the Day: “Master Hands”

I really like the early Jam Handy technical films created for various car manufacturers from the 1930s to the 1960s. They are usually peppy, fun, and educational… Which is the whole point of them. For some reason, Chevy’s Jam Handy productions started out a little dark- And I’m not just talking about the film exposure. Case in point isĀ  “Master Hands” made for Chevrolet in 1936, which was meant as a tribute to the “skilled craftsmen whose master hands command the great machinery of production”. Instead it feels kinda like a weird WWII propaganda film showing slave labor building bombs. Maybe it’s overly dramatic Richard Wagner inspired musical score, or that it starts on ghost-like images of the workers, then shots that are void of any human interface, instead focusing on the ‘hands’, as the film title implies. Regardless, it’s fascinating to see this newer, high-quality print revealing the minute details of every assembly station from the crankshaft casting to the complete car. The balance between manual labor and automation at this point in the 30s is noteworthy as well…

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