Edgar Cochran’s review published on Letterboxd:
My Bruce Conner marathon has begun!
"Bruce Conner" is a name that you should memorize permanently, not only in the experimental cinema landscape, which is a divisive category by essence, but in the world of film itself. He was one of the first filmmakers to challenge the notion of a "documentary" and also one of the film's greatest prophets.
I love the cover of this short: a nuclear bomb cloud. The numerous reviews perceiving this as a critique on the film industry becoming a means of exploitation is correct: extreme depictions of topics that go from xenophobia to women objectification and warfare are the dish of this short, and of everyday's sensationalist/propaganda cinema. The short has the guts to open with Verhoeven's favorite fetish sight.
However, the film makes an extrapolation to our reality. Using a score worth of an epic Hollywood, patriotic production, we begin with extreme activities and sports that endanger man's safety and culminates with simply horrifying acts of violence. The score, however, doesn't stop, indirectly transmitting the idea that these topics are being glorified. They are not. They are meant to cause the exact negative reaction you are feeling. This is a wake-up call for modern society to rethink its ways and to stop using mass media to glorify wrong, exploitative causes.
This short is more than 60 years old and is still as applicable today as ever. Cinema does have these disastrous trends, but today, permissiveness in film towards graphic content has been exponentially increasing. I don't know who would consider this tame by today's standards: it's a full assault. Now go back to the 50s and put yourself in the shoes of virgin spectators.
For the record, this is a mandatory homework for any aspiring editor before Lipsett entered experimental territory.