Great interview with Rick Prelinger, a film archivist whose world-beating collection of "ephemeral films"
are being integrated into the Creative Commons project have been intergrated into the Internet Archive project (thanks, lisa).
If we want to have a sense of what it was like to be a member of a family, a nuclear family in the American 50's or 60's, you really can't get that authentically from a TV sit com, or from a Hollywood movie, or from a news reel. But when you see these films, they are filled with footage of idealized families in action. We get a sense of how the family actually looked and behaved, what was the body language, what were the gender roles, how kids were supposed to behave differently than adults, and you also get a sense of that sort of all-encompassing ideology. So you could argue that all of these films, in a way, are sort of an ethnographic vision of a lost America.