Our Mr. Sun (1956)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 3/17/07
Director: Frank Capra
Cast: Eddie Albert, Dr. Frank Baxter

Watching movies in elementary school was always a treat, and the Bell Science films were a perennial favorite. I think my favorite of the bunch was "Our Mr. Sun," which explores the wonder, majesty, and mystery of that great glowing ball in the sky. Like the other films in the series, this one features the character constructs of "the fiction writer" (Eddie Albert) and "Dr. Research" (Dr. Frank Baxter). The fiction writer uses his imagination as well as his "magic screen" to conjure up the personas of Mr. Sun and Father Time, while Dr. Research has tools, instruments, films, and animation to illustrate the Scientific Method. A great step forward in using entertainment for educational purposes, and the characters are fun and endearing. The information is presented in clear, easy to understand terms, and often accompanied by a touch of humor or clever wit. While some of the information may be outdated, it's sobering to see how even fifty years ago the scientific community was extremely concerned about dwindling energy reserves and alternative power. How sad that we've made such little progress... Watching these films now, it's shocking to see the heavy-handed religious content, which is probably the biggest reason why these historical gems are no longer shown in today's classrooms.