Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Short Film: A Short Vision (1956)

Written & directed by Joan Foldes and Peter Foldes; narrated by James McKechnie.
To quote the BFI National Archive: "A Short Vision became one of the most influential British animated films ever made when it was screened on US television as part of the popular Ed Sullivan Show [on May 27, 1956]. Although children were advised to leave the room while it played, it still caused outrage and alarm with its graphic representation of the horrors of nuclear war. [...] That said, there is no explicit reference to atomic warfare in A Short Vision. The narration is calculatedly allegorical, even quasi-Biblical, talking about a mysterious 'it' appearing in the sky, terrifying animals but ignored by most humans. Not that this makes any difference, as 'their leaders and wise men', though aware of the situation, are powerless to do anything about it — since every living creature, regardless of species or age, is subsequently annihilated. The sequences of human faces disintegrating into skulls, their eyeballs popping and flesh peeling back from muscle and bone, are what gave the film its primary notoriety, as did its utter extinguishing of any hope at the end (the final images show a moth flitting around a dying flame)."
Over at the blogspot Conelrad Adjacent, they tell this urban-legend-sounding tale relating to this short's television premiere in the US, when Ed Sullivan "threw more than just a curveball: he broadcast an animated short film about the end of the world that still reverberates within the memories of an untold number of baby boomers": "[...] I met a man from Canada who had shoulder-length dark hair, but in the center of his head was a small spot where his hair grew out a silvery white color. I asked him about it, and he told me that he was a medically-documented case of a person whose hair had turned white from fright. As a child, he had seen A Short Vision while alone in a house, and he experienced extreme panic and terror for some time, and one result was that his hair began to grow out white from that one spot on his head." [Michael Mode, "Sense of Panic," March 22, 2009, www.conelrad.com, "A Short Vision Legacy Project"]
In any event, we aren't a baby boomer so we never saw the short, but when we stumbled upon A Short Vision while wasting our time on YouTube, we knew that one day we had to make it our Short Film of the Month.  And here it is.

Hungarian-born  Peter Foldes (1924 — 29 March 1977), by the way, went on to make a number of other shorts of varying interest, including Hunger (1974), our Short Film of the Month for March 2014.

2 comments:

TM Rezzek said...

Great stuff! I'm always on the lookout for the obscure and unusual in animation. Can't believe that ED SULLIVAN actually showed this film--how can you segue to tap-dancing bears after watching something like this?

Abraham said...

Well, to quote Peggy Lee and others – Cristina, for example" – "Is That All There Is?" ...If that's all there is, my friend, let's keep dancing, let's break out the booze and and have a ball...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...