Saturday, 31 January 2009

Chuck Jones “So Much For So Little"

I have to steel myself to watch the daily news, so dire is the economic state. Therefore the following is offered as a timely antidote to today’s pervasive pessimism. Now sixty years old, Chuck Jones’ So Much For So Little was made at a time when America faced, in child mortality, a different but nevertheless very real problem. It suffers no diminution due to the passing of years and is so positive in its outlook that it screams out for us to loosen up. In a year when the USA can rightly claim there are no barriers to becoming president other than ability it features young John E Jones who could so easily have been one of the 118,481 babies who did not survive their childhood in the America of that period. Alternatively he could have been president. Inoculated against the childhood diseases, regularly tested for eyesight at his Health Center, John grows to be a fine man and meets up with fellow High School pupil, Mary, with whom he has a child, allowing us to explore the routines of pre-natal care and the like. John has his problems when a father and tax-payer. His local Health Centre costs him all of 3 cents a week! The movie progresses through John’s life, playing ball with the kid, paunch, the diseases of middle age and old age. A rosy, prosperous, healthy life provided John takes heed of the advice his health official offers him. A swift rewind and we are back in the nursery. Baby John may still die young but, and here is the very optimistic note: “well staffed Health Departments throughout this great country of ours” can transform our world - it is, after all, a documentary, but 60 years old and wearing its years well despite changes in tastes and style in a more cynical age. The great director's skill lies in adding sufficient humour and visual variety, to complement a very worthy propaganda short for public health. Chuck was awarded an Oscar for Documentary Short Subject in 1950. I find his movie worthy as opposed to inspirational, humorous naturally, gently persuasive in its polemics though ultimately powerful in its message: but most of all it is a positive spin, looking towards a brighter future for little Johnny, a better world. And such a change from the numbers of jobs lost in steel, motor, retail, banking……… talking ourselves down down down. Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, they would talk us up. Instead of spending billions on bankers, get our new generation of animators on the move.

1 comment:

allen mez said...

GREAT post. Thanks so much for this. I'll be back-Allen