2/10/09

RVOD049 Playing Together

(1950s-ish, Educational, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

This movie should be called Watching Other People Playing Together.

Rating: **

In a Nutshell:


Small children Donny and Duncan wander their neighborhood unsupervised.

Summary:

Why can't gangstas, cowboys and beanie propeller nerds just get along?Small children Donny and Duncan picnic together in the park. After slight mishaps with their picnic trash and their bicycles, they head down to the playground to watch other kids play. Then they head down the public pool, but can’t go in the water until the swimming races and aquatic clown follies have ended. Throughout, a narrator gently gives us pointers on good sportsmanship and general stick-related etiquette.

Having apparently left the narrator at the pool, Donny and Duncan now purchase and eat ice cream bars while they parade in front of a pair of brightly lit, khaki-clad buttocks for several consecutive minutes. The narrator finally catches up to inform us, “You would like to play with Donny and Duncan.”

Thoughts:

Be careful not to let your pool become infested with deadly freshwater clowns.Archive.org puts this short’s release date as “circa 1950”, by which I assume they mean that they don’t really know. If I had to guess, I’d put the release date much earlier than that—early forties at the latest. The grainy, poorly contrasted film stock, the wandering piano score, the way the shots linger on the kids for long periods of time while they're not really doing anything. It all looks very much like it was made in a time when “being a film” was novelty enough to make it an object of awe, without the need for any intrinsic redeeming qualities such as “action”, “narrative” or “message”.

Not much actually happens in this short. When the narrator describes how the kids must turn in their clothes to the attendants before checking in at the public pool, Bill adds, “The same policies apply at the Neverland Ranch.” As we’re introduced to the tuneless piano, Kevin says, “A rogue silent movie score has been stalking them all summer.” When things grind to a halt near the end, Mike thinks that “someone just stuck a piano score on their home movies.” It’s got some good bits, but this mostly empty little film doesn’t inspire much in the way of funny commentary.