4/5/10

RVOD102 Drawing for Beginners: The Rectangle

(1949, Educational/Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Wait, I haven’t seen how paper works.

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:


Rectangles have four sides. They are either longer than they are wide or vice versa.

Summary:

Rectangles do not make good throwing stars.Um, yeah. What I said up in the “In a Nutshell” section? That’s pretty much all there is to this 1949 educational film. Well, that and the use of rectangles to construct drawings of a house, a radio, a wagon and a flag. Aside from the drawings and the models they’re based on, the only other things we ever see are a pen, paper and a hand.

Thoughts:

Yes, it’s a thrilling tour-de-force of preschool-level art instruction. I haven’t seen them, but they’re listed on an educational film catalog page, so I assume its companion films really exist. I refer, of course, to Drawing for Beginners: The Circle, Drawing for Beginners: The Triangle and Drawing for Beginners: The Square. When you consider that several of the eponymous rectangles of this film are actually squares, I’m not sure why that last one is even necessary. No wait, scratch that. I’m not sure why any of these films would be necessary, including this one.

And yet, for a stupefyingly dull little art short, Mike, Bill and Kevin knock the commentary out of the park. When the title pops up, Kevin clarifies, “Because ‘Drawing for Drooling Morons’ seemed a bit harsh.” While the narrator puzzles over the question of drawing a window, Mike says, “You can burn in hell if you think this problem can’t be solved with a rectangle.” When the narrator tells the hand to draw lines across the flag, Bill says, “Lines are just very flat rectangles.” They make Drawing for Beginners: The Rectangle far, far funnier than it deserves to be.