1/11/11

RVOD149 Walking to School

(1950s-ish, Educational/Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

It’s like walking, but to school!

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:


Two kids, um, ambulate to a local educational institution.

Summary:

You MUST use them.Lots of children walk to school. They do it all over the world, except in places where they ski, row and/or ride burros instead.

In 1950s America, an eight-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister join hands and walk to school. They are careful to pause before every blind corner and wait for a fresh green light every time they have to cross the street. Where the sidewalk dips below the road, they descend through the tunnel. Where it rises above, they cross the pedestrian bridge. When it disappears, they balance on the curb. They do not accept rides from strangers.

Very, very, very eventually, the kids arrive at school. The narrator retraces their steps to go over all the rules of walking-to-school safety one more time.

Thoughts:

Bad driver?  Probably.Walking to School is either dangerously na├»ve or the product of more innocent times. Probably both, actually. It’s a very special kind of film that makes small children traverse a densely populated urban landscape including four lane thoroughfares, sidewalk-less underpasses and narrow pedestrian tunnels without supervision. It also warns them to not accept rides with strangers because (I kid you not) “they might be poor drivers”.

A few favorite comments: During the multicultural introduction, Mike notes, “All around the world, people travel by stereotype.” As the kids stop at their fifth blind corner before using their third crosswalk, Kevin says, “Meanwhile, their classmates finish lunch.” At one point, Bill has to emphasize one of the narrator’s admonishments. “Wander into tunnels, kids,” he says. “You MUST use them.” The short is simple and tedious with the occasional bit of outrageously bad advice, but the riffers fill the spaces well, and never let it get boring.