Sunday 28 January 2007

We Do It Because- (1942) Basil Wrangell

This was educational to me today just as I'm sure it was in 1942, if it's accurate of course. It's a ten minute short with no dialogue, just narration laid over little skits. The education covers everything from shaking hands to kissing to launching ships. Apparently kissing originated with husbands checking up to see if their wives had been hitting the hard stuff during the day; shaking hands was a means of making sure that your enemy didn't pick up his weapon; and champagne bottles launch ships as a modern day equivalent of buying a drink for the god of luck.

It's mildly entertaining but the chief attraction today is the young lady playing the 'woman to left of wine taster' in the skit that explains why we touch glasses before drinking. She's an uncredited Ava Gardner very early in her career, overacting horribly when demonstrating how we ate chicken without cutlery or manners, thus needing the old and much larger version of today's finger bowls. And by the way, we clink glasses because in the days of yore, we poured some into the wine taster's glass for him to die on our behalf if our drink had been poisoned. I wonder what Ava Gardner thought of this role in later years.

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