Sunday, 30 July 2017

Tralfaz Sunday Theatre: Why Man Creates

An inventive film with June Foray’s voice won an Oscar. No, it wasn’t a Warner Bros. cartoon or one from MGM. It was Why Man Creates, which picked up the 1968 Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. It is a combination of animation and live action; it did not win for “animation,” despite what some misguided places on the internet will tell you.

Business Screen Magazine of December 1969 reported (in a typo-filled story) from the CINE Awards in New York City that 205 “Golden Eagles” were presented:
The Golden Eagle film credited with the most significant awards worldwide in 1969 was Why Man Creates, by Paul Bass for Kaiser Alumnium and Chemical Corp. It took high honors in five festivals (Cork, Moscow, Trieste, Venice Golden Mercury and Venice Documentary) and diplomas or certificates in four others (Edinburgh, Melborne, Nyon and Vancouver).
While the CINE ceremonies were in progress, Why Man Creates was also winning top honors at the International Film Festival in West Berlin and a special Inforfilm plaque for excellence.
The film was also shown during the second half of the very first broadcast of 60 Minutes on September 24, 1968.

Saul Bass, NOT Paul Bass, was known for his incomparable and highly-creative animated titles for movies. The Seven Year Itch and Man With the Golden Arm (both 1955) are among his best-known early works. In 1949, as motion picture art director for the Buchanan and Co. agency in Los Angeles, he won a gold medal and two certificates of merit from his peers (and ended up in hospital on his way to accept them thanks to a car crash). Bass died in 1996.

Variety reported on January 5, 1968 that Foray had laid down voice tracks for When Man Creates. Unfortunately, the trade paper makes no mention of any of the other voice actors in the film.

The movie’s opening animation is really a marvel. And being the late 1960s, it is a message film, all the more fascinating because it was underwritten by a huge corporation which made no mention of its products (there were demonstrations outside its showing at CINE, but not because of the film. It’s because president Richard Nixon gave a speech there).

Foray’s unmistakeable performance is in the middle of the film.

1 comment:

  1. FINALLY! someone else besides me who RECOGNIZES her in the film...and I thought I was losing my mind when I recoginzed her..I went on all the film messageboards, the only one to point out ity's her..thanks for being another one to notice!:)P