Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Tashlin Rarity: The Way of Peace

I was not aware of this film until today. It's from 1947, written and directed by Frank Tashlin for the Lutheran Church. Some of the crew, such as Wah Chang and Gene Warren, will be familiar to fans of stop motion animation of the time. The film is narrated by actor Lew Ayres.

There is relatively little animation in this film. It is more a series of illustrations to accompany the narration. I don't know how much this film represents Tashlin's own religious feeling or how much it was simply an employment opportunity.

At this time in his career, Tashlin had left Warner Bros. and was attempting to break into live action feature writing and directing. The year this film appeared, Tashlin first got credited as a screenwriter on the all-star musical Variety Girl. The Way of Peace followed a stint directing animated industrials for John Sutherland Productions, but it would be another five years before Tashlin got credit for directing his first live feature, fittingly titled The First Time.


Thad said...

Thanks for sharing this Mark. I was unaware of its existence until just now also.

It's really too bad Tashlin passed on way earlier than his peers. So many unanswered questions about his unique filmmaking style and sense of humor.

J Lee said...

Going by the date, this would have also been done after his uncredited work coming up with gags for Harpo in "A Night in Casablanca" as well as after his stints with Warners and the Sutherland studio. So this may have been something to bide time and get the bills paid while he was waiting for his next live-action opportunity.

And while Tashlin's cynical side wouldn't seem to mesh with a film done for the Lutheran Church, he would use a church setting for one of his producer-director opuses of the late 1950s (though I suppose doing it and getting Bing Crosby to reprise his past roles as a priest could be called a little cynical attempt to manipulate the audience).

Vincent Alexander said...

Hey, Mark. Thanks for putting this up. I had seen this short before, but it's nice to see it getting some attention.

As for Tashlin's religious views, it's a bit hard to say. There may be a clue in his book "The World That Isn't", which has a similar message of peace and Christianity.

Ken A. Priebe said...

Wow! Thanks for posting this, Mark! Where did you find it? I saw it mentioned in a biography on Tashlin, alongside the Daffy Ditties shorts. Nice to know this one still exists, as I was hoping it would.