Kendra Steiner Editions

August 1, 2020

Won By A Sweet (1929, silent)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 12:17 am
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won by a sweet

Recently, Mary Anne and I watched an interesting and entertaining 1929 silent short as part of a Zoom presentation from Washington University of St. Louis. Washington U was responsible for restoring the short from a 16mm print (though clearly, it was shot in 35mm) and the academic presentation included a screening of the film along with comments from the scholars involved in the restoration and research and also a person involved with the excellent new music score.

The film was commissioned by the National Confectioners Association to extol the benefits on candy, yet it was not a documentary, but a light comic action-adventure film, running about 23 minutes. Made in California by R. P. Young Productions, of Burbank (a name unknown to me), it very much resembles the low-budget productions of indies such as Rayart or Weiss Bros—-a competently made Hollywood product, with a professional cast, good editing, and competent direction. Alas, the film has no cast or crew credits, though some of the actors look vaguely familiar (the stocky man eating the meal, especially, I’m sure I’ve seen in comedy shorts). It’s very much in the style of the “collegiate” light comedies of the 1920’s, with the plot centering around two college track teams and how one of them learns the many beneficial qualities of CANDY and it helps them win. Only about 4-5 minutes of the film deal specifically with candy, and frankly, if you edited those out and the filmmakers shot a few scenes twice, once without the inclusion of candy, they’d have a superb 2-reel light action comedy.

As it was, the film was distributed in 16mm form free to schools, church groups, civic organizations, Boy Scouts, YMCA’s, etc. through the early 1930’s, and I’m sure it went over well. The two of us really enjoyed it….although we watch multiple silent films and shorts per week, so perhaps we aren’t representative of the general audience!

Washington University has made the film available online, so I hope I’m not violating anyone’s rights by making it available for you all here at the KSE blog. Acknowledgement should also be given to the National Film Preservation Foundation, who provided funding for the restoration.

It’s a fine way to kill 23 minutes, and any fan of low-budget silent cinema should enjoy it.

Wait until you learn about the “dental benefits” of candy. It certainly looks at that question from a perspective that no one other than a candy company or the most mercenary dentist would ever consider!

WON BY A SWEET (silent short, 1929, 23 minutes, two reels)

…………………….

If you’ve got some more time on your hands, you might want to watch another entertaining film financed by a sweets company, Coca-Cola: ALWAYS TOMORROW, from 1941.

I was engaged by a video company (thankfully, no longer in business!) to write a description of this back in 2005 for their catalog/website and (presumably) for the video box, which they did use but never paid me for, so I published the write-up online in 2006. Here is that write-up:

——————————————————————–

strange in-house Coca-Cola dramatized documentary, plays like a Monogram or PRC feature
7 March 2006
ALWAYS TOMORROW, made in 1941 for the Coca-Cola company and presumably aimed at bottlers and potential investors in bottling plants and distributor-ships, belongs to that curious genre of film, the Corporate Feature. This is not a documentary or a training film, but a Hollywood-made narrative drama featuring a cast full of familiar B-movie faces (led by comedian Johnny Arthur as a fussy, worrywart accountant for a local Coca-Cola bottling plant), and it plays like a typical Monogram or PRC feature, except for the lectures to the audience (in the style of an exploitation film) about business philosophy. The film’s structure is strange in that it begins in 1941 with the story of Coca-Cola distributor Jim Westlake, and then works backward step-by-step until we reach the beginning of his career! You’ve probably never seen a film like this before, and you’ll learn a lot about the history of the soda business while being entertained.

 


And here is the film, which runs 51 minutes, MAYBE TOMORROW from 1941.

Enjoy….stay safe, at home watching films financed by candy and soft-drink companies!

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