This Warner Bros. short is a jam session with several outstanding African-American jazz musicians, including Lester Young. Darkly lit and with a mood that matches the music, the film was ... See full summary »
George 'Red' Callender,
A nation preparing for war must match people with jobs they can do well. This film shows how a Ph.D., a chimp, and three dogs help design aptitude tests for men applying for work. The tests... See full summary »
In this Pete Smith Specialty, Dr. Harold E. Edgerton demonstrates stroboscopic photography, which he helped develop. This process allows us to see in slow motion what happens during events ... See full summary »
Harold E. Edgerton,
Hollywood stars participate in a Mexican-themed revue and festival in Santa Barbara. Andy Devine, the "World's Greatest Matador", engages in a bullfight with a dubious bovine supplied by ... See full summary »
Eduardo Durant's Rhumba Band,
The Spanish Troubadors,
A lecturer seated at a desk promises an informative film about how to sleep; it's a sequel to and inspired by "How to stay awake," which put his audience to sleep. He plans to examine the causes of sleep, the causes of insomnia, and recent research on sleep, including a time-lapse film of a man changing positions 55 times during an 8-hour rest: why exercise, he asks, when you can sleep like a top? The film instructs one on how to get a drink of water during the night without waking completely, and other useful skills for the insomniac. Written by
This is a delightful short that packs more laughs into ten minutes than you'll get from some feature-length comedies. Although it's been shown occasionally on the Turner Channel, How to Sleep was hard to find in a home-viewable format until recently, when it was included as a special feature in the new DVD release of the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera. Robert Benchley's low-key, whimsical humor serves as a nice lead-in to the Marxes' more aggressive style of comedy.
Mr. Benchley acts as our affable host/narrator, covering such topics as 1) the causes of sleep, 2) methods of inducing sleep, 3) methods of avoiding sleep, and 4) how to wake up, which, we're told, "is very important." But this is no dry academic lecture. Our host, who happens to sport the most outlandish pajamas ever designed, helpfully serves as actor as well, demonstrating various positions such as the Supine Curl, the Ventrolateral Sprawl, and the Sleeping-Sitting Standing Crouch. He is aided in his analysis of sleep by some highly amusing animated segments.
This is a film better seen than described. I only wish I could enjoy it with a large audience in a theater, as it must be a real crowd-pleaser. How to Sleep won the Oscar for Best Short Subject of 1935, and led to Benchley's series of how-to short comedies for MGM and Paramount (including How to Read, How to Eat, etc.), but this one may well be the very best of his output. Heartily recommended.
24 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?