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
Robert Benchley made dozens of shorts in his career and this here is perhaps the best known. One reason is the title and subject itself but another is the fact that this was Best Short Subject at the Oscars. In the film Benchley explains that sleep comes from the blood flowing out of the brain. The comedian then explains some of the possible ways to make this happen before he turns his attention to the many positions one sleeps in at night. I'd be lying if I said this short deserved an Oscar but in its own way it's pretty clever and it certainly ranks as one of the best in the "How to..." series. I think this one benefits from the subject matter as well as some neat animation used. One example is when we see the blood leaving the brain and another happens later when Benchley is counting sheep. Neither thing is going to make you forget Walt Disney but it was a nice added touch. There are some pretty funny moments here including one where Benchley discusses the various positions someone is in while asleep and mentions that a normal person moves over fifty times a night.
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