We see the various birds, mice, and bats that have moved into an old windmill, followed by the frogs, crickets, and fireflies making their music in an adjacent pond. Then a storm comes, ... See full summary »
This short won the Academy Award for Documentary, Short Subject. There will be spoilers ahead:
Disney did a series of short subjects called, "People and Places". This short was part of that series. In their own way, these shorts were almost as good as the animated shorts for which the studio was best known. Disney had well-trained technical crews capable of getting the film footage necessary, sometimes under very trying conditions, as in Alaska during winter.
This short looks at an Eskimo village largely by following one family from one spring to the next and detailing their day to day lives. They are marvelously adapted to the conditions which surround them. The relatively brief spring is spent preparing for the next winter. The construction of a whaling ship is shown, as is the preparations to store food (principally fish, which is the staple food) and the construction of a home, which carries with it it's own very specific requirements based on their environment.
The head of the family and his eldest son are shown on a hunting/fishing expedition and the techniques used are fascinating. The very real danger of being caught out by a sudden storm also becomes clear at one point, as the father is the last man to reach home before winter comes in force.
There are some moments played for light comedy in the narration, the chief one being the concoction of blueberry "ice cream" which is completely different in its ingredients and preparation (apart from having blueberries) from what I would consider ice cream. Clearly, the family being filmed enjoys it, as it's clearly a treat.
This is a most entertaining and enthralling film and it's too bad that Disney doesn't seem too interested in making it widely available, along with the other films in the "People and Places" series. Perhaps if the "True Life Adventures" DVD sets had sold better, these films would be more widely available. Recommended.
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