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A Chairy Tale (1957)

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An ordinary looking chair refuses to be sat upon.

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Title: A Chairy Tale (1957)

A Chairy Tale (1957) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »


Uncredited cast:
Claude Jutra ...
Young man (uncredited)


A young man wishes to sit down on a plain white chair in order to read. The chair resists this whole idea strenuously. Finally the young man admits defeat and sits on the floor. But left on its own the chair becomes lonesome... The music is provided by Ravi Shankar, years before the Beatles spread his name far and wide. Written by David Badger

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Release Date:

30 November 1999 (Taiwan)  »

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A Chairy Tale  »

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Featured in Claude Jutra, an Unfinished Story (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

A CHAIRY TALE {Short} (Claude Jutra & Norman McLaren, 1957) **1/2
21 February 2014 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

When I attended that Norman McLaren retrospective at London's National Film Theatre in 2007, I recall being disappointed on missing out on this short – since Leslie Halliwell deigns to give it a favourable ** rating in his "Film Guide" – although, at this point, I do not recall if that omission was because I was not going to be in London at the time of screening or because it was not included in the retrospective in the first place.

At any rate, now that I have caught up with it via "You Tube", the end result was rather underwhelming because, although the central situation – that of a man not being allowed to sit down to read by a rebellious chair – is agreeably surreal, it is also terminally one-note. Watching the man chasing the chair around in and out of camera shot and, at one point, having the chair actually stand still to watch the beleaguered man running around in circles as in a Tex Avery cartoon, seeing him grappling with the chair on the floor like someone engaged in a wrestling bout and, best of all, ultimately sitting down on it when in a stationary horizontal position on the floor, is decidedly amusing for a while. But, once the theme is stated, unfortunately nothing different is really done with it throughout its 10-minute running time and the invention does eventually wear thin. The multi-lingual opening credits trick is reprised from NEIGHBOURS (1952) but here serves no discernible purpose.

For the record, this short was co-directed by Claude Jutra – the man behind MY UNCLE ANTOINE (1971) which is hailed in some quarters as the best Canadian film ever made and has also been given a DVD release via The Criterion Collection; incidentally, competing against A CHAIRY TALE in the Best Short Subject Oscar category was CITY OF GOLD (1957) which I will be getting to presently.

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