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For some time now, it has been a self-imposed policy not to comment on
things I don't have a copy of, but I'm breaking that here because I don't
want this one to go unregarded any longer. I've seen this twice, the
time almost thirty years ago and it burned its way into my brain then and
has stayed there.
A blend of still photography and very limited animation, it looks and feels like the old UPA cartoons from the 1950s, which is understandable, because the producer of this, Nick Bosustow, is the son of Steve Bosustow, who produced the UPA shorts. In order for limited animation to work, there has to be something that hooks the audience. That something is the narration, and boy, does it work! The voice of Orson Welles is perfect for this, as are the script and the visuals. Everything blends together perfectly to create a memorable and totally riveting experience. That this is not in circulation through syndication or by being in print and generally available disappoints me more than I can say. When you look through history, you find that a great deal of damage has been done by people who are thoroughly and totally convinced that they are RIGHT and everyone else is WRONG, mostly about things theological. This cartoon questions that unshakeable belief people have about (fill in the blank) and does so beautifully. I cannot recommend this more highly. If you ever get to see this, by all means, do so!
I used this film with high schoolers in the middle 70s. I believe it's a good time to remind students again of the tremendous gap we sometimes experience when so many of us feel we have the only right answers. This film depicts various groups and the great divide among them so vividly, that I still recall the images and Wells' booming narrative, even though it's been almost 30 years since I've seen a copy. It's a great open-ended examination of truth, and how different points of view affect us all. The issues may have changed since the 70s, but attitudes have not, and those issues still divide our nation. The Hawks and Doves, the Old and Young, etc. battle it out, believing Right is Might. The message of tolerance is clearly conveyed. I would love to find a copy to share with today's teenagers.
I can't compare this film to the other two Oscar nominees for 1971, as
they apparently are not available. I assume that IS IT ALWAYS RIGHT TO
BE RIGHT? was the best film, as it won...plus I really liked the
film--even though it may seem a tad preachy.
This cartoon is about all the negative and polarizing issues we were confronted with in America at the time--racism,the generation gap, the war in Vietnam, etc.. In dealing with these issues, the film takes an amazingly neutral view--and suggests we all do the same. Now this does NOT mean that we should necessarily allow evil, but that we should all learn not to be so dogmatic and try to see the truth in both sides of the issue. In other words, seldom, if ever, is one side 100% right and being "right" should not be the goal but learning to understand and cooperate. It's all told through a parable and it's very clever. While it's all a bit obvious and perhaps preachy, the message is a good one and this film was incredibly timely back when it debuted.
As for the animation style, it ain't much to look at, but this was the case for all animation at the time. Simplistic backgrounds, low frame-rates and hastily drawn characters were all the norm, so I can't really penalize the film too much--it was a product of the times.
Fortunately, in addition to the nice message, clever parable and decent artwork, the film makers were also able to persuade Orson Welles to narrate--giving the film some clout and a touch of class.
Overall, a nice film--one that I wouldn't mind seeing again sometime.
In 1972 I started teaching Race Relations in the Air Force. Many say that the Armed Services are conservative or bigoted, but this is an example of the forward thinking of the Air Force as this was one of the first films purchased for our program. It is probably one of the most powerful short films about bigotry and closed mindedness I have ever seen. Men and women of all ranks thought that the message was clear and meaningful. I wish it were available today, I am still in Social Work and while I primarily do therapy, the message is applicable to marriage counseling, domestic violence, anger control and even substance abuse group therapy. If any one has a copy I would appreciate contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Is It Always Right to Be Right?" is an 8-minute animated short film from 1970 and regardless what you may think of the spoken contents here, this film's main problem is the animation, which looks pretty bad even for soon 50 years ago. The texts in here are spoken by Orson Welles and are a mix of intelligent, intellectual and pretentious quotes about how it is easier to live together with other people in terms of finding common consensus. I myself did not enjoy the watch. It is pretty pathetic to see this child-like animation and then hear these heavy words coming out of Welles' mouth at the same time. For me, it wasn't working. I may be wrong, but this is not a good short film and certainly not Oscar worthy. I guess they just wanted to awards the big name that came with this movie as this was nothing usual in the Animated Short Film category. Don't watch.
Lee Mishkin's Oscar-winning "Is It Always Right to Be Right?" looks
partly at the generation gap of the 1960s but more generally at
polarization in general: both sides are so convinced of their rectitude
that society suffers stagnation. Sound familiar? Narrated by Orson
Welles, the cartoon makes the point that both sides have legitimate
arguments. The setting never gets identified but it's clearly the US,
with the adults emphasizing the high quality of life and the young
people emphasizing the prominence of racism and militarism. All very
This cartoon reminds us that not only do cartoons not have to be "cute" (animation is simply another type of filmmaking), but it's one of the best ways to draw attention to society's problems. I definitely recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've been looking for this on video ever since I recorded a 16mm print
of it onto 1/2 inch video tape for my high school library in 1971.
(we'd worn out the film!) I'll give no spoilers, but the picture puts
forward an essential question each of us must answer in our evolution
toward adulthood. It offers counterpoint where one might think the
answer implicit and makes it's arguments in an unusual format not easy
Thought provoking would be an under statement. Yet it's a short, deceptively simple little film. Incredible that the impression has lasted so long.
Against the backdrop of Vietnam and the polarized U.S. society of the time, it is an amazing, healing effort. Viewing it, made much room in my life for the opinions of others, especially when I thought them wrong.
I hope it would have something for today's world as well, but it's been so long that I really can't be certain any more.
Please... put it on video so we can all find out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saw "Right?" in Hollywood in 1970 with my bride a few weeks before she
became my bride. We never forgot "Right?" - accidentally catching it
once again during the early 1990s.
I second the eloquence of the reviewer before me who mourned the short's unavailability in 2002. I am more fortunately located than Tuscon, AZ for tracking down "Right?" and will do my best. Writing as a Certified Mediator "Right?" is a treasure. A too-obvious "prop" for those who do what I do for a living. It is entertaining and much more. That "Right?" is obscure and NOT basic to disputes - large and small - is barely less astonishing.
Among the very few "musts" for everyone.
I used this movie in many management and employee classes as a
government training and organizational development consultant. In 8
minutes you get a vivid picture of how polarizing views (being
"right")can result in everything coming to a halt. The footage includes
animation, actual footage of Vietnam anti-war protesters and those who
reacted to them, and much more. While much dated when I stopped using
it in the early 90's in favor of videos, it's as relevant today as it
was in 1970.
I left the film when I retired in 1997 and found out later that it was tossed out with all the other 16mm training films. It was powerful enough for me to never forget and would use it today in my consulting business if I could find a copy to convert to DVD.
Just watched this Steve Bosustow Productions animated short on YouTube as linked from Cartoon Brew. It was the last one to win an Oscar for "Short Subject, Cartoon" before the category was changed to "Short Subject, Animated". Narrated by Orson Welles, Is It Always Right to Be Right? addressed the polarizing views of the nation as they were divided over the Vietnam War, Nixon's election, and the world in general. Mixed with limited animation and live-action footage, this short is relevant even today with the divisiveness of the recent presidential election. So on that note, I highly recommend Is It Always Right to Be Right?
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