As they begin their journey home from their student exchange term, Charlie Brown and the gang find themselves sidetracked. They have severe car trouble and more importantly, they pass by various monuments to World Wars I and II. With Linus guiding them through these memorials, they learn about the events of the wars and the sacrifices required of the troops who fought them. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
When Charlie Brown gets in the car after he first injures his hand while cranking the Car at the Rent a car place, Linus is in the back seat, but when they leave the Rent A Car Place and Run into the French Girl on the bike, Linus is in the Front seat See more »
Linus van Pelt:
[Reciting "In Flanders Fields"]
In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row/That mark our place, and in the sky/The larks still bravely sing and fly/Scarce heard amid the guns below, we are the dead/Short days ago we lived, felt dawn saw sunset glow/Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders Fields/In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row.
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This interesting short movie (24 minutes) won a Peabody Award for excellence. In today's cynical, apathetic society where people are not really interested in the sacrifices that were necessary to conquer evil, it's not surprising that this movie is not shown more.
As far as the movie goes, any plot is clearly secondary to the point of the movie which is to educate youngsters about the Allied invasion of France and to a lesser extent the World War I events at Ypres and Flanders. The film is most successful in this respect with, (as usual) Linus as the champion. The images shown during his descriptions of the D-Day invasion are powerful and interestingly very atypical of the usual Peanuts animation style. Actual combat photography is used, although it is transformed into two-tone color images. The use of the red imagery is powerful in the battle scenes (it seems odd discussing battle scenes in a review of a Charlie Brown movie).The film does a solid job of educating and instilling awe, sorrow and compassion for the men who fought the battles discussed.
Seriousness aside, the other parts of the film are typical Peanuts fare: Charlie Brown gets hurt a lot, Snoopy is in charge and gets into trouble, Linus is the scholar, etc. These parts made my 4-year old son laugh. But more important, it made him start asking questions about what the gang was doing, who the bad guys were and if any good guys got killed. These questions mark the beginning of an understanding of magnitude of the effects of World War II and the lives forever altered and ended by that conflict. In this respect, the movie is a resounding success and deserves the ten stars I gave it.
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