Point Rationing of Foods (1943)

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Animated documentary short film demonstrating the reasons and methods of the point system of wartime food rationing.


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Uncredited cast:
Robert C. Bruce ...
Narrator (voice) (uncredited)


In the face of wartime demands and agricultural personnel shortages during World War II, food rationing was necessary. This film explains the US Government's answer of of these wartime realities, point based rationing. Furthermore, the system's application is illustrated as we follow a typical grocery shopper at the store who learns to use it in her favor. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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Release Date:

25 February 1943 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Produced by Chuck Jones' unit on nights and weekends. See more »


Now's the Time to Fall in Love
Music by Al Sherman
Played when the woman goes over her shopping list
See more »

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User Reviews

Share and share alike is the American way to Victory
22 October 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

As soon as the opening credits begin, you know you're not going to see a typical Chuck Jones cartoon. Instead of the Warner Bros. shield logo and the familiar music, the introductory text reads: The United States Government presents Point Rationing of Foods. The film is in black & white and even the lettering has a no-nonsense, industrial look, while the accompanying music could be described as 'triumphal,' almost like a march. The craftsmen who made the film are indeed from the Warner Bros. animation studio, but here they're designated as the "Leon Schlesinger Unit" as if it were a platoon, and we're also told that they belong to Screen Cartoonists Local 852. We're definitely not in Bugs Bunny Land. This short film was made for the Office of War Information and they obviously wanted to set a serious tone, unlike that of the more raffish "Private Snafu" cartoons made by some of the same personnel for screenings on military bases.

When the credits are over, the authoritative-sounding narrator gets right down to brass tacks and tells us that certain canned and processed foods will have to be rationed for a number of reasons: the demand has risen overseas and at home, the supply of tin (for canning) has been sharply reduced by the enemy, and there is also a farm labor shortage because so many young men are in the service. It's explained that the point rationing system that the U.S. Government plans to adopt has been used successfully in England for more than a year, and that the same system will be used across the entire country, whether in small rural stores or big urban "Super-Duper" markets. The same system will apply to all consumers, rich or poor. We are shown a rationing book, and the allotment of points to different foods is explained. We then observe as a young lady goes to a grocery store to do her shopping under the new system, and see how she's able to save points by making substitutions. The animation in this film is limited, rather like the Saturday morning TV cartoons of later years, but it suits the task at hand: the rationing system is explained clearly and the animated vignettes we're shown are helpful to that end.

This brief instructional film will be valuable to viewers with an interest in the political and social history of the American home front during the Second World War. It also serves as a poignant indicator of how much has changed in this country since then. During that war, according to people of my parents' generation and various historical accounts, our leaders explained the stakes in consistent and coherent terms, and almost all Americans were more than willing to pitch in, make sacrifices, and do whatever was necessary to prevail. Pleasure trips were curtailed, rationing was imposed on food, tobacco, and rubber products, and taxes were raised. The Truman Committee cracked down on war profiteers. At the end of this film the narrator intones: "Share and share alike is the American way to victory!" The music swells, the film is over, and we reflect on how much we had to be proud of then, and wonder how we lost our way.

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