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The Breath of a Nation (1919)

Not Rated | | Animation, Comedy, Short | 29 June 1919 (USA)
Prohibition has just gone into effect, and Judge Rummy's wife eagerly throws away all of the Judge's liquor. She also plans to have a temperance lecturer use him as an example of the evils ... See full summary »

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(as Gregory LaCava)
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Storyline

Prohibition has just gone into effect, and Judge Rummy's wife eagerly throws away all of the Judge's liquor. She also plans to have a temperance lecturer use him as an example of the evils of drink. While waiting for the lecturer, Judge Rummy notices that Silk Hat Harry's Soda Fountain is remarkably popular, so he stops in to see what it's all about. He finds out that Harry has developed a substitute for alcoholic drinks, and that Harry's substitute can have quite an effect on those who drink it. Written by Snow Leopard

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Not Rated
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Release Date:

29 June 1919 (USA)  »

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(2004 National Film Preservation Foundation print)

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

One of the films in the 3-disk boxed DVD set called "More Treasures from American Film Archives (2004)", compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 5 American film archives. This film is preserved by the George Eastman House, has a running time of 6 minutes and added music by Mark Harvey and the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra. See more »

Connections

Spoofs The Birth of a Nation (1915) See more »

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User Reviews

Offbeat Animated Feature With Some Historical Interest
28 March 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This offbeat animated feature is at times amusing in itself, and it also has some definite historical interest. Directed by a young Gregory La Cava, it features the contemporary comic strip characters Judge Rummy and Silk Hat Harry in a satirical story about Prohibition, which was just about to go into effect when the film was released.

The story features the reactions of the Judge, his wife, Harry, and others to the new ban on alcohol. It has a few good gags, and the animation is solid for its time. The story is uncomplicated, but it moves quickly and it has a couple of amusing moments.

What is most interesting about this film is its perspectives on the new law and on the society of its day. This particular feature was filmed before anyone knew just how Prohibition would turn out, and so it has a viewpoint unaffected by subsequent developments. Most of its implied commentary (on the law and on various types of persons) should probably not be taken too seriously, since the main thrust seems simply to be a demonstration of the general social anxiety produced by such a wide-ranging change.


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