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I just saw this film at the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Film Festival and I found it to be an interesting testament to '50s society and women's social status in that period. The interviews are great (some hilarious) and the stock footage is fascinating enough to make the humble subject of the history of Tupperware an enjoyable watch. The director answered questions after the screening and she is definitely a documentary master.
When I first heard of this film , I thought to myself "a film about
Tupperware? That's odd.....no way can this be entertaining!" But I
went and saw it at my schools film festival anyway! One of the
reasons was because Robin, one of the co-producers, was here
promoting the film and always ready to field any questions we
posed to her.
Now, after having seen it, I have to say: GO SEE TUPPERWARE! Although the song will get stuck in your head for at least a couple of days, it is an immensely enjoyable film, comprised almost completely of home movie footage from the 50's, which is what gives it such a warm and personal feel. I learned things about Tupperware I didn't know I wanted to learn, and was very entertained in the process.
If this Film comes to a festival near you, go see it, if you can't make it, then tune in to PBS on February 9th 2004 and enjoy! If you ever read this, keep up the good work Robin!
I had assumed that this film was a documentary about the Tupperware
company and its history. Well, that's not exactly what it's about--but
it's about a portion of the history of the company. It's all about the
early years of Tupperware--a company started by a man named Tupper.
Soon after creating these really innovative kitchen productions, sales
were only okay and SHOULD have been better. When a lady named Brownie
Wise found the products, she loved them and thought they were not being
marketed correctly. So, she contacted Tupper and suggested they be sold
at parties--Tupperware parties. Not surprisingly, Tupper hired her and
soon sales went through the roof and the company grew and prospered.
And, a strange new culture was created--an almost cult-like devotion to
the company and a new way for women to find meaningful work. But,
despite being a great success story, in the end, it all became screwed
up--and it's really up to you to see this film and find out why.
I liked this film because it is a great illustration of the idea that history does NOT need to be about wars and dead white guys. It can be fun and cultural--and topics as mundane as Tupperware are fair game. Interesting, but I do wish that history post-1957 had been covered as well. Worth seeing...
Despite the interesting twist concerning that poor woman Brownie they
propped up and then dumped, this was the one & only episode I have ever
seen of this beloved series that I was not in love with.
Maybe it was more aimed toward women, or toward history buffs more interested in recent business accomplishments than I am - as opposed to earlier historic business accomplishments (railroads, whaling, hard labor stuff).
American Experience has always impressed me in its ability to dive deep down enough to make you feel smart, insofar as it goes deeper than an equivalent documentary on, say, The History Channel. Thus you'll know more about a subject in an hour of American Experience than a Discovery Channel show on the same topic. Same concept applies, but in this instance, as a guy, I felt like... "I don't think I care about this" Sorry. This was how I felt.
This series is utterly phenomenal. It can create interest in a subject for you from absolutely nowhere. I experienced this after seeing The Donner Party, and Into the Deep: America, Whaling and the World - now I can't get enough about survival at sea, westward expansion stories, and even anthropology. But Tupperware? Yeah I just don't care. I don't care about the business part either. I feel bad for Brownie, but I don't think they needed an entire hour to teach me about a business empire that was created around plastic tubs for my sandwich. Perhaps the point was too nuanced. It's not the first time I was frustrated in American Experience's reluctance to put too fine a point on something. In terms of empowering women, they did a much better job with Amelia Earhart's episode, though they could have done better with the theories surrounding her disappearance. Unbeknownst to most people, the "crash & sink theory" has never been that popular with people that knew about the post-crash radio transmissions that went on for days after she disappeared.
If Tupperware parties and the whole business in general was built on Brownie's shoulders, then she should have flipped out every time something was going wrong and insist that they pay her more, rather than compensate her less and then dump her. Maybe I am being reductive. Either way I had trouble relating to each and every part of it.
I have said several times on here and elsewhere that it is the best documentary series of all time. I chalk my disinterest in the Tupperware episode to the fact that I didn't find Brownie's story that compelling, and my sex plays a role in this too. But I watched the whole hour. If it were any other show, and the show was going to be called "Tupperware!", there is no way in hell I would have watched. I did watch.
This one though...
Not one for my collection.
Sorry American Experience, this brings your score from a 100% A+ scores to a 99.999999%, which, when I apply my scale, still leaves you with a 100% perfect track record and an A+ from me :)
I found this while browsing PBS' offerings form Netflix. It sounded so
crazy had to view it.
Oh boy, is it interesting! Not only from the business angle, but from the social as well. The snapshots and videos of the earliest Tupperware parties show the ladies are dressed *beautifully*, a far cry from the grudging obligation such events are today. Also Brownie Wise's clothing was always so much better than any so-called career dressing seen in department stores today.
Sorry to digress on the fashion angle. It's a fascinating study of both business and culture in the 1950s and 1960s.
(I just wish I could have seen it in Savannah as did the earlier poster -- beautiful city!)
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