Brotherhood of Man (1945)

Article 4770 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 2-28-2015
Directed by Robert Cannon
Voice cast unknown
Country: USA
What it is: Animation with a message

A man wakes up in the future to find his world has shrunk so much that he now lives right next to people from other cultures. The two sides of his personality then argue with each other whether to treat his new neighbors with friendliness or hostility.

In many ways, this is a rather striking short. It featured early animation by UPA and was financed by a union. It was quite prescient in recognizing that technological advances were making the world a smaller place and that we would increasingly find ourselves interacting on a regular basis with people from other cultures, and it was also ahead of its time in advocating racial tolerance and understanding. It does so by emphasizing the similarities between the various races instead of dwelling on the differences between them. The message was considered quite controversial, and several people connected with the film were investigated during the McCarthy era. Though in some ways the short is overly optimistic and rather simplistic, the message is still quite relevant, and anyone who keeps track of current events knows that the world still has a long way to go. This one is a piece of history.


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