Hell-Bent for Election (1944)

Article 5244 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-6-2016
Directed by Chuck Jones
Voice cast unknown
Country: USA
What it is: Animated propaganda

If railroad man Joe Worker wants his shipment of War Materials to be used, he will need to load them on FDR’s train, The Win-The-War Special. But there’s only one track forward, and the train, The Defeatist Limited, is doing everything in its power to reach it first. If Joe votes at the railway switch, he can make sure the cargo reaches the right train; however, he is assaulted by a politician intent on lulling him into a slumber so he won’t vote.

Chuck Jones took a break from his Warner Brothers and Private Snafu cartoons to make this pro-Roosevelt propaganda piece for the 1944 election. As a whole, the piece is an allegorical fantasy, but it’s primary fantastic content is the portrayal of an anthropomorphized train “The Defeatist Limited”, a black-smoke-belching old train that looks antiquated next to the sleek Diesel engine of the one representing FDR. The Chuck Jones style is most noticeable in the portrayal of the politician, who splits into two people at one point and even transforms into Hitler at another. Though some of the political details of the cartoon are a bit obscure anymore, much of it is still relevant, but like all propaganda, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt.


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