VARIATIONS ON A CIRCLE (1942)
Article 5365 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by James Whitney
What it is: Abstract animation
Rectangles, triangles and circles appear, disappear and interact.
In the Walt Lee guide, the title is listed as simply VARIATIONS, but since IMDB lists only one John Whitney movie from the given year, I’m assuming it’s the same one. That being said, I have to admit that I never feel more useless than when I’m covering these abstract animated shorts (and from my experience in the last year, I’m guessing I’m going to be covering lots of these). The trouble is I feel there’s just not much I can say about them. Granted, some of them give me a little more than pure abstraction to play with; however, this isn’t one of them. IMDB says it runs nine minutes. The print I saw ran only five minutes, and that was more than enough for me, especially as it didn’t have accompanying music. There’s some fun in trying to pretend the images are Rorschach drawings and trying to figure what you see (I saw lots of sticks of gum with eyes appearing on them). But that, too, wears old fairly quickly. In short, this one is not one of my favorites of the form.