Big Business

Film Review by Dean Duncan Sep 10, 2015

Very famous, and quite properly. An innocuous little mercantile exchange between Stan, Ollie, and Mr. Jimmy Finlayson escalates into an astounding, devastating analogy for total, annihilating war. We love Norman McLaren, and Norman McLaren’s Neighbors. But that film is so heartfelt and heartsick that it kind of does trip over itself. Here, the boys are simply selling Christmas trees. But look out!

Forget that poignant, ultimately ineffectual Christmas truce from 1914. Here’s war, here’s a death’s mask for you. These guys were almost certainly just practicing their craft, creating some product, and having some fun while they did so. But artist intention is only one of the ways to plumb the depths of the artist’s art. Comic annihilation, however impossible or oxymoronic that may sound.