Silly Symphonies

film 31 of 61

The Grasshopper and the Ants

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

Just right. The bad guy is the good guy. He learns his lesson, and we do too, since as children or slightly lazy big people we identify with him. He’s not so bad. But he’s not in the right. Another good thing is that Colin Lowe, Jolifou Inn idea (see review, q.v.). Look how much fun the labourers have when the season is over! (As is so often the case with this series of films the various massed establishing shots, as it were, are wonderfully designed, the more because of all of the charming little bits of business that make up that whole.) The unforgiving original is softened by a bit of adaptive infidelity that is quite appropriate, especially in a children’s movie. Which kid hasn’t tried to skip out on work? After the real inconvenience, and an appropriate reproof, the penitent—and he is—is reconciled and welcome. Shades of Leo Lionni’s classic children’s book Frederick (1968)—there’s more than one way to make a living.

The Grasshopper and the Ants is also interesting as a Depression text. “The world owes me a living” doesn’t cut it, but the dole is not inherently evil, either. That is a collective providing lifegiving support, after all.