A Year in Shorts Day 49: "Holiday Land"
When it comes to holiday movies, Christmas definitely gets most of the attention. Halloween puts up an admirable fight for second, but the rest of the calendar gets pretty soundly ignored. Oh sure, there’s the occasional Thanksgiving or Valentine’s gem, but they’re few and far between. If only there were a movie that celebrates all holidays. Or at least, if only there were a movie that did that that was better than Holiday Land.
Released in 1939, Sid Marcus's Holiday Land tells the story of a young boy named Scrappy who complains about having to wake up to go to school (if only he knew), and wishes that every day could be a holiday. And while such wishes usually go unanswered, this is an animated short, where all your dreams can come true. Or, at the very least, can result in an extended dream sequence.
Holiday Land marks the second film produced by Charles Mintz that we've covered on this site, after The Little Match Girl. Nowadays, Charles Mintz is probably best known as being the guy who stole Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from Walt Disney (how strange to think there was a time when Disney DIDN'T own everything). Not a great way to be remembered, but I suppose it's better than being known as the guy who produced Holiday Land.
Simply put, this film is a chore to sit through. The premise might work for a four minute short, but eight is simply pushing it. The voice acting is aggravating, and there is very little to recommend it otherwise. The animation is acceptable, I suppose, but not stellar. And it's not very funny, although I suppose it doesn't try to be.
I don't know if this short has very many fans, but I can't imagine that it does. Some shorts we've covered here are bad for reasons of being offensive or aggressively annoying. Holiday Land is bad simply because there's nothing good about it. It lost the Oscar that year to Disney's The Tortoise and the Hare, and that sounds just about right.
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