Friday, February 27, 2015

Short Film: Help! My Snowman Is Burning Down (USA, 1964)

Here's quaint piece of Surrealism from the 1960s that once walked away with award nominations, including for an Oscar.  (Contrary to what is said all over the web, it did not win: it lost to Larry Sturhahn's Casals Conducts: 1964.) 
"An absurdist farce, with music by Gerry Mulligan and Bob Brookmeyer"; and, as the final credits of the short say, "The accident [...] was written produced and directed by CarsonDavidson." Davidson, as far as we can tell, though a productive filmmaker, only ever made one feature film: the unknown The Wrong Damn Film (1975),* starring Barry Bostwick.
In Help! My Snowman Is Burning Down, the gent in the hat is played by Bob Larkin, also found in bit parts from films ranging from Putney Swope (uncredited, 1969 / bouncing boobs & song) to Friday the 13th Part XI: Jason Lives (1986 / trailer I / trailer II). The exotic dancer is played by Dian Robertson, about who we know nothing. Do you? Please let us know.
Over at Oddball Films, they explain the short as follows: " Help! My Snowman Is Burning Down stands out as wholly unique in the annals of Academy history, for no nominated film can stake a claim to being as truly experimental and immersively engaging as Carson Davidson’s surreal masterpiece, melding Magritte with Duchamp, but maintaining its own perverse American sense of humor." More cute than substantial, less meaningful than entertaining, Help! My Snowman Is Burning Down is a fun blast from the past that, at about 9 minutes in length, doesn't overstay its welcome.

*According to TV Guide: "This sophomoric satire on politics came out in the wake of Watergate. Badly bungled from beginning to end, the film received only a few showings before mercifully disappearing without a trace."

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