Outpost (1944 film)

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Outpost is an animated short film, directed by Chuck Jones and first released in August, 1944. It is part of the Private Snafu series. As in all the Snafu films, the voice of Private Snafu is performed by Mel Blanc.[1]

Plot[edit]

'Outpost' used humor to instruct service personnel.

A narrator informs viewers that the United States maintain far-flung military outposts, manned by diligent sentinels. The film then introduces an outpost on a tiny desert island, where under its single palm tree lies the local sentinel, Private Snafu. His only companion is a local bird. Snafu loudly complains about his 249 days on the island and a message coming over the radio informs him that his 249th request for a transfer has been denied.[1]

Snafu and this bird go to sleep and dream about their own ideal girl. Their girls switch which dream their in and irate Snafu wakes up, threatening to break the bird for insubordination and tells him to scram. The dejected bird locates a floating can of food, marked Pickled Fish with Rice". On the bottom is written "Hon. K Ration Imperial Japanese Navy." Snafu is not interested in the can, orders the bird to bury it, and goes back to sleep.

U.S. naval authorities have lost track of a Japanese task force and order their observation posts to report to give full reports and "omit nothing." Private Snafu does so by reciting his day's observations from his log book; When his superiors hear of the tin-can, they order Snafu to provide a "detailed description." Snafu has the bird dig it up and reports its Japanese markings.[1]

The report of Snafu concerning the can leads to American bombers annihilating the Japanese fleet. The day ends with Snafu and his bird sitting their tiny beach; with Snafu's unawareness of his own role in the Japanese fleet affiliation, he laments to his bird companion about his lack of involvement in the war. "Pickled fish eyes with rice; I don't get it. Wouldn't you think they could find something important for me to do in this here army?" as he throws the can into the ocean as the day ends. [1]

Analysis[edit]

This is considered a transitional film in the series, with Snafu successfully able to complete a mission despite his discomfort and being unaware of the importance of the task. [2]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Shull, Wilt (2004), p. 196-197
  2. ^ Shull, Wilt (2004), p. 88