Peace on Earth (film)

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Peace on Earth
PeaceOnEarthFilm.jpg
Directed by Hugh Harman
Produced by Hugh Harman
Fred Quimby (uncredited)
Voices by Mel Blanc (uncredited)
Studio Harman-Ising Productions
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Distributed by Loew's Inc.
Running time 9 min.

Peace on Earth is a one-reel 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon short directed by Hugh Harman, about a post-apocalyptic world populated only by animals.

Plot[edit]

Two young squirrels ask their grandfather (voiced by Mel Blanc) on Christmas Eve who the "men" are in the lyric "Peace on Earth, good will to men." The grandfather squirrel then tells them a history of the human race, focusing on the never-ending wars men waged. Ultimately the wars do end, with the deaths of the last men on Earth, two soldiers shooting each other, one shoots the other soldier and the injured soldier kills the last, but slowly dies as he sinks into a watery foxhole while his hand grasps into the water. Afterwards, the surviving animals discover a copy of an implied Bible in the ruins of a church. Inspired by the book's teachings, they decide to rebuild a society dedicated to peace and non-violence (using the helmets of the soldiers to construct houses). The cartoon features an original song written to the tune of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Accolades[edit]

According to Hugh Harman's obituary in the New York Times[1] and Ben Mankiewicz, host of Cartoon Alley, the cartoon was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.[2] However, it is not listed in the official Nobel Prize nomination database.[3] Mankiewicz also claimed that the cartoon was the first about a serious subject by a major studio. In 1994, it was voted #40 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. It was also nominated for the 1939 Academy Award for Short Subjects (Cartoons). It did not claim that honor (which instead went to Walt Disney's Silly Symphony The Ugly Duckling).

Remake[edit]

Good Will to Men
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Produced by Fred Quimby
William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices by Daws Butler (uncredited)
Music by Scott Bradley
Animation by Lewis Marshall
Kenneth Muse
Ed Barge
Irvin Spence
Reuben Timmino
Layouts by Dick Bickenbach
Backgrounds by Robert Gentle
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Color process Technicolor
Cinemascope

Fred Quimby, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera remade the cartoon in CinemaScope in 1955.[2] This post-World War II version of the film, entitled Good Will to Men, featured updated and even more destructive forms of warfare technology such as flamethrowers, bazookas, missiles and nuclear weapons. This version used a choir of mice as the main characters including a deacon mouse who tells the story to his charges (voiced by Daws Butler), and also had more direct religious references (though the Bible is simply referred to as "the book of humans' rules" in both, Good Will to Men includes a reference to the New Testament, while Peace on Earth only includes verses from the Old Testament). This new version was also nominated for the Best Animated Short Subject Oscar. This film would be the last animated production for producer Fred Quimby; he went into retirement in 1956 (and died in 1965).[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hugh Harman, 79, Creator Of 'Looney Tunes' Cartoons". New York Times. November 30, 1982. 
  2. ^ a b Barbera, Joseph (1994). My Life in "Toons": From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta, GA: Turner Publishing. pp. 72–73. ISBN 1-57036-042-1. 
  3. ^ "The Nomination Database for the Nobel Peace Prize, 1901-1955". nobelprize.org. 

External links[edit]