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August 27

August 27, 1943 – The Wartime Short Film Reason and Emotion is Released to Theaters


“Each one of us is equipped with the ability to think, known as Reason, and the ability to feel, known as Emotion. Within the mind of each of us, these two wage a ceaseless battle for mastery.”

On August 27, 1943, the wartime short film Reason and Emotion was released to theaters. It was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to The Yankee Doodle Mouse from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The short was directed by Bill Roberts.

The short begins with an explanation of how each person has two abilities: Reason and Emotion. From birth, Emotion is the more powerful of the two, as Reason isn’t born yet. A baby is seen acting on pure Emotion, until Reason arrives to stop Emotion. The baby grows up, and Reason is in the driver’s seat of the man’s mind. When the man passes by and attractive woman, Emotion knocks out Reason and acts crudely toward the woman, earning a slap in the face. The attention then turns to the woman who, when Emotion takes over her mind, decides to eat as much as she can at the nearby café, with her figure ballooning quickly.

The narrator explains that, during this time of war, it is easy to let Emotion take control over Reason, thanks to headlines like this

The narrator explains that, during this time of war, it is easy to let Emotion take control over Reason, thanks to headlines like this

The attention then turns to the War, and how easily people can let their emotions get the best of them in such a stressful time. In the case of Mr. John Doakes, although he tries to keep himself informed of the current events, he is easily ruled by Emotion with all the rumors running around. The narrator then points out to Emotion that this is exactly what Hitler plays upon, using tactics of fear, sympathy, pride, and hate. The audience is then taken inside the mind of a Nazi, with Emotion completely manipulated by Hitler’s speeches. Although Reason knows better, Emotion enslaves Reason and leaves nothing but ruin in his wake. The narrator tells Reason and Emotion that they must work together to fight against all odds to defeat Hitler.

2 responses »

  1. A very weird short: first it seems to just be an interesting educational tale about reason and emotion, then all of a sudden it becomes an Anti-Hitler cartoon, just out of the blue, in my opinion, lol!

    I feel that Pixar’s “Inside Out” has some basis in this short.

    • I agree, it was a little strange. However, it was a rather creative way to get the message across to viewers that they needn’t get carried away with rumors and news about the war.
      I hadn’t thought about Pixar’s “Inside Out.” Perhaps they were inspired by it slightly – and I can’t wait to see it!


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