157. The Goldbrick – Frank Tashlin

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SUMMARY: Private Snafu tries to get away with “goldbricking” while his comrades do the work, egged on by Goldie the Goldbrick Fairy.

WHY IT’S HERE: Frank Tashlin’s ‘The Goldbrick’ is a great Private Snafu cartoon designed to discourage “goldbricking” (slacking off) in soldiers. One of a handful of shorts in which Snafu actually dies at the end, ‘The Goldbrick’ has at its core an infectiously lazy song which is so laid-back that it’s virtually a poem but is impossible to get out of your head afterwards. Convinced by Goldie the Goldbrick fairy that he should fake an illness to get out of duty, Snafu slowly begins to learn all the tricks of goldbricking until he is singing along with the film’s theme tune. These scenes are cleverly set-up with a couple of nice laughs but ‘The Goldbrick’ really makes its mark with the grim turn it takes at the end. The final scenes are genuinely troubling (and not just for the racist caricature) and the message is delivered forcefully without having to make any sacrifices in terms of entertainment. There are many Private Snafu shorts which more than justify the redistribution of the series and ‘The Goldbrick’ is amongst the very best.

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