#81) The Hole (1962)
OR “An Animated Discussion”
Directed by John Hubley
Written by John & Faith Hubley
Class of 2013
The Plot: An “observation” on the nuclear arms race while it was still happening; two construction workers (voices of Dizzy Gillespie and George Matthews) debate the plausibility and outcome of nuclear fallout.
Why It Matters: The NFR calls the film a “chilling…meditation”. An essay by New York Magazine editor Greg Cwik is a history and appreciation of John & Faith Hubley.
But Does It Really?: I give it a pass for the work of the Hubleys, and as a conversational approach to the prospect of nuclear annihilation without resorting to propaganda and fear-mongering.
Everybody Gets One: While not their only work on the list, this is the only representation of John & Faith Hubley’s animated collaborations. In their 22 years of marriage they made 30 animated projects, as well as four live-action children. Actor George Matthews appeared in every western ever, and Dizzy Gillespie was a jazz musician of some kind.
Wow, That’s Dated: Reading newspapers and the threat of nuclear war. Wait, maybe not that last one.
Seriously, Oscars?: “The Hole” won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1962. Among those the Hubleys beat out were animation legend Chuck Jones and John’s former boss, Walt Disney.
- John Hubley was an animator for Disney until their famous animator strike of 1941. He then worked for bizarro-Disney studio UPA until he was blacklisted. Storyboard Studios was a way for John to create his own work during the blacklist years. Among Faith Hubley’s odd jobs while animating was as script supervisor for the film “12 Angry Men”.
- Dizzy Gillespie’s real name is John. He earned his famous nickname in his early 20s due to his unpredictable behavior.
- Since when do average Joe construction workers admit to knowing regular ballroom dancing?
- George’s claim that they found Venus de Milo’s arms is a bit misleading. They did find broken arms nearby the discovery of the statue in 1820, but the arms in question could not conclusively be named hers. Of course, George could just be joking and this Google search was a complete waste of my time.
- Is Dizzy nude at the end of this?
Legacy/Further Viewing: John & Faith continued making great animation together until John’s death in 1977. Among those was another Oscar winner – “A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature”.
John & Faith’s daughter Emily is a successful animator in her own right, most notably as the producer and designer of the “Origins of Love” sequence from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.
Listen to This: Dizzy Gillespie’s big band sound and Latin jazz influence can be heard in all its splendor in the 1947 recording “Manteca”, added to the NRR in 2004.