Saturday, May 26, 2018

Toccata for Toy Trains (1957)

Most people are known for being one thing.  Some people are known for being an athlete or a musician.  Sometimes, people will make a transition.  I’ve noticed that a lot of entertainers become politicians.  (Both careers would seem to have a similar skill set.)  I first became aware of Charles and Ray Eames due to their short film, Powers of Ten.  As an adult, I looked it up and found out that they were also known for furniture and architecture.  While I have met other people that know about Powers of Ten, I wasn‘t really aware of how many short films they‘ve made over the years.

One of those films was Toccata for Toy Trains.  It opens with a narration stating that the trains shown are toy trains, rather than model trains.  The primary difference is that these aren’t meant to be exact replicas.  They’re meant to be played with.  (Some of the trains and people seem somewhat exaggerated.)  The film seems to go around a single area, showing people going about their business.  Much of it is either on or from the perspective of a train.

Much of the film seems like regular camerawork, but there are a few segments that appear to be stop motion.  Everything is close up.  There are no wide shots of the entire thing.  You don’t get anything that establishes the full scale of the layout.

Most people probably would pass this one over if they came across it on YouTube.  It’s only 14 minutes, but I would imagine that adults would get bored with it early.  Unless you’re a train or toy enthusiast, you’re probably not going to get much out of it.  It’s the kind of thing that might be shown as an interstitial on a PBS station.  At the very least, it’s short.

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