We here at Film Threat have carved out a few Thanksgiving morsels from the vaults that remind us all what this holiday is about…eating, fights, and more eating.
[ “How the Gobbler Missed the Axe” (1898) ] One of the sillier offerings of the nascent silent cinema finds two bosom-heavy maidens (the great-grandmothers of Russ Meyer’s leading ladies?) trying in vain to decapitate an elusive turkey and surrendering their pride and their axe to a brawny farmhand. No credits exist for this very early film and it is not believed that the turkey used a stunt-double.
[ “Jerky Turkey” (1945) ] Tex Avery rocked Plymouth with this madcap offering of a dimwit Pilgrim chasing a Jimmy Durante-lookalike turkey. The cartoon ends with one of the most gruesomely funny sight gags, finding the Pilgrim and turkey devoured whole and trapped inside a bear’s stomach.
[ “Holiday for Drumsticks” (1949) ] The one Thanksgiving film that shows the sins of gluttony! Down on an Ozark farm, Daffy Duck is jealous of the attention and the food which the farmer lavishes on a turkey. Daffy connives to have the turkey go on a crash diet and lose weight, and he supervises a Spartan physical fitness regimen for the turkey while devouring the Thanksgiving bird’s food. When the holiday comes, the turkey is scrawny and unappetizing, leading the farmer to aim at Daffy as the Thanksgiving dinner.
[ “Avalon” (1990) ] How do you destroy a family? Carve up the Thanksgiving turkey before everyone arrives for dinner. Barry Levinson’s heartbreaking drama pinpoints the start of a large family’s disruption and disintegration over a perceived slight by the premature knife-work on the bird and the lingering anger and bitterness in the years following this harmless incident.