August 12, 2013

The Hangman

Over the weekend I was looking up pastor Martin Niemöller's poem ("First they came for the communists...."), which I had push-pinned to the wall of my teenage bedroom. Along the way I found this, which I'd never seen before: a 1964 short video adaptation of Maurice Ogden's poem, "The Hangman." The production team is Paul Julian, who did the animation, and director Les Goldman. The narrator is character actor Herschel Bernardi, who was the singing voice of Zero Mostel in the Broadway launch of Fiddler on the Roof (he also voiced the Jolly Green Giant, and Charley the Starkist Tuna, though that seems almost unfair to mention). The music is composed by Serge Hovey, who was also part of the effort to record the complete songs of Robert Burns. 

This is really quite beautiful--and chilling. Now that I've seen it, I can't get it out of my head. Thanks to the Academic Film Archive of North America for archiving it online. 


DJ Vorreyer said...

Been using this stunning film for years with our middle school students. I didn't know it was available online - my videotape is about worn out, so thanks for that!

Annette Gendler said...

Odd coincidence to find your post because I just saw Niemoeller's piece again this past week when I was in Boston at the Holocaust Memorial.