If the phrase “delightfully weird” could be summed up in a single 10-minute clip, the 1936 MGM musical short New Shoes would certainly be it.
Technically, the short follows a young man (Arthur Lake) and woman (Jean Chatburn) as they have a meet cute at a shoe shop, go on a date, fall in love and eventually marry. But the young man and woman are not really the stars of the show here; the stars are the shoes themselves, which sing and talk.
I was alerted to this short film’s existence by a fellow blogger(/one of my favorite blogs), Today I Watched a Movie, on twitter:
Singing shoes? Puns? I knew the film would be right up my alley when I read that tweet, and was soon after delighted to discover that I actually already own it, as a special feature on my Wife Versus Secretary DVD!
My expectations where high, and they were easily met by this little gem of weirdness. If you’re in need of an example of just how corny the puns of New Shoes can get, take a couple of the earliest that appear:
Male shoe: “Listen, baby, I’ve taken a shine to you.”
Female shoe: “Hold your tongue, you… you heel!”
So corny, but SO AMAZING. Puns are a love-’em-or-hate-’em form of humor. Obviously, with my love of all things cheesy, puns are endlessly amusing to me and those used in this film are no exception.
I was so amused, in fact, by the shoes that I didn’t care much about the human love story involved in the short. But the love stories of the humans and the shoes mirror each other. Yes, you read that correctly. The shoes aren’t just witty pun-masters — they have feelings, too! Each relationship begins with wit, sass and resistance from the female half of the couple before the pair (okay, I know I said I love puns, but that one was unintentional) slowly warms up to each other and finds romance.
I could find very little information on the production of this short, but I imagine that a few minds, possibly under the influence of alcohol or other substances, got together and cooked up the decision to take the foot motif as far as they could. However the decision was made, everyone involved certainly saw it through. The shoe theme doesn’t just end with a couple pieces of talking footwear. Foot baths, pedicures and even a song called “I Stumbled Over Love” prominently feature in the story.
New Shoes is incredibly silly and incredibly odd, but is also probably the most entertaining thing I’ve watched all month. I actually found myself wishing it was a few minutes longer, if for no other reason than to see how many more shoe puns the writers couple come up with. To take the “corn” theme of this series to the full extent as the makers of this short did with the shoe theme, New Shoes contains enough corn and cheese to make a nacho plate and a cheese enchilada plate out of itself. It’s a corn-fest of the most brilliant type.
Corny Cliff Scale Score: 5/5!