Animals in the Service of Man (film #140 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

It's hard not to be charmed by this 40s film about animals and all they contribute to human society. Made by the American Humane Association and enthusiastically narrated by Lowell Thomas, it also provides a brief history of the humane movement in the U.S. and talks about some of the uses animals are put to in wartime. Another historically interesting aspect is that it was made during a time when horses had not yet disappeared completely from city streets, and we see scenes of horses drinking from public horse troughs provided by Humane Societies, and animal control officers inspecting the teeth of horses pulling delivery wagons. The animals themselves are charming, of course, as are the scenes of lost pets being reunited with their owners. Admirably, the filmmakers let these scenes speak for themselves without milking them for sympathy. A fun and historically interesting film.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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