Special Delivery

Special Delivery is an animated movie created by Eunice Macaulay; English animator and producer, and John Weldon, Canadian actor, composer, animator and movie director. In 1979, the film won the Oscar for best animated short.[1] Special Delivery has been considered the funniest short of its time[2]. I think it is a high quality movie but to simply say it’s ‘’funny’’ is insufficient. Adultery, crime, money concerns, justice, egocentrism are subjects treated in this 7 minute movie. I think it’s more a comment on humanity’s weakness and fearfulness. The funny part of the movie, in my mind, is that as the movies continues more and more bad situations, failures, mistakes and poor judgements keep arising.  As a viewer, I could not believe the accumulation of mistakes Ralph and his wife managed to make in just seven minutes.

Another quality of the movie is the simplicity of the drawing, allowing the spectator focus on the plot and not on the décor. Notwithstanding the simplicity of the animation the body’s movements are well studied and represented. Emotions are easily recognizable in the animated figures: The position of the body is often characteristic of the feeling it portrays.

The movie also comments on the justice system and the health system. Both the police and the doctor make mistakes. It makes some social observations as well: such as when the police wonder how a postal worker could own such a big house?  As well, the “fear” that many characters have of the power of the postal workers union.

In conclusion, this is a movie well put together in only 7 minutes.  It makes some big general observations, and the narrator’s steady and unwavering tone – with all of the craziness going on – almost makes the plot and the interactions seem normal or matter-of-fact.

[1] Wise, Wyndham, Eunice Makaulay, February 28, 2012, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/eunice-macaulay/ (accessed October 1, 2014).

[2]Wise, Wyndham, Eunice Makaulay, February 28, 2012, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/eunice-macaulay/ (accessed October 1, 2014).


4 thoughts on “Special Delivery

  1. I question if there is a parallel between “Special Delivery” being ranked one of the funniest short films of its time and its raw illustration of “humanity’s weakness and fearfulness”, as you would say. Perhaps, it is popular because of its humorous and unusual visual depictions of real life since the moving image today has become more conscious on how the viewer should react and think.


  2. Very funny indeed! The humor lies in how we relate to it. I took it as comment on how we as a society value individualism.and the structures we set up to protect our individual rights. Every man was pretty much for himself. In the end Ralph didn’t seem to mind that his wife was gone.


  3. This is just such an ironic film! I am definitely biased towards it though, because I love a good short animation. “Special Delivery” encompasses true humor (with Ralph’s wife telling him to clear off the steps- leading to the death of a postman), but it even though it is a little bit crude i loved it. I especially love the simplistic animation of this, being that it is kind of a crude story line, it makes it a little less intense and definitely more funny.
    I’m really glad that you posted this! It inspired one of my own posts actually


  4. To add on to your point about the justice system and health system, there is also a large barrier set up between lower and high class, depending on someone’s job situation. When the police found the man sneaking into his own house, the police did not believe it was his house because he was in the mailman’s uniform. They stated that there was no way a mailman could afford such a luxurious house. The amount of jumping to conclusions without conducting further research is lacking in this short film. I believe that this makes it a little humourous for the viewer.



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