Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 5/14/99
Uncensored Private Snafu
1990 (1999) - Bosko Video
review by Bill Hunt,
editor of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C-/C+/F
Specs and Features
130 mins, NR, B&W, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, Snapper
case packaging, film-themed menu screens, scene access (31
chapters), languages: English (DD 1.0 mono), subtitles: none
Students of history
will know what the acronym SNAFU means - Situation Normal All Fu**ed
Up! And such was often the case with good old Private Snafu - you
can always count on Snafu to mess things up, but good.
The Snafu character was created by legendary film director Frank
Capra, to serve as a way of educating the troops during World War
II. Under the supervision of Capra, Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Suess)
and others, a whole series of animated shorts were commissioned
between 1943 and 1946, using the Snafu character, from Warner
Brothers and other Hollywood studio animation departments. Some of
the greatest animation talent of the day was involved in these
shorts, including the legendary Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Frank
Tashlin. When completed, the cartoons were added to newsreel films,
and were shown to Allied soldiers overseas.
The whole idea of the shorts, was to inform war-weary troops of
things they needed to know in a light-hearted way, such as the need
to keep secrets, the importance of maintaining your equipment, and
what people were up to back on the homefront. Given the humor of the
shorts, and the misadventures Snafu got into, the character quickly
became a favorite of Allied soldiers. Nearly 30 of the shorts were
created, and all of them are presented together on this DVD.
The video quality on this disc leaves something to be desired.
Considering that you're looking at 50-year-old newsreel shorts, it's
pretty good, but the presentation leaves something to be desired.
The videotape source used to master this DVD appears to have "tearing"
and video head tracking problems. You'll occasionally notice this
creeping into the visible picture area on the top and bottom of the
frame. To deal with this problem, an electronic gray box has been
laid over the video, hiding the problem, but reducing the size of
the visible picture to an area smaller than your TV screen size.
Also, the content is owned by Bosko Video, who licensed it to Image
for DVD, and apparently Bosko is the kind of company that spends all
day worrying about video piracy. In every single short, they briefly
flash their annoying Bosko Video logo in the corner. I really hate
this practice - REALLY hate this practice. Still, these drawbacks
aside, once you get into the program, the disc is entirely
watchable. And the audio, which is in the original mono, is clean
The Complete Uncensored Private Snafu
isn't for everyone. At the time these shorts were created, they were
definitely pushing the line in terms of what was appropriate for
film. Shown ONLY to soldiers, they feature the occasional "hell"
or "damn", and even have brief bits of nudity (tame by
current standards of course). And keep in mind that this was wartime
- there are portrayals of Japanese, German and Italian characters,
that are definitely offensive by today's standards. But if you're a
student of World War II history, wartime cinema, or classic
animation, this disc will likely become an indispensable addition to
your collection. Just one word of advice... beware the Technical
Fairy, 1st Class!