Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Snob (1958)

The Snob is a 13 min black and white  teen guidance film from 1958. The film was produced by McCraw Hill Prod and was shown in schools.
A group of teens are having their regular Friday night party at Ron's house. Next door, Sarah Inman is doing her algebra homework, and closes her window to muffle the music and party noises. Her mother comes in and wonders why she has to do homework now, with the weekend ahead of her, when she could be going to the party. Mom knows it's an open house party, so there aren't invitations. Sarah insists she doesn't want to go. There's no one there she wants to see.

As they clean up after the party, Ron's mom asks him if he and his friends could be more friendly to Sarah. Ron objects, as he regards Sarah as too "high hat" for the informal get-togethers he has with his friends. Inviting her would just give her another reason to think she's better than anyone else. Mom reminds him how, years ago, Sarah had been the one to come over and read to him when he was laid up with rheumatic fever. Ron replies that she's changed since then, but agrees to giver her a chance. Ron thinks that Sarah's problem started in junior high. Before then, she always got the top grades, but in a larger school with more sharp students, she isn't automatically so special. Now she's prone to cut people down, and Ron thinks she doesn't even care.

At school, two girls see Sarah in a new sweater. One says it shows good taste, but the other replies that Sarah thinks she's the only one around with any taste. The first girl compliments Sarah, who ignores them for a moment, then replies "Were you talking to me?" The second girl is convinced she's a snob. Sarah approaches a group of students examining the results of the election for student council. She asks one student (unnamed, but we can call him Bret after the actor who plays him) what's going on. He explains, and mentions that Bill Tyler is president. When Sarah is silent, he asks her if she thinks he wasn't the best choice, and deduces that she resents Bill because his design for the yearbook cover was chosen over hers.

Back at home, as Sarah and her father do the dishes, he mentions that he can tell that something is upsetting her, and offers a shoulder to cry on. After a little prodding, she tells her side of the sweater-compliment incident. She was so worried about an upcoming history test that she really didn't hear the compliment, but then the girls stared at her as if they hated her. On top of that, she flubbed the history test. She's angry, because she knows she's smarter and works harder than the ones who are getting A's. She admits that she does resent Bill Tyler over the yearbook cover, feeling he didn't put much work into his design. She's unhappy that Mom is pressuring her to go to Ron's next party, where she'll see Bill and the other "apple polishers." Dad says that Sarah should encourage others to make good, not dislike them for it. He support's Mom's insistence that Sarah attend the party. Finally, he asks her "All these people you don't like - aren't they happier than you?"

At the party, as the others dance and celebrate Bill's election, Sarah sits by herself, and we hear her thoughts. "Look at them playing up to him. Bill Tyler, big man! Everything he does is too, too clever. Makes me sick. I'm just as good as he is. No, I'm better! He'll get no playing up from me." A bit later, Bill asks Sarah if she'd like to dance or sit and talk, but she says "I'd rather not - not with you." Bill says he's sorry for anything he might have done to offend her, and goes. Sarah is on the verge of apologizing to him, but then Bret approaches and calls her on her rudeness to Biill. This makes her defensive, and she says it's her choice if she doesn't want to dance with someone. Bret replies that she did want to dance, but just couldn't pass up a chance to be a snob. Sarah is shocked and runs outside. Ron follows and asks her what's the matter. In tears, she tells him that the others are mean and hateful, and don't understand anyone who isn't one of their gang and doesn't do all the silly things they do.

The narrator says that Sarah is hurting herself, her parents, her friends, and other people. He asks the viewer: "What makes Sarah act the way she does. Is it a cover-up for some lack she feels in herself? Can a friend like Ron help her in any way? Is the group justified in judging everything Sarah does as snobbery? What do you think?" The traditional big question mark appears over the scene.


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