The year is 1953 and a rural high school — maybe one that’s a lot like yours — is in chaos!
That’s the idea behind Responsibility, a short film that was apparently designed to make students think about the importance of …. well, responsibility. Narrated by a rather judgmental principal, Responsibility tells the story of two teenagers. Lloyd is responsible and mature and boring and probably is destined for a middle management job at the local feed store. Hank is a new student with a chip on his shoulder and a haircut that screams “trouble.” Hank is irresponsible but charismatic and, in the real world, there’s absolutely no question who would be the more popular of the two.
However, this is a short film from the 50s so we’re thrown into this weird fantasy world where students actually give serious thought to their options before voting in student elections. It’s a world where everyone might like Hank better but they just can’t forgive him for blowing off class and losing the big debate tournament. It’s world where boring old Lloyd could possibly be a more appealing choice than a rebel in a leather jacket.
Lloyd and Hank are friends but that doesn’t stop them from both running for president of the student body. The initial vote is tied but there is one absentee ballot. That ballot will determine who will become the new president — unless, of course, the absentee student has a sense of humor and wrote in their own name, like I always used to do.
“Who would you vote for?” the principal asks.
Me? Why, Gary Johnson, of course!
This is yet another educational short film from Herk Harvey. Harvey made a career out of doing films like this but, today, he’s best remembered for directing the classic horror film, Carnival of Souls. We’ll be watching Carnival of Souls later this month. For now, enjoy Responsibility and ask yourself …. “Who would you vote for?”