User Reviews (6)

Add a Review

  • llltdesq14 December 2001
    This short, nominated for an Academy Award, is a very early short narrated by Pete Smith. It is fairly representative of the style of short he would become noted for: broadly comic narration, good camera work and effects for a short subject and covering a somewhat offbeat topic in a comical, somewhat jocular manner. Turner Classic Movies runs this as filler between features occasionally and virtually every March for the 31 Days of Oscar. Not his best but well worth catching. Recommended.
  • Swing High (1932)

    *** (out of 4)

    Oscar nominated short with Pete Smith narrating this look at The Flying Codonas, a fourth generation family of trapeze artists. The high wire acts are pretty exciting and the film moves along very well. According to the intro, this film originally won the Oscar by three votes but back then that would mean a tie. Another film's producer, Mack Sennett, demanded a recount and on that vote his film won.

    The history of this film is very interesting to say the least.

    If you're interested in seeing this then Turner Classic Movies shows it quite often.
  • A Smith called Pete narrates (a trifle stiffly) this short subject about the Flying Codonas, a fourth-generation trapeze act. It's shot interestingly, with the camera sometimes placed over the the act, and slow-motion views of men and girl in tights, showing off the difficult evolutions, including the almost impossible triple somersault. As Pete says, a nice way to earn a living; almost as good, I imagine, as making snarky comments on the act.

    This movie holds a place in the history books for having lost the Oscar for Best Novelty Short. Originally, it was declared the winner, but when Mack Sennett learned his short about fishing for marlin had lost by less than three votes, he protested this was against Academy rules. Another vote was taken, and Sennett was declared the winner. Smith would not win the award until his color short, PENNY WISDOM.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . in which French Queen Marie "Let them eat cake" Antoinette were shown demonstrating the proper way to clean fish. Perhaps she might echo the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND by circling her kitchen table screaming to her assistants, "Off with their heads, off with their heads!!" Such behavior on Marie's part would put one in mind of the "poetic justice" reserved for History's biggest miscreants, as the loathsome French spendthrift and her entire extended family were shorn of their noggins during A TALE OF TWO CITIES. Marie's sanguine demise is not the only example of History having the proverbial "last laugh." After Final Solution Architect Adolph Eichmann's sensational kidnapping and show trial, his hung carcass was incinerated in a Dutch Oven built exclusively for him! SWING HIGH viewers will feel a similar sense of foreboding listening to "Pete Smith" narrate this brief documentary. Performing Hollywood's most infamous swan dive, Pete himself leaped--without a net!--from the roof of his retirement home Jan. 12, 1979. Do you suppose he was attempting a patented CODONA-style triple somersault during this Death Plunge?
  • SnoopyStyle21 September 2019
    It's an MGM short of The Flying Codonas, a trapeze family act. They're in their practice tent going through some of their moves. The cinematography is mostly stationary. There is slow motion with various angles from the ground to top down. Some of it isn't quite as sharp especially the slow motion. It was nominated for an Oscar. The narration has a bit of broad sarcastic humor. This is like an industrial short for the circus.
  • "Swing High" is an early film about trapeze artists. It consists of lots of high-quality footage (often from imaginative angles) and is about everything you'd ever want to see and learn about this.

    "Swing High" was nominated for the Best Short Subject Oscar, though today it's hard to imagine this. It isn't because of the cinematography or subject of the film--it's the god-awful narration. While the Pete Smith shorts were made for a very long time by MGM, they don't play all that well today because Pete Smith is just annoying. Often, he tries (in vain) to be funny and his routine really detracted from the films. Because of this, I'll only give this one a 4.