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Film / A Chairy Tale

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A Chairy Tale is a 1957 short film co-directed by Norman McLaren and Claude Jutra, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

A man (Jutra) reading a book tries to sit down on a chair. However, the chair does not want to be sat upon, zipping away every time the man tries to place his butt on its seat. The man goes through an increasingly frantic struggle to force the chair to stay still and let him sit upon it, to no avail. Finally, the man gives up—only for the chair to give him a surprise.

Claude Jutra eventually went on to direct Mon Oncle Antoine, a landmark of Canadian film history. Maclaren went on to a long career in Canadian animation. None other than Ravi Shankar provided the musical score for this film.

Compare Neighbours, another McLaren film with a similar style.



  • Animate Inanimate Object: It soon becomes clear that the chair is sentient, and does not wish to be sat upon.
  • Happy Ending: Ends with the chyron "And they sat happily ever after."
  • Medium Blending: Norman Mclaren became famous as an animator who mixed live action with animation, and he does here, with a live-action shoot mixed with Stop Motion Animation as the chair moves around.
  • Minimalist Cast: There's Claude Jutra, and there's the chair.
  • Now, Let Me Carry You: Finally the man figures out what to do. He squats down in a chair pose and lets the chair sit on him. After that the chair is only too happy to let the man sit on it.
  • Playing Hard to Get: After the man finally gives up and sits on the floor to read his book, the chair comes back to the man and actually starts nudging him to get his attention.
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  • Pun-Based Title: A "Chairy" Tale, get it?
  • Silence Is Golden: Not one word of dialogue in the short.
  • Stop Motion: Mclaren's pioneering "pixilation" effect in which he uses stop motion on live actors.