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Film / Nature's Half Acre

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Nature's Half Acre is a 1951 short film (33 minutes) directed by James Algar.

It is an installment in Disney's True-Life Adventures series of nature documentaries. The concept of this particular short film involves the sort of smaller wildlife that one might see in any half-acre of ground. Much of the film focuses on insects: spiders, bees, dauber wasps, caterpillars and butterflies. The film also touches on birds that eat the insects (like a chickadee who won't eat it's mother's offering of food, and a cowbird that lays eggs in other nests) as well as insectivore reptiles such as frogs and chameleons.


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  • Based on a True Story: All the "True Life Adventures" shorts began with a disclaimer stating that they were "completely authentic, unstaged and unrehearsed." This was basically a Blatant Lie. In this film the shots of plants sprouting and growing were plainly filmed in a studio.
  • Blade-of-Grass Cut: Since this film is devoted to smaller fauna, namely insects and the small birds and reptiles that prey on them, and plants in bloom, most of the film is Blade Of Grass Cuts. A couple of the images that stand out are a butterfly pollinating a flower and a spider wrapping up a fly in its web.
  • Call-Back: The film follows the seasons from the beginning of spring, summer, fall, winter, and back to the beginning with the beginning of spring. As the film emphasizes the cycle recurring with a new spring, some of the shots from the opening sequence—a woodpecker drilling a tree, worms crawling on a twig—are shown again.
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  • Comically Cross-Eyed: The film notes how a chameleon's eyes are independent of each other. This naturally is accompanied with a close-up of a chameleon, eyes spinning around its head in all directions.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The bit about the praying mantis notes that the only predator threat to the praying mantis are...other praying mantises. It seems the mantis has "a special taste for his own kind."
  • Medium Blending: Formula for the True Life Adventures had them start out with a brief animated sequence before cutting to the same scene in live action, and that's how this film starts.
  • Narrative-Driven Nature Documentary: As with all the true life adventures, the narration is droll and humorous and the animals are anthropomorphized. The narrator calls the chameleon a "sniper".
  • Narrator: Winston Hibler provides narration as usual.
  • Nature Documentary: The small fauna of nature, namely, bugs and the small animals that prey on them.
  • Silence Is Golden: A long time-lapse sequence of plants sprouting and blooming is shown without any narration.
  • Time Lapse: Time lapse photography is used for a long, stunning sequence of plants growing from seed, sprouting, breaking the surface of the soil, then growing and blooming, throwing off flowers and pollen.
  • Title Drop: "Nature's half acre is a familiar place" which could be anywhere.
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