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Western Animation / The House That Jack Built (1967)

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The House That Jack Built is a 1967 animated short film (eight minutes) directed by Ron Tunis, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

Unsurprisingly, it's inspired by the English nursery rhyme "The House That Jack Built". In this version Jack is a suburban husband and white-collar worker who is frustrated with his humdrum existence and wishes to be "unique". The nursery rhyme is mashed up with "Jack and the Beanstalk" when, after Jack wrecks his car, a mysterious stranger offers to trade him three magic beans for the car.


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  • Bait-and-Switch: Jack is having dinner in the castle in the clouds when he hears booming footsteps and "FEE FI FO FUM". We think it's the giant, but it's soon revealed to be "Mr. Giant", a balding businessman shorter than Jack.
  • Cut-and-Paste Suburb: Jack lives in the standard cut-and-paste suburb with identical houses and people using identical lawnmowers to cut their identical lawns. The closing gag reveals that after he became filthy rich, he lives in another cut-and-paste suburb, just with bigger and fancier identical houses.
  • Floating Continent: Jack finds a castle in the sky at the top of the beanstalk.
  • Jackass Genie: Jack eventually finds himself just as dissastified in his life of wealth and comfort as he was in his previous middle-class life. He says to the magic mirror, "I'm tired of being unique, I want to be different!" The mirror gives him a second head.
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  • Limited Animation: Drawn very crudely, with simple lines on plain backgrounds, in typical cheap 1960s style.
  • Magic Mirror: Jack steals Mr. Giant's "motivational mirror". The mirror was showing Mr. Giant pictures of himself being tall and muscular and surrounded by hot women. When Jack steals it, it gives him the confidence to steal his boss's job and climb the ladder to success. The end also shows that it has Jackass Genie powers.
  • Mysterious Benefactor: The mysterious man who approaches Jack after the car wreck and gives him three magic beans.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Jack goes to work after getting back from the clouds. His boss starts bawling him out for not showing up. Jack looks at the mirror and gets such a surge of confidence that he leaps up onto the desk, pronounces himself "unique", then points at his boss and says "You're fired!" And it works, as the boss gives Jack his own job.
  • Smoky Gentlemen's Club: A much richer Jack is briefly shown in one of these, looking bored.
  • Space Elevator: The magic beanstalk that Jack climbs to the clouds.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Thick lines and a crude style throughout.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: One brief scene shows Jack in a strip club, with a line of topless dancers onstage.
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