Doodle Film, letter

Doodle Film, Letter


In 1972 I was forwarded the copy of a handwritten letter from an elderly lady who had seen Doodle Film in New York City and had been so offended by it that she had felt compelled to put pen to paper. I can only assume that she was aghast – at least in part – at the sequence featuring the protagonist’s naively sex-obsessed doodles from his adolescent years. While I was sorry to have troubled the lady, I was in some unaccountable way charmed by the letter and its feistiness, and have treasured it ever since. Given that the reproduction is poor, I am here including a transcript. Note that she also expressed her disapproval of Ryan Larkin’s classic film, Walking. Many years later, in the age of Google, I was able to locate a brief obituary of the lady, who died at a great age in the early 1980s, and to bring up a picture of the elegant apartment building where she lived, on the Upper East Side. Below, the letter transcribed, followed by the original document.

July 22, 1972.
The National Canadian Board of Films – or National Board of Films of Canada
In the past my contacts with Canada, and Canadians, have always been pleasant. As a child, I visited the beauties of Banff (Alberta), Field, and Lake Louise. The Canadians I have known have seemed to be especially straight-forward, open, and honest, pleasant people, agreeable people.
Therefore it was a great disappointment to me that you, the official Film Board of Canada, should send us, the United States, the most unpleasant, most horrid film it has ever been my lot to see.
It is true that I am a spinster and I am elderly, I go to see films rather frequently, but I never go to see films that the reviews say are indecent.
You may say that the film of which I speak was “only” a brief film, a filler, placed with other films. All the more reason to object to it, because the movie patrons are given no opportunity to read a review, and to skip your indecent film.
The film I refer to it is the “Doodling of David Watt.” Never in all my life have I seen a nastier, or more horrid film. In the longs films which indulge in nastiness, they at least have the excuse that they are telling a story, they are making some point. Your film had no excuse for its existence, no point is being made. It might well be the work of a mentally retarded child, or a mentally disturbed adult. The film was accompanied by an unpleasant film called “Walking.” The most serious fault of that film was that it might result in permanent injury to the eyes of the viewers.
Please do not send us any more films of that variety.
Yours truly,

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