January 26, 2012

Logistics on the big screen

Ocean shipping and a forklift are key plot elements in a couple of entertaining films.

By DC Velocity Staff

Sometimes, references to transportation and warehousing pop up in the most unexpected places. Recently, we stumbled across two "screen gems" in which logistics played a notable role.

"The Shocking Miss Pilgrim" is a nearly forgotten 1947 musical starring Betty Grable as Cynthia Pilgrim, a typing school graduate who lands a job in Boston with the Pritchard Shipping Co. in 1874. The company only hires men, but Miss Pilgrim, a budding suffragist, not only manages to hang onto her job but also convinces the co-owner, John Pritchard, and his socialite mother that women are as capable and efficient as men. Miss Pilgrim marries young Pritchard and settles in permanently at the shipping firm. (The steamship industry in Boston remained unreceptive to women for another century. It was not until the late 1970s that ship agencies there allowed women, including this writer, to board ships on company business.)

"A Matter of Loaf and Death" is a charming "Claymation" short featuring Wallace, a clueless British inventor, and his silent but expressive dog, Gromit. In the film, Wallace and Gromit operate the "Top Bun" bakery. Twelve bakers in the city have met untimely ends, and when naïve Wallace falls in love with pushy Piella Bakewell, Gromit suspects that his master is in line to be the next victim. All's well that ends well, though—thanks to a forklift-driving poodle! You can see a pic of Wallace, Gromit, and the gas-powered truck here. There's also a downloadable computer wallpaper image of Gromit driving the forklift.

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