Desire for greater power drives Yertle the Turtle, “king of the pond,” to elevate himself on a tower made of his turtle subjects. Based on the Dr. Seuss story. [Dir: Ray Messecar/ Narrator: John Lithgow/ 8 min/ Power corrupts]
Long before Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, wrote childrens’ stories, he was a political cartoonist. His early cartoons mocking fascism helped launch his career. Yertle the Turtle, with its “power corrupts” theme is said to have been inspired by Hitler, and the character was originally drawn with a Hitler-style mustache. Although the animation in this telling is just adequate, it’s true to the original story and John Lithgow narrates with style.
Additionally, there have been two musical renditions of the story. This one with singer-songwriter Andrae Crouch…
…and this one, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
More Films with This Theme
Links about Yertle the Turtle
Book: Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
Huffington Post: Yertle The Turtle Banned For Being ‘Too Political’
CTV News: Yertle the Turtle ban lifted in British Columbia classrooms
CNN: Serious Seuss: Children’s author as political cartoonist
The Atlantic: When Dr. Seuss Took On Adolf Hitler
PBS: The Political Dr. Seuss
Wikipedia: Political Messages of Dr. Seuss