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Jun 30, 2021

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This tropical Mormon short film is beloved by an entire generation of Mormons who grew up watching it on VHS. (Anecdotally, almost all of our personal friends who grew up in the church knew and loved this film as kids.) Released on a VHS tape put out by the Mormon church called "The Worth of Souls", JOHNNY LINGO takes this self-worth theme literally. Its main action details a supposed ancient bargaining tradition on the Polynesian islands where a suitor makes an offer to buy his beloved from her father, using cows as currency. Thus, the women on the island begin to judge their self-worth on the number of cows traded for them. Are you a four cow wife? A five cow wife? It's time for well-liked seafaring trader Johnny Lingo to find a wife of his own, and for some reason he has his sights set on the homely Mahana, who the villagers agree could be worth no more than one cow in a bargain. But when Johnny offers Mahana's father an outlandish price of eight cows, Mahana's self esteem soars and she goes through a remarkable transformation. Everyone present learns a touching, yet extremely bleak and businesslike lesson about the "worth of souls."

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