Thursday, October 14, 2010
Title: The Little Lion Hunter
Studio: Warner Bros.
Credits: none listed on print (but Chuck Jones)
Series: Merrie Melodies (Blue Ribbon Reissue)
Running time (of viewed version): 7:17
Synopsis: Inki hunts anything he can, including a mynah bird, fails, hides from lion, bird captures lion.
Comments: Opens on a dead eyed tropical bird. Kinda like Lost. Jokes in small movements like the giraffe's vibrating head and the mynah bird's hop walk. Lots of shading on Inki and the skunk (and the bird); picked up the habit from Old Glory I suppose. Really long eyelashes on Inki. The types of gags, the timing of them, the music behind them, strike me as later than '39. I'm not sure how to take the minah bird kicking Inki at the end; he lacks motivation, in spite of the fact that Inki had been hunting him. A completely voiceless cartoon (unless you count a "shhhh" sound). Not one of the censored 11, but a cartoon rare to US television for awhile as cartoon caricatures of blacks (Inki lives in a jungle and hunts old world tropical game; he is almost certainly not African American) are anathema to television if they were animated before the '70s. There's some very lush animation in this. This could be an unseen episode of Simba's time away from the pride (in his "I wanna look like Uncle Scar" phase). Hakuna matata!
These model sheets come from an interesting essay on the Disneyfication of WB cartoons, due to Charlie Thorson's influence. He worked on Little Hiawatha at Disney two years earlier; Walt Kelly claimed LH was essentially a Thorson cartoon. (Also informs me the music is Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave). It's an interesting essay, worth your time. Although as there were worlds of unique dogmen before Hobo Gadget Band at Schlesinger, I'm not sure I trust all its theories (tho Thorson was at Schlesinger's in '38, so maybe it's not off base).