Wednesday, June 30, 2010

088 Africa Squawks

Title: Africa Squawks
Studio: Terry
Date: 6/30/39
Credits: None listed on viewed print
Series: (Major Doolittle?)
Running time (of viewed version): 5:39

Synopsis: An English hunter (Major Doolittle) and his valet (Jarvis) hunt in Africa.

Comments: Again, feels like the beginning of this print is cut off (and it feels like it ends slightly abruptly as well). The lions seem... sketchy. There's not much to recommend this, but it is nevertheless far far better than Barnyard Brat was. The sign at the beginning references a service/drinking organization called the Lions Club, which often appears on the signs of towns. Aother woodpecker appearance, tho very unlike Woody. The rhino looks like they just slapped a bull horn or short elephant tusk on a hippo. There's an interesting streaking method to show speed; it's used instead of smearing. Basically an unopaqued cel with horizontal lines to define some three dimensionality, and outlines of much of the figure. I can't say it's especially effective, but I'm not confident enough in the skill of the team to say it might not possibly be effective if explored more thoroughly. The shot where the lion leaps to the camera ultimately goes entirely black in his throat before cutting to the next shot. The lion pride (is it a pride when it's a group of males?) inexplicably makes seal sounds along with roaring...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

087 The Barnyard Brat

Title: The Barnyard Brat
Studio: Fleischer
Date: 6/30/39
Dave Fleischer
Myron Waldman
Anthony Pabian
Series: Color Classic
Running time (of viewed version): 6:21

Synopsis: Spunky is an awful little ass, the other animals rebel, but Hunky protects him, then at long last punishes him for his bad behavior.

Comments: Crap. Another Hunky and Spunky cartoon. Everyone in the barnyard hates Spunky too. Everything has big shiny eyes. This is not a poorly made cartoon; it's just a terrible cartoon. There's a nice well shot. It seems like Hunky's training Spunky to always kick in the last cartoon has backfired; Spunky always kicks now. Beating children apparently fixes them. And if it doesn't, keep trying to beat them, even if they run from you. The Somewhere in Dreamland DVD still seems to have a matted title card. There's lots of smeary/heavily distorted inbetweens in this cartoon. Fleischer should not make pastoral cartoons.

Monday, June 28, 2010

086 Sea Scouts

Title: Sea Scouts
Studio: Disney
Date: 6/30/39
Credits: -
Series: Donald Duck
Running time (of viewed version): 8:00

Synopsis: Donald and the nephews engage in the naval arts, and meet some resistance from a big weirdly colored shark.

Comments: Seas Scouts is an actual thing, like the Boy Scouts. As I grew up two blocks from a body of water too big to see across, I don't know why I didn't know about it. Donald is an actual authority figure here, unlike in any of the previous Donald cartoons for the year. The sail snapping off makes it a bit like kiteboarding. The bit with the shark is not unlike a bit from Peter Pan would eventually be. The shark looks like a throwback for Disney design. I expected Don to pull out a can of spinach when he said "that's the last straw", but he didn't need it (tho he did get all Popeye about it). They do both wear sailor suits much of the time...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

085 Nell's Yells

Title: Nell's Yells
Studio: Columbia
Date: 6/30/39
Ub Iwerks
Eddie Kilfeather
Musical Direction
Joe De Nat
Released by
Columbia Pictures Corporation
Series: Color Rhapsody (Scrappy Presents A)
Running time (of viewed version): 6:58

Synopsis: Mustache man is out of cash, needs access to Nell's cash or ass. (Spoiler: choice two.)

Comments: Yet another "a guy with a mustache wants a girl named Nell or else for her to pay her mortgage, whilst her neutered boyfriend intervenes" short. I think Mel Blanc is most of the voices in this, like in Lantz's Mello-Dramas. This cartoon has a stripped down Wolverton-ian character design to its hero and villain (tho Nell looks like a low rent blonde Betty Boop). This has the sound (voice and music), writing/gags and pacing of a WB cartoon, but strangely of WB cartoons that would come later. If you'd never seen a WB cartoon made before the mid '40s and were asked if this was a WB cartoon or if Naught But Mice was, I think you'd guess this one. Nell is kinda Mae West-y. This is very enjoyable, in spite of the tepid visuals. It was hard to get up to regular screen cap numbers, but it doesn't make it less than a great cartoon (because cartoons don't need to be full of good screencaps to be good cartoons...).