Director: Hugh Harman
Release Date: October 17, 1931
The cartoon opens spectacularly with several war scenes, including an enemy soldier firing his automatic gun at the audience. The cartoon is completely plotless, and Bosko actually only does three things:
- trying to cook a meal and kissing the picture of his sweetheart, before both are bombed (echoing the Oswald cartoon ‘Great Guns‘ from 1927 on which Hugh Harman had worked as an animator);
- helping an officer to get rid of his flees;
- saving a hippo, who has swallowed a bomb, by zipping its body open.
The cartoon is remarkably violent, and there’s a lot of killing going on. For example, we watch literally a dog being shot to pieces. Because all the animals involved still have mechanical bodies (a legacy of Harman and Ising’s work on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit), pain is never suggested, and the violence remains cartoony. For example, the dog, after being shot, just walks away much shorter, while a bird with a hole in his body only collapses because he’s supposed to, not because he’s in pain.
Nevertheless, there’s little to enjoy in Bosko’s World War I cartoon, and even when fought out by practically invulnerable animals, it remains a disturbing event.
Watch ‘Bosko the Doughboy’ yourself and tell me what you think:
‘Bosko the Doughboy’ is available on the DVD ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Six’