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Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date: April 21, 1945
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Hare Trigger © Warner Bros.‘Hare Trigger’ introduces that tiny yet explosive adversary to Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam.

His introduction music is Franz Schubert’s Erlkönig, and train robbery is his profession. However, on the train he encounters Bugs, who gives the short-tempered bandit a hard time.

The cartoon contains a shot of an über-cool Bugs rolling a cigarette, a gag repeated and improved on in ‘Bugs Bunny Rides Again‘ (1948). The short  also contains live action footage in the ‘club bar’ wagon.  The gun drawing scene is a highlight, as is Yosemite Sam’s death scene, which bugs invokes with ketchup. The cartoon ends brilliantly with a tongue-in-cheek cliffhanger.

According to Freleng he needed a stronger adversary to Bugs than Elmer Fudd ever was, and Yosemite Sam perfectly fitted the job. He was a delightful opponent to Bugs Bunny, and he became Friz Freleng’s favorite bad guy, lasting until 1964, and starring 31 cartoons in total, nearly all with Bugs Bunny. Perhaps Freleng was so fond of the character because he was partly based on Freleng himself.

In any case, he soon took Sam out of his Western origin, making him a.o. a pirate (‘Buccaneer Bunny‘, 1948), a foreign soldier (‘Bunker Hill Bunny‘, 1950) and a sheik (‘Sahara Hare’, 1955). Free from his Western origins Yosemite Sam could be Bugs Bunny in every country and every period of time, and in this respect he anticipates the Little Guy, the Pink Panther’s adversary, who also sprouted from Friz Freleng’s imagination.

Watch ‘Hare Trigger’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 32
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Unruly Hare
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare Conditioned

 

Director: Bob Clampett
Release Date: June 9, 1945
Stars: Tweety
Rating:  ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

A Gruesome Twosome © Warner BrothersTwo cats, a yellow dopey one and a red one who’s a caricature of Jimmy Durante, fight over a little white kitten.

She tells them that she’ll go out with the first who brings her a little bird. Enter Tweety, who, despite his cute and helpless appearance, finishes with the two cats in no mild manner. On the contrary, ‘A Gruesome Twosome’ is probably the most violent of all classic cartoons. It’s also very beautifully animated, full of wild and zany action, and simply hilarious. The highlights are a dog, who “doesn’t actually belong in the picture” and a very silly pantomime horse costume.

With ‘A Gruesome Twosome’ director Bob Clampett made one of his most extreme cartoons. Its outrageousness splashes from the screen in every scene. Its theme of sex and violence is executed in a much wilder way than Tex Avery would do, let alone any other director of the era. The cartoon’s sheer energy still impresses today. In this way, ‘A Gruesome Twosome’ may be viewed as the ultimate Bob Clampett film.

‘A Gruesome Twosome’ was the last of the three Tweety cartoons Bob Clampett directed (the other two being ‘A Tale of Two Kitties’ from 1942 and ‘Birdy and the Beast’, 1944). The character would reappear in a redesigned, less grotesque and much cuter form in 1947 in ‘Tweety Pie’ to start a much better known career with Sylvester, as directed by Friz Freleng.

Watch ‘A Gruesome Twosome’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: January 5, 1945
Stars: Pepe le Pew
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Odor-able Kitty © Warner Brothers ‘Odor-able Kitty’, marks the debut of that French-speaking, amorous skunk Pepe le Pew.

In his book ‘Chuck Amuck’ Jones reveals that this character was based on story man Tedd Pierce. In any case, Pierce wrote the story, but how much of himself he had put self-knowingly into this smelly Don Juan remains a mystery.

Oddly enough, in his first cartoon Pepe turns out to be a fraud, being married and having two children. Even his voice changes in the end of the cartoon. But before this surprising finale he’s genuinely Pepe, complete with quasi-French accent, strange hop (including Stalling’s typical theme music), and a love for cats that look like skunks.

Only, in ‘Odor-able Kitty’ this is a male cat, who deliberately disguises himself as a skunk to get a happier life. He has one, until Pepe hops along. In the end, the cat washes himself and returns to his former life as victim of maltreatment, exclaiming “this is the life!”.

Pepe le Pew’s character didn’t really develop after this film, and all his films have more or less the same story as his debut film. Nevertheless Pepe would be one of the most successful of the characters conceived by Chuck Jones, second to the Road Runner and the Coyote, only. He lasted until 1962, starring fourteen more cartoons.

Watch ‘Odor-able Kitty’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.220.ro/desene-animate/12-Odor-Able-Kitty/GcMYA69rME/

Directors: Tex Avery
Release Date: November 3, 1945
Stars: Droopy, Red, The Wolf
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Wild and Woolfy © MGMAfter the successful ‘The Shooting of Dan McGoo‘ Droopy from earlier that year, Red and the Wolf join forces again in ‘Wild and Woolfy’, a hilarious spoof on the classic western.

The cartoon has the simple plot of Droopy following the wolf, who has kidnapped Red after her performance of a nice country & western yodeling song. But Tex Avery once again packs the film with gags, including a wonderful and now classic empty road gag.

Film composer Scott Bradley reuses his twelve tone row he had introduced in the Tom & Jerry cartoon ‘Puttin’ on the Dog’ (1944) to accompany Droopy riding his little blue horse, with equally funny results.

Watch ‘Wild and Woolfy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Directors: Tex Avery
Release Date: April 14, 1945
Stars: Droopy, Red, The Wolf
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

The Shooting of Dan McGoo © MGMIn his second film Droopy enters the wolf’s world of sex, joining forces with the ever sexy Red as his lover Lou, while the wolf’s the villain entering the Alaskan saloon and Droopy is ‘dangerous Dan McGoo’ himself.

The cartoon is a hilarious re-telling of the poem ‘The Shooting of Dan McGrew’ by Robert Service. It is simply packed with self-conscious gags and puns. Red is absolutely stunning, when she sings a great army song, displaying her popularity with the armed forces. Her performance remains a tour of the force of animation, courtesy of animator Preston Blair.

‘The Shooting of Dan McGoo’ was Tex Avery’s second take on Service’s poem, the first being the Warner Brothers cartoon ‘Dangerous Dan McFoo‘  from 1939, which phlegmatic dog star anticipates Droopy.

Watch ‘The Shooting of Dan McGoo’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/83894809/

Director: Bob Clampett
Release Date: June 28, 1945
Stars: Porky Pig
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Wagon Heels © Warner Brothers‘Wagon Heels’ is one of the least known of Bob Clampett’s masterpieces.

In this short Porky is as a scout of a ‘wagon train’ (a weird mix of a caravan and a train). He has to face ‘Injun Joe the Superchief’, an enormously powerful Indian. In this he’s helped by a very silly blue Hillbilly character called Sloppy Moe.

‘Wagon Heels’ is a remake of the already very funny ‘Injun Trouble’ (1938), but it’s weirder, zanier, wilder and much better timed than the original. ‘The film is extremely rich in nonsensical gags, the highlight being the demonstrations of Injun Joe’s indestructible power. The result is an utterly hilarious film, and an indisputed highlight in the Bob Clampett canon.

Watch ‘Wagon Heels’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 110
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Trap Happy Porky
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: Baby Bottleneck

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: December 7, 1945
Stars: Pluto, The Little Turtle
Rating: ★
Review:

Canine Patrol © Walt DisneyIn this cartoon Pluto is a guard dog at the beach, trying to prevent a little cute turtle from swimming. After the little turtle saves Pluto from quicksand, the two become friends.

‘Canine Patrol’ is a cute, but slow and boring cartoon. It introduces the little turtle, the most popular of all animals Pluto befriended in his solo career. The turtle indeed is cute, but it hardly extracts any comedy out of its interactions with Pluto. Nevertheless, it would reappear in two more Pluto cartoons: ‘Pluto’s Housewarming‘ (1947) and ‘Pluto’s Surprise Package’ (1949), which both have all too similar stories.

Watch ‘Canine Patrol yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 16
To the previous Pluto cartoon: The Legend of Coyote Rock
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Kid Brother

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 7, 1945
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Mouse in Manhattan © MGMTired of the country life, Jerry heads for Broadway, where he admires the big city.

Jerry’s luck is short-lived however, and after some bad experiences in the New York dumps (which involves hundreds of alley cats and scary subways), Jerry flees home, kissing a puzzled Tom in his joy.

‘Mouse in Manhattan’ is an outsider within the Tom & Jerry series, as it lacks the typical cat and mouse chase. Instead it focuses on Jerry’s journey, only. Nevertheless, it must be one of the most beautiful Tom and Jerry cartoons ever made. Jerry’s adventures in New York are accompanied by gorgeous and stunning backgrounds (most using a mouse perspective), and Scott Bradley’s particularly lush music. Bradley based his score on Louis Alter’s ‘Manhattan Serenade’ from 1928, which was also used in the MGM 1944 musical ‘Broadway Rhythm’, accompanying acrobatic stunts by the Ross Sisters. The music is so essential to the film, it almost seems the film was made for the score.

The cartoon is a sheer delight from the beginning to the end, but the highlight is Jerry’s dance with the female table figures on the roof of a very high hotel. This scene has the same class as its source of inspiration, the MGM musical.

Watch ‘Mouse in Manhattan’ yourself and tell me what you think:

https://vimeo.com/90733822

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No.19

To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Mouse Comes to Dinner
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tee for Two

Director: Jack Kinney
Release Date:
 September 21, 1945
Stars:
 Goofy
Rating:
 ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Hockey Homicide © Walt Disney‘Hockey Homicide’ is an account of a frantic ice hockey game between two teams, of which all players share names with Disney employees (while the referee is named after the cartoon’s director, Jack Kinney).

The cartoon is bursting with cartoon violence. For instance, there’s a hilarious running gag of two star players, Bertino and Ferguson, who, when they leave the penalty box, immediately start beating up each other, only to be send back into the penalty box again.

But the real treat of this fast and furious cartoon is its final sequence, when the crowd takes over and the cartoon runs totally haywire, even using non-related footage from ‘How to Play Football’ (1944), ‘How to Play Baseball‘ (1942), ‘Victory Through Air Power’ (1943) and Monstro the Whale from ‘Pinocchio‘ (1940), to add to the feeling of complete chaos.

‘Hockey Homicide’ must be the wildest, fastest and most violent cartoon Disney ever produced. Like earlier Goofy cartoons by Jack Kinney, it is clearly influenced by contemporary cartoons at Warner Bros. and MGM, and it has a genuine Tex Averyan spirit rarely seen at Dosmey outside the Goofy series.

With ‘Hockey Homicide’ the Goofy series reached its apex. More entertaining films were to follow, but none as wild and extreme as this one. After it Kinney was fully involved in feature films, only to return to the Goofy series again in 1949. By then the humor of Hollywood cartoons had toned down. In the meantime five Goofy cartoons were produced: four directed by Donald Duck-director Jack Hannah, and one by Clyde Geronimi.

Watch ‘Hockey Homicide’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Goofy cartoon No. 17
To the previous Goofy cartoon: Californy’er Bust
To the next Goofy cartoon: A Knight for a Day

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: 
August 11, 1945
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny
Rating:
 ★★★★
Review:

Hare Conditioned © Warner BrothersIn ‘Hare Conditioned’ Bugs Bunny is working in a display at a warehouse. But the manager has other plans with him and wants our hero stuffed.

‘Hare Conditioned’ is full of director Chuck Jones’ typical sophisticated humor and extreme posing. The cartoon really looks forward to his entries of the fifties. One of its best gags involves Bugs cross-dressing as a female customer and the manager courting him/her by tickling his/her feet. Unfortunately, the cartoon’s ending is bad.

Nevertheless, ‘Hare Conditioned’ is one of the great entries in the Bugs Bunny canon. It clearly establishes Jones’s concept of the rabbit, as he stated in his book ‘Chuck Amuck’:

“Golden Rule. Bugs must always be provoked. In every film, someone must have designs upon his person: gastronomic, as a trophy, as a good-luck piece (…..), as an unwilling participant in a scientific experiment (laboratory rabbit or outer-space creature). Without such threats Bugs is far too capable a rabbit to evoke the necessary sympathy”.

Jones kept to this rule in the rest of his cartoons, giving Bugs other large or powerful adversaries like a giant red monster in ‘Hair-Rasing Hare’ (1946) or a Martian, capable of blowing up the earth, in ‘Haredevil Hare‘ (1948).

Watch an excerpt of ‘Hare Conditioned’:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 33
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare Trigger
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare Tonic

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