You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘1948’ tag.

Director: Dick Lundy
Release Date: August 27, 1948
Stars: Woody Woodpecker, Buzz Buzzard
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Wet Blanket Policy © Walter LantzWet Blanket Policy’ uses exactly the same idea as Dick Lundy’s last Donald Duck short, ‘Flying Jalopy‘ (1943).

The cartoon even uses the same adversary in Buzz Buzzard, a swindler who makes Woody sign an insurance contract that will give Buzz a $10,000 when Woody dies (in the original Donald Duck cartoon the character was called Ben Buzzard).This leads to a fast and very murderous chase sequence full of nonsense.

Penned by Warner Bros. alumnus Ben Hardaway and Heck Allen, who had collaborated with Tex Avery at MGM, ‘Wet Blanket Policy’ is one of Woody’s wildest cartoons. Unfortunately, it’s also the first in which Woody’s proportions start to waver. At one point he’s particularly tiny. This unsteady sizing of Woody would become a particular problem of the cartoons of the 1950s. Buzz Buzzard, however, proved to be a strong adversary for Woody, and became Woody’s antagonist in many of the following Woody Woodpecker cartoons.

Watch ‘Wet Blanket Policy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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Director: Jack Hannah
Release Date: May 21, 1948
Stars: Donald Duck, Daisy Duck
Rating: ★★
Review:

Donald's Dream Voice © Walt DisneyDonald is a travelling salesman trying to sell brushes, but nobody understands him.

He then discovers Ajax voice pills, which give him a smooth voice. Soon he sells all his brushes, and he dreams of asking Daisy to marry him, but the pills only work for a short while and soon only one is left…

Like ‘Donald’s Dilemma‘ from 1947, ‘Donald’s Dream Voice’ is built on a strong idea around Donald’s voice. Unfortunately, in both cartoons the idea is funnier than the execution. In ‘Donald’s Dream Voice’ much time is wasted on Donald trying to retrieve his last pill.

Watch ‘Donald’s Dream Voice’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 69
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Daddy Duck
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: The Trial of Donald Duck

Director: Dick Lundy
Release Date: May 1, 1948
Stars: Woody Woodpecker (cameo)
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Pixie Picnic © Walter Lantz‘Pixie Picnic’ was the last of only three Musical Miniatures, cartoons based on classical music. 

In this cartoon we watch an orchestra of pixies playing the overture to ‘La gazza ladra’ by Gioachino Rossini.

The pixies are extraordinarily dwarf-like, and resemble the seven dwarfs from Disney’s ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (1937) a lot. This is no wonder, as one of those dwarfs’ key-animators and designers, Fred Moore, is also one of the animators of ‘Pixie Picnic’. Thanks to Moore the animation of this cartoon is very Disney-like and belongs to the best ever produced by the Lantz studio.

Unfortunately for Lantz, this was the last of only a handful cartoons Moore animated for his studio (others are ‘The Mad Hatter’ and ‘Banquet Busters’ from earlier that year). After that Moore returned to Disney, where he stayed until his premature death in 1952.

‘Pixie Picnic’ is beautifully animated, but it’s rather disappointing otherwise: the story makes no sense, and the gags come along almost randomly. Moreover, the cartoon suffers from a sloppy timing. The result is a well-animated, yet only moderately funny cartoon.

Watch ‘Pixie Picnic’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date: May 8, 1948
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Buccaneer Bunny © Warner BrothersAlready in his third cartoon Yosemite Sam is used outside his original Western setting, and changed into a timeless adversary of Bugs Bunny.

In ‘Buccaneer Bunny’ he’s a 18th century pirate called Seagoin’ Sam. This idea of Sam as a timeless foe was a masterstroke, and in the following years, Sam would be Bugs Bunny’s nemesis in a wide variety of settings, like the American war of independence, the Sahara desert, ancient Rome and the middle ages.

‘Buccaneer Bunny’ is a wonderful start of this series, consisting of wonderful gags, including a beautifully timed multiple door gag. Bugs Bunny also does a great Charles Laughton parody, disguising as captain Bligh, as portrayed by Laughton in ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ (1935).

Watch ‘Buccaneer Bunny’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 49
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Rabbit Punch
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Bugs Bunny Rides Again

Directors: John Halas & Joy Batchelor
Release Date: 1948
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Magic Canvas © Halas & Batchelor‘Magic Canvas’ is rather pretentiously introduced as “something different (….), new and exciting”.

Luckily, the film is rather original and exciting: using a rather abstract score by Hungarian composer Mátyás Seiber, it consists of associative images with a strong sense of surrealism. It loosely tells the story of man struggling to be free. Even though it has to pay its debts to Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ (1940), ‘The Magic Canvas’ surely is one of the most avant-gardistic films of its time, and a testimony of Halas & Batchelor’s animation ambitions.

Watch ‘Magic Canvas’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Magic Canvas’ is available on the DVD inside the book ‘Halas & Batchelor Cartoons’

Director: Robert McKimson
Release Date:
 October 9, 1948
Stars:
 Foghorn Leghorn, Henery Hawk
Rating:
 ★★★★
Review:

The Foghorn Leghorn © Warner BrothersHenery Hawk’s cowardly dad forbids his little son to chase chickens, but Henery does it anyway.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t know what a chicken looks like, and he repeatedly ends up catching the barnyard dog, while the Foghorn Leghorn makes feeble attempts in convincing the little chicken hawk, that he‘s a chicken.

This premise is a great twist on the stories of the first two Henery Hawk/Foghorn Leghorn cartoons (‘Walky Talky Hawky‘ from 1946 and ‘Crowing Pains‘ from 1947). It’s clear from the title that by now Foghorn Leghorn had become the real star of the Henery Hawk cartoons, and deservedly so, because in his third appearance, this broad gesturing and talkative rooster is stealing the show.

At the same time, this is a transitional cartoon, in which the original looniness of McKimson’s first cartoons gradually makes way for a more dialogue-driven approach, as is perfectly illustrated by Foghorn Leghorn’s endless jabbering.

Watch ‘The Foghorn Leghorn’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date:
 December 18, 1948
Stars:
 Porky Pig, Sylvester
Rating:
 ★★★
Review:

Scaredy Cat © Warner BrothersChuck Jones was the only director to pair Porky Pig with Sylvester.

His Sylvester is very different from the one in Freleng’s Tweety cartoons. In Jones’s shorts he’s a cowardly cat that cannot speak. In all Porky-Sylvester cartoons Porky tries to stay asleep unaware of the real dangers around him. Sylvester, on the other hand, sees them all, but fails completely in convincing his master of the dangers.

The aptly titled ‘Sacredy Cat’ was the first of a series of three. In this cartoon Porky and his cat Sylvester enter their new mansion, which has genuine horror allure, scaring Sylvester to death. And for a good reason, because this mansion is inhabited by homocidal Hubie and Bertie-like mice who make several attempts to murder Sylvester and Porky.

Only when Porky discovers the mice, too, who lead him to a certain death, Sylvester rediscovers his courage and chases all the mice out of the house, except for the headsman mouse, who knocks the cat down, and reveals to be a caricature of comedian Lew Lehr (1895-1950), exclaiming a twist on the comedian’s catchphrase: “pussycats is the craziest people!”. An odd ending to a sometimes rather unsettling cartoon.

Porky and Sylvester would reunite six years later in an all too similar cartoon called ‘Claws for Alarm’ (1954), and again in ‘Jumpin’ Jupiter‘ (1955).

Watch ‘Scaredy Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Scaredy Cat’ is available on the DVD set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 1’

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 120
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Riff Raffy Daffy
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: Awful Orphan

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date:
 July 24, 1948
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny, Marvin the Martian
Rating:
 ★★★★★
Review:

Haredevil Hare © Warner BrothersIn ‘Haredevil Hare’ Bugs is chosen to be the first rabbit on the moon.

He’s only volunteering when he notices the supply of carrots in the rocket. The rocket scene is reminiscent of Bob Clampett’s ‘Falling Hare’ (1943). On the moon Bugs encounters Marvin the Martian (in his first screen appearance) and his green, talking Martian dog, who resembles Willoughby a little but who speaks with the dumb voice of Junior Bear, provided by voice actor Stan Freberg.

The two Martians are on the first Mars-Moon expedition and want to blow up the Earth. But it’s Bugs who blows up the two and accidentally half the moon, too. In the end we see the three hanging on the left piece of the moon with bugs screaming to the control room: “Get me outa here!”.

‘Haredevil Hare’ is one of the first science fiction-themed films that flooded the post-war era. It even predates the first post-war live action features set in outer space, ‘Rocketship X-M’ and ‘Destination Moon’ by two years. In the 1950s outer space would become a popular film setting. Indeed, Chuck Jones himself would revisit outer space several times in his cartoons, most notably in ‘Jumpin’ Jupiter‘ (1955), ‘Rocket Squad’ (1956), and the greatest of all science fiction cartoons, ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century‘ (1953).

The latter cartoon also features Marvin the Martian, who would reappear in three more Bugs Bunny cartoons: ‘The Hasty Hare’ (1951), ‘Hare-Way to the Stars’ (1958) and ‘Mad as a Mars Hare’ (1963). Of all cartoon villains, Marvin the Martian is the most extraordinary. He’s as gentle, polite and mild-mannered as he is destructive. Although he would never become a major star, he’s still popular today.

Apart from introducing Marvin, ‘Haredevil Hare’ is a notable cartoon because of some nice and weird animation by Ben Washam of Bugs being a nervous wreck after his voyage to the moon: we watch him changing from one bizarre pose into the other, almost without any animation in between.

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

http://www.supercartoons.net/cartoon/661/haredevil-hare.html

‘Haredevil Hare’ is available on the DVD set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 1’

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 51
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Bugs Bunny Rides Again
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hot Cross Bunny

Director: Robert McKimson
Release Date: March 6, 1948
Stars: Daffy Duck, Porky Pig
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Daffy Duck Slept Here © Warner BrothersPorky Pig tries to find a room in a town in which all hotels are full due to a convention.

When he finally finds one, he has to share it with a room mate, which turns out to be Daffy at his looniest. Daffy certainly is your worst nightmare of a room mate: he arrives singing loudly, talks to an invisible kangaroo, awakes Porky just out of curiosity, hiccups, steals blankets, puts his cold feet against Porky’s back and spills his glass of water over him. Porky, naturally, throws the looney duck out, but Daffy returns and makes Porky believe it’s morning already, and that he has to catch a train, which Porky eventually does, defying all logic.

This zany Warren Foster-penned story undoubtedly is one of Robert McKimson’s finest cartoons. The gags come fast and plenty, and are as insane as they are familiar. ‘Daffy Duck Slept Here’ is one of the last Warner Brothers cartoons to feature the looney Daffy. The result is a cartoon to laugh your head off.

On a side note: The elevator gag in this cartoon was reused in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?‘ (1988) starring Droopy as the lift boy.

Watch ‘Daffy Duck Slept Here’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.220.ro/desene-animate/09-Daffy-Duck-Slept-Here/kAtvb6cOw3/

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 116
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Little Orphan Airedale
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: Nothing But the Tooth

Director: Art Davis
Release Date: August 14, 1948
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Dough Ray Me-ow © Warner BrothersArt Davis is one of the unsung heroes of Warner Brothers animation. His unit existed for only three years, but in this short time period he released many fine cartoons, with a distinct and recognizable style.

‘Dough Ray Me-Ow’ is one of his best cartoons, and a rather macabre one, too. This short features a cat, called Heathcliff, who is even too dumb to breathe. Heathcliff, without knowing it, inherits an enormous sum of money. When his ‘pal’ Louie, a cynical parrot, discovers that if Heathcliff dies, this fortune will come to him, he tries to kill Louie in great, funny gags. Surprisingly, in the end he even succeeds, but when he tells the dying Heathcliff his secret, the cat’s nine lives simply refuse to go to heaven!

Apart from the main story, the cartoon contains a small running gag in which we see Heatcliff cracking nuts in ridiculously elaborate ways, always involving his own head.

‘Dough Ray Me-Ow’ features watercolor backgrounds, very unusual for Warner Brothers at the time.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Dough Ray Me-ow’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: December 11, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Mouse Cleaning © MGMBy chasing Jerry into the house, Tom dirts the kitchen floor, which just has been painstakingly cleaned by Mammy.

She leaves shortly after, but not before warning him that if she’ll see one speck of dirt when she returns, she will throw him out. Jerry of course uses this threat to his advantage.

The plot of ‘Mouse Cleaning’ is very similar to that of ‘Puss Gets the Boot’ (1940), Tom and Jerry’s very first cartoon, but the execution is much faster and funnier. Tom & Jerry had come a long way since, as is shown by a particularly Tex Averyan doubletake, in which Tom produces multiple eyes and a drops his jaw unto the floor in surprise.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 38
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Professor Tom
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Polka Dot Puss

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: October 30, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Professor Tom © MGMIn ‘Professor Tom’ Tom is teaching a small kitten to chase mice.

Unfortunately for Tom, the unwilling kitten rather wants to befriend Jerry, and they both team up against the disappointed teacher. The result is a fast and funny cartoon with wonderful character animation and great silent acting.

Watch ‘Professor Tom’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 37
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Old Rockin’ Chair Tom
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Mouse Cleaning

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: September 18, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Old Rockin' Chair Tom © MGMWhen Tom fails to catch Jerry, Mammy calls for ‘Lightning’, a red and literally lightning-fast cat, who disposes of Jerry in no time.

This wonder-cat, however, doublecrosses Mammy by plundering the icebox and blaming it on Tom. So Tom is kicked out, too. But he and Jerry team up against the intruder in an equally unlikely as hilarious plot, which involves an iron and a magnet. A classic.

Watch ‘Old Rockin’ Chair Tom’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 36
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Truce Hurts
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Professor Tom

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 17, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

The Truce Hurts © MGM‘The Truce Hurts’ starts with a chase involving Jerry, Tom and Spike (called Butch in this cartoon).

The chase ends in a triple fight, until Spike interrupts and they all sign a peace treaty. The treaty works until the three discover a giant steak dropped from a van. When they have to share it, their greediness and egotism win, and they start to fight again at the same spot and with the same tools as where they’d left them before.

‘The Truce Hurts’ is one of the most marvelous Tom and Jerry cartoons. Not only is the idea original, it has a perfect story that is wonderfully executed with great character animation of the three foes behaving like pals.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Truce Hurts’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 35
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Kitty Foiled
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Old Rockin’ Chair Tom

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: June 1, 1948
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Kitty Foiled © MGMJerry teams with a canary to withstand Tom’s attempts to eat them both. Unfortunately, this first of several Jerry-and-a-bird-cartoons adds nothing to the elementary chase formula.

Jerry would team several birds after this one, the most famous being Little Quacker, a talkative little duck. These teamings would lead to very cute cartoons, but these are not Tom & Jerry’s funniest. At least ‘Kitty Foiled’ isn’t, despite a frantic pace (the first quiet scene only enters after 2:30!). It even would be one of the more forgettable Tom & Jerry cartoons, were it not for a marvellous scene in which Tom thinks he’s been shot.

Watch ‘Kitty Foiled’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 34
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Invisible Mouse
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Truce Hurts

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: December 14, 1948
Stars: Bugs Bunny
Rating: ★★½
Review:

My Bunny Lies over the Sea © Warner BrothersBugs misses a turn at Albuquerque and ends up in Scotland.

When he mistakes a Scotchman’s bagpipes for a monster attacking an old lady, he ends up playing golf against the angered Scotchman. Of course, Bugs wins the game, which consists of several blackout gags, and he even manages to defeat the kilted guy at playing the pipes.

The Scotchman looks like a cross between Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam, but who hasn’t got anything near the personality of either of the two. Therefore the interplay between our hero and the villain never really come to live, despite some nice facial expressions on Bugs’ adversary.

Peter Alvarado’s backgrounds do not help: they are too vivid to ignore, but have none of the beauty of either Jones early 1940s cartoons or his cartoons from the 1950s. Instead they express a strange mix of realistic and more stylized patterns. The result is a rather mediocre entry in the Bugs Bunny catalog.

Watch ‘My Bunny Lies over the Sea’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘My Bunny Lies over the Sea’ is available on the DVD set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 1’

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 55
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: A Lad in his Lamp
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare Do

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: December 12, 1948
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pluto, the little seal
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Mickey and the Seal © Walt DisneyAfter visiting the seals at the zoo, Mickey accidentally brings a little seal home in his basket.

‘Mickey and the seal’ is the third cartoon to feature the little seal (the other two are ‘Pluto’s Playmate’ from 1941 and ‘Rescue Dog‘ from 1947). And like the earlier entries featuring this cute animal, ‘Mickey and the Seal’ is charming, but not very funny.

Nevertheless, it contains a lovely scene of Mickey and the seal in bath, which is a prime example of great silent comedy. Its finale, too, arguably is the funniest of all postwar Mickey Mouse cartoons. The bath scene renders a shot of Mickey completely naked (except for his gloves).

Watch ‘Mickey and the Seal’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 121
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey Down Under
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: R’coon Dawg

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: March 19, 1948
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pluto
Rating: ★
Review:

Mickey Down Under © Walt Disney‘Mickey Down Under’ features Mickey and Pluto in some Australian banana plantation.

Pluto has troubles with a boomerang, while Mickey encounters an ostrich. Even though the animation of Pluto is inspired, ‘Mickey Down Under’ is a boring cartoon, and one of the weakest entries in the Mickey Mouse series. Apart from the boomerang, the setting can hardly be called Australian. On the contrary, the cartoon depicts some flora and fauna not indigenous to Australia: toucans, bananas and ostriches. The title music is that of a Pluto cartoon.

Watch ‘Mickey Down Under’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 120
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Delayed Date
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey and the Seal

Director: ?
Release Date: May 27, 1948
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Pecos Bill © Walt DisneyThe last sequence of ‘Melody Time‘ is framed by the sentimental ballad ‘Blue Shadows’, sung by country & western singer Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers.

After a while, we see them sitting in a cartoon-style prairie, accompanied by two children. The boy asks Rogers why the coyotes howl at the moon, which prompts him into telling the tall tale of Pecos Bill, his horse Widowmaker and his love interest Slue Foot Sue.

Although it only becomes funny after several minutes, the story itself is quite good, the highlight being the part where the cowboys sing of the mighty deeds of Pecos Bill, who singlehanded creates the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande, the gold in the hills and the painted desert.

Unfortunately the cartoon is rather slow-paced and accompanied by mostly dull country & western music, preventing it of becoming a real classic. Disney would tell other tall tales from American folklore, in ‘Paul Bunyan‘ (1958) and ‘The Saga of Windwagon Smith‘ (1961).

Watch ‘Pecos Bill’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: ?
Release Date: May 27, 1948
Stars: Donald Duck, Joe Carioca, The Aracuan Bird
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Blame it on the Samba © Walt DisneySung by Ethel Smith and the Dinning Sisters, ‘Blame it on the Samba’ looks like a lost sequence from ‘The Three Caballeros‘ (1944)

The short, the sixth segment from ‘Melody Time‘, reunites Donald Duck, Joe Carioca and the Aracuan bird. The latter serves as the cartoon’s surreal character, who can cross the three dimensions, not unlike the Do-Do in ‘Porky in Wacky Land’ (1938). It’s this feature that makes ‘Blame It On The Samba’ so enjoyable.

Again, the Mary Blair-inspired backgrounds are highly stylized, even almost abstract, and extremely colorful. It also features some live action footage of Ethel Smith dancing and playing the organ and a pair of conga’s. Unfortunately, the music seems to be more about samba than being it, and it never becomes really hot.

Nevertheless, ‘Blame It On The Samba’ is a welcome diversion after Melody Time’s three tiresome episodes ‘The Legend of Johnny Appleseed‘,  ‘Little Toot‘ and ‘Trees‘.

Watch ‘Blame it on the Samba’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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