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Directors: Frank Sherman & George Rufle
Release Date: July 10, 1933
Stars: Tom and Jerry
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Doughnuts © Van Beuren‘Doughnuts’ takes place at a bakers’ convention.

Tom and Jerry are doughnut bakers, competing with a.o. two stereotypical Jewish matzos bakers, and two stereotypical gays, baking ‘pansy cakes’. Unfortunately, the public isn’t interested in any of them, and head right to the beer stand (since the end of March 1933, it was allowed to sell low alcohol beer again, after thirteen years of prohibition). Only when a drunken sailor accidentally enriches Tom and Jerry’s dough with his liquor, the crowd storms their stand, and in the end we watch the duo marching with the first prize.

‘Doughnuts’ is an interesting cartoon as it comments on the repeal of the prohibition. The cartoon is only moderately funny, but it’s enjoyable for its cheerful mood, helped by Gene Rodemich’s wonderful and lively score.

Watch ‘Doughnuts’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Doughnuts’ is available on the DVD ‘The Complete Animated Adventures of Van Beuren Studio’s Tom and Jerry’

Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: November 4, 1932
Stars: Betty Boop
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Betty Boop for President © Max Fleischer‘Betty Boop for President’ is one of those rare pre-war cartoons using current events as its subject.

The short was released just four days before the 1932 elections. In it Betty Boop runs for president, imitating the then current president and candidate Herbert Hoover and his Democratic challenger Al Smith. Unfortunately for the Fleischers, it was not Al Smith, but Franklin D. Roosevelt who was chosen as the candidate for the Democrats during the Democrat National Convention (June 27-July 2). Apparently, this scene already had been completed before this convention.

Betty’s opponent is one ‘Mr. Nobody’ (a stick wearing a bowler hat). His song demonstrates that nobody cares for the average man. Betty clearly has the upper hand, however, and the next scenes show some of her rather nonsensical suggestions to improve the country. These at least involve loads of knots of ribbons. The cartoon ends with a picture of a glass of beer, indicating that the 18th amendment was a major issue of the elections. Indeed, from March 22 1933 on, low alcohol beer and wine were legalized, and in December of that year, the 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st amendment. The prohibition years were over.

Watch ‘Betty Boop for President’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Betty Boop cartoon No. 6
To the previous Betty Boop cartoon: Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs
To the next Betty Boop cartoon: I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead You Rascal You

‘Betty Boop for President’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’

Director: Walt Disney
Release Date:
 December 1, 1929
Rating: ★★½
Review:

The Merry Dwarfs © Walt DisneyAmong the earliest 24 Silly Symphonies there’s a remarkable lot of dancing, as the novelty of movement to synchronized sound formed the basis of the series’ initial existence.

‘The Merry Dwarfs’ is characteristic of these earliest Silly Symphonies. It opens with dwarfs working to the music of Giuseppe Verdi’s anvil chorus from ‘Il trovatore’. Soon we watch them drinking beer (quite remarkable for a cartoon made in the age of abolition) before the long dance sequence kicks in.

This tiresome dance sequence first involves four dwarfs, then two. True, the gags follow each other remarkably naturally, but the dance remains rather dull anyhow until the very end. The cartoon’s sole highlight is in the end, when the two dwarfs fall into a barrel of beer, and their drunkenness makes everything, including the background, wobbly.

There is very little to enjoy in ‘The Merry Dwarfs’, but as it involves dwarfs, it is nice to watch it together with ‘Babes in the Woods‘ (1932) and ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (1937), and gasp at the enormous strides the Disney studio had taken in a mere eight years.

Watch ‘The Merry Dwarfs’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Silly Symphony No. 5
To the previous Silly Symphony: Hell’s Bells
To the next Silly Symphony: Summer

‘The Merry Dwarfs’ is available on the DVD ‘Walt Disney Treasures: More Silly Symphonies’

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