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Directors: John Foster & Mannie Davis
Release Date:
 March 26, 1932
Rating: ★★
Review:

The Cat's Canary © Van BeurenIn ‘The Cat’s Canary’ we watch a cat swallowing a bird. Surprisingly the bird remains alive, and makes the cat produce chirping sounds.

The cat goes to a doctor, to no avail, he then joins a quartet of alley cats serenading a kitten. He joins in chirping. But when he gets hit with a cage, the bird escapes. The bird takes revenge on the cat with help from some fellow birds, including a pelican.

After watching such ambitious films by Van Beuren as ‘The Family Shoe‘, ‘Toy Time‘ and ‘Fly Frolic‘, the Aesop Fable ‘The Cat’s Canary’ feels pretty backward. The designs of the cat are highly inconsistent and primitive, looking back to the Waffles and Don films from 1930. The complete short lacks the Silly Symphony-like quality of the preceding Aesop Fables. Moreover, it’s storytelling is weak and inconsistent: there’s a complete throwaway scene, in which the cat is visited by sympathizing birds, and although the cat is the main protagonist throughout the whole film, he suddenly changes into a villain in the end.

The final scene is clearly inspired by the finale of Disney’s ‘Birds of a Feather‘ (1931), and perhaps ‘The Bird Store‘ (1932), but it adds nothing of its own.

Watch ‘The Cat’s Canary’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘The Cat’s Canary’ is available on the DVD ‘Aesop’s Fables – Cartoon Classics from the Van Beuren Studio’

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Director: Frank Tashlin
Release Date: December 11, 1943
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Puss 'n Booty © Warner BrothersThis cartoon opens with “Dicky Bird”, the canary, missing.

Rudolph, the cat who ate the bird (!), pretends the poor fellow has flown out of the window, so his mistress orders another one, which turns out to be considerably harder to catch.

The main body of ‘Puss ‘n Booty’ consists of blackout gags that anticipate the Tweety and Sylvester cartoons by four years.

This short was Warner Bros.’ last cartoon in black and white. Nevertheless, its broad use of blacks, greys and white and the startling camera angles (Frank Tashlin’s trademark) make it as modern as any other cartoon of the era.

Watch ‘Puss ‘n Booty’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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:

https://vimeo.com/89586804

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

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