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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: October 14, 1932
Stars: Betty Boop, Bimbo
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Betty Boop's Ups and Downs © Max Fleischer‘Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs’ is one of the most stream-of-consciousness-like cartoons the Fleischer Brothers ever made.

The short starts with Betty Boop moving and putting her old house for sale. As soon as she leaves, the house falls apart, which drops the price immediately, even though the chimney desperately tries to keep the building together. This is a rather weird scene itself, but soon we zoom out to reveal the whole area being on sale, the whole of the United States, and even the complete earth. Suddenly we watch the moon auctioning the earth to the neighboring planets. The earth is sold to a Jewish looking Saturn, who draws gravity from the earth. Suddenly everything starts floating upwards. Imagine, this cartoon started with Betty moving to a new home!

Unfortunately, the studio has difficulties inventing good gags about the world without gravity, and the premise never gets proper treatment. For example, their best gag seems to be Betty Boop’s skirt flying upwards, revealing her panties, which is shown twice. It seems as when their imagination could roam completely freely, the studio got stuck, as the same happened in ‘Crazy Town‘ from earlier that year. When the earth pulls its own magnet back into place, everything falls down again to a jazzy score, and it’s Betty who has the last word in a reprise of her opening song.

Even though it’s not really successful, ‘Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs’ is one of the strangest cartoons ever made, and worth while watching.

Watch ‘Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Betty Boop cartoon No. 5
To the previous Betty Boop cartoon: Betty Boop’s Bamboo Isle
To the next Betty Boop cartoon: Betty Boop for President

‘Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’

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Director: Jack Kinney
Release Date: March 23, 1951
Stars: Goofy
Rating: ★★
Review:

Home Made Home © Walt DisneyIn ‘Home Made Home’ Goofy tries to build his own house.

‘Home Made Home’ features the updated design of Goofy, introduced in ‘Tennis Racquet‘ (1949). Nevertheless, this cartoon has an old-fashioned feel to it. Like the sports cartoons from the 1940s, it uses a pompous narrator, and Goofy’s original voice. Moreover, the cartoon consists of three elongated situation gags in a style we had not seen since the 1930s. In the first Goofy is trapped in a blueprint, in the second he has to deal with a glass panel with a will of his own, recalling the piano from ‘Moving Day‘ (1937), and in the third he has to battle a snake-like paint-gun.

The gags are clever at times. Nevertheless, this short is rather slow and unfunny and only a shadow of the 1930s cartoons, the style of which it seems to try to evoke.

Watch ‘Home Made Home’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Goofy cartoon No. 28
To the previous Goofy cartoon: Lion Down
To the next Goofy cartoon: Cold War

Director: Wilfred Jackson
Release Date: August 8, 1952
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

The Little House © Walt DisneyHalf a year after ‘Lambert the Sheepish Lion‘, voice actor Sterling Holloway returns as a narrator for a Disney cartoon.

Here he tells the story of a little house on a hill in the country side who is soon surrounded by the city and forgotten. The house’s first neighbors are arrogant and aristocratic wooden houses, which soon burn down. The second neighbors are sloppy brick houses, which are pulled down in the end. Her third neighbors are enormous skyscrapers. When the little house thinks she’s finished, she’s moved to start anew on the countryside.

This sweet little story is based on a children’s book from 1942 by Virginia Lee Burton and uses a slightly different design to remain faithful to her original illustrations. Like ‘Lambert the Sheepish Lion’, the story is very sweet, not funny. Its main attraction are the humanized houses, excavators and such.

However, the story is well-told, thanks to story man Bill Peet. It contains heart and has a strong sense of nostalgia. In fact, conservative nostalgia has rarely been put more convincingly to the screen. The film is strongly anti-urban and anti-progress, and full of longing to the peace and quiet of a bygone era. Its message is expressed at the end of the cartoon, when Holloway tells us that “the best place to find peace and happiness is in a little house on a little hill way up in the country”.

Watch ‘The Little House’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘The Little House’ is available on the DVD ‘Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities’

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