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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: September 2, 1932
Stars: Betty Boop, Bimbo, Koko the Clown
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Betty Boop, M.D. © Max Fleischer‘Betty Boop, M.D.’ opens with Betty driving a tilt car into a town to sell  a potion called Jippo, which is advertised as”flattens feet, makes young men old, removes teeth – grows tonsils, and stops breathing”.

Betty gets assistance from Koko and Bimbo to sell the product. First Koko performs some surreal acrobatic stunts, to no avail. Then Betty herself appears to sing a song, and the selling starts. The potion as some wondrous effects on the audience, e.g. a very thin man grows fat in an instant, and an old man turns into a large baby, while a baby turns into a tiny old man.

When Bimbo drinks Jippo himself, he starts the song ‘Nobody’s Sweetheart’, which contains a lot of scatting by members of the audience. To this jazzy sequence the imagery simply explodes with mind-blowing, surreal scenes. This fantastic string of events ends when a baby drinks Jippo, turning into a faithful caricature of Fredric March as Mr. Hyde from the 1931 horror film ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’.

As is often the case with the Fleischer films from the early 1930s, ‘Betty Boop, M.D.’ has a very weak and rather improvised story line, but this drawback is luckily compensated by original imagery, peppy music, and simply a lot of fun.

Watch ‘Betty Boop, M.D.’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Betty Boop, M.D.’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’

Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date:
 November 14, 1931
Stars: Betty Boop, Bimbo
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Mask-A-Raid © Max FleischerIn ‘Mask-A-Raid’ a very sexy Betty is queen of a masked ball.

The king, a dirty old man, fancies her, but she prefers Bimbo. Nevertheless, she makes Bimbo and the old guy fighting each other. Suddenly knights pop up from nowhere and everybody is fighting.

In ‘Mask-a-raid’ some of the random surrealism of ‘Barnacle Bill‘ and ‘Mysterious Mose‘ (both 1930) returns to the screen. The cartoon is full of weird images and odd gags, and at times should be seen to be believed. It ends with some great scatting by Bimbo himself.

This is Betty’s first cartoon as a human being (apart from the Screen Song ‘Kitty from Kansas City‘ from only one week before), with her dog ears having changed into large earrings. It’s also the first to give her starring credits. It introduces the new story idea of old men fancying Betty, and harassing her against her will. This story element would also be featured in e.g. ‘Boop-oop-a-Doop‘ (1932) and ‘Betty Boop’s Big Boss‘ (1933).

Watch ‘Mask-A-Raid’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Talkartoon No. 27
To the previous Talkartoon: In the Shade of the Old Apple Sauce
To the next Talkartoon: Jack and the Beanstalk

‘Mask-A-Raid’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’

Director: Burt Gillett
Release Date: December 21, 1929
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Still from 'Wild Waves' featuring Minnie kissing MickeyIn his fifteenth cartoon Mickey is a lifeguard and he saves a nearly drowning Minnie.

To comfort his sweetheart Mickey does some playing and dancing. Some animals (pinguins, sea lions, pelicans and a singing walrus) join in. This is a particularly dull sequence, Minnie cheers up, calls Mickey ‘my hero’ and kisses him. Iris out.

In this short, there’s a story at least the first half of the cartoon, making it slightly better than most of the early Mickey Mouse entries. The cartoon starts with some nice scatting by Mickey. Unfortunately, the fledgling lip-synch still accounts for some strange facial expressions on our hero. The drowning and saving part is the most interesting sequence, and contains some nice water animation, as well Mickey defying gravity by swimming through air.

‘Wild Waves’ was the first short directed by Burt Gillett. Gillett had joined Disney in April 1929. He would become the principal Mickey Mouse director of 1930 and 1931, and in 1933 he would gain fame with ‘Three Little Pigs’. His career at Disney’s would last until 1934, when he left for the ill-fated Van Beuren Studio.

‘Wild Waves’ also was the last Walt Disney short to feature music by Carl Stalling. When Ub Iwerks left Disney in January 1930, Stalling soon followed, believing the studio had no future without this master animator. For his last film Stalling not only provided the score, but also the singing for Mickey and the Walrus. The singing walrus would be reused half a year later, in the Silly Symphony ‘Arctic Antics‘, while the dancing sea lions returned in ‘The Castaway‘ (1931).

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

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 15
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: The Haunted House
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Just Mickey

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