Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by TurboExtremist, Sep 1, 2007.
What's "Agee on Movies"?
James Agee was a film critic in the 40's; he also wrote several movies: "The African Queen", "The Night of the Hunter" and "The Bride Came to Yellow Sky".
Since I have a copy, here goes: "A better show than any of these, and the funniest thing I have seen since the decline of socialogical dancing, is "Rhapsody Rabbit". It is incredibly simple-minded: Bugs Bunny, interrupted by carrots and a mouse, gives a cut yet definitive performance of the most familiar of Lizst's Hungarian Rhapsodies--I forget which number...The best of it goes two ways: one, very observant parody of concert-pianistic affectations, elegantly thought out and synchronized; the other, brutality keyed into the spirit of the music to reach greater subtlety than I have ever seen brutality reach before. I could hardly illustrate without musical quotation; but there is a passage in which the music goes up with an arrogant wrenching of slammed chords--Ronk, Ronk, RONK--then prisses downward on a broken scale--which Bugs takes (a) with all four feet, charging madly, scowling like a rockinghorse late for a date at stud; and (b) friskily tiptoe, proudly smirking, like a dog toe-dancing through his own misdemeanor or the return of an I-Was-There journalist, a man above fear or favour who knows precisely which sleeping dogs to lie about. It killed me; and when they had the wonderful brass to repeat it exactly, a few bars later, I knew what 'killed' really meant..."
^ I just know that it's funny.
Next: Beanstock Bunny
The picture quality isn't very good, but this is a classic: "Guess I'll have to open with a pair of Jacks!" "He's Jack!" "On account of I am greedy!"
Next: Long-Haired Hair
One of my favorites: Bugs' musical talents, or lack of them, distract a practicing opera singer. He retaliates; Bugs says: "Of course your know, this means war!"
Indeed it does.
House Hunting Mice
Circa 1948. The obvious prototype of "Pinkie and the Brain."
Claude ze cat and Frisky the from-hell puppy.
Unlocking and upping by request.
Porky's Road Race (1937)
It's black & white, and I don't recognize half of the celebrity caricatures, but I still love it. It has such a lighthearted warmth to it, along with some really great gags.
The supervisor, "Frank Tash" is probably Franklin Tashlin, himself a good live-action comedy director later on.
The caricatures were:
Laurel and Hardy
W. C. Fields
Edna Mae Oliver
Stepin Fetchit (?)
The Brits: Not sure; Leslie Howard, Freddie Bartholomew
Caliban & Ariel: no clue about these two
Clark Gable is hitchhiking
The bricks on the wheels is a great gag.
"In the beginning both Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies drew their storylines from Warner's vast music library (notice the names Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies). From 1934 to 1943, Merrie Melodies were produced in color and Looney Tunes in black and white. After 1943, however, both series were produced in color and became virtually indistinguishable, with the only stylistic difference being in the variation between the opening theme music and titles. Both series also made use of the various Warner Bros. cartoon characters. By 1937, the theme music for Looney Tunes was "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" by Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin; the theme music for Merrie Melodies was an adaptation of "Merrily We Roll Along" by Charles Tobias, Murray Mencher and Eddie Cantor."
Now Hear This (1962)
Probably the most surreal WB cartoon ever made. A fine collection of abstract insanity...
Very pleased with itself, n'est-ce pas?
I was fairly bored.
The new logo was interesting, though.
And the only cartoon directed by Chuck Jones to feature it.
Warner Brothers sacked him shortly after NHT for a breach of contract dispute.
Might as well move on, then...
Don't Give Up the Sheep (1953)
First of the Sheepdog vs. Wolf shorts - basically the Roadrunner & Coyote in a different setting.
Pretty good buildup, accompanied by an excellent soundtrack courtesy of Carl Stalling & Treg Brown.
I loved that series of shorts.
Now Hear This was one of the most annoying things I've ever seen. I find that kind of "I am more avant garde than thou" stuff absolutely infuriating. Your random Bugs Bunny cartoon is better (and more artistic too).
Want even more infuriation? Check out Norman Normal (1968), which has got to be the very worst cartoon I've ever seen.
Thank god it was their last!
I made it half way through, but that was awful.
The coyote/sheepdog one is one of a series...it's sort of a riff of coyote/roadrunner.
Some witty animation.
What the **** was that? Migod that was awful. I still don't think it's as bad as Quasi at the Quackadero, though.
They're both bad, but IMO Norman is worse. Quasi does a better job of being an acid trip than Norman does of being a biting social commentary.
That wasn't just bad, that was disappointing. The opening sequence with the doors got me all excited for a postmodern sensibility that was quickly eschewed in favor of... I dunno even know what that was, besides badly animated and poorly voice acted.
Not pretentious, like "Now Hear This". Just plain bad.
Ok, let's get that wretched taste out of our mouths...
Draftee Daffy (1945)
A fantastically frantic outing from Bob Clampett, wherein Daffy attempts to evade The Man From The Draft Board.
This is nobody's idea of a subtle cartoon, but it has its moments...I especially liked that Daffy is tremendously patriotic until he's drafted, and the gag where he puts on a beard, specs and a hat only to find the draft board dude (who is a hoot) has the same.