Sunday, February 10, 2008

Canned Feud 1951 ( Dir : Friz Freleng)

Like all Friz Freleng's cartoons, Canned Fued follows a very simple plotline, that's followed by many gags and then an ending where you sort of raise your eyebrows a bit. Although I'm not a big fan of his cartoons I do admit that he has comic timing and his stories unfold very nicely.

Canned Feud reminds me of Tex Avery's MGM cartoons and I have a feeling they were an influence on this short. They way the gags are centred on one motive is very Avery-ish.

Basically Sylvester's owners go for a holiday in California and forget to leave Sylvester any food after some frantic searching Sylvester discovers a whole cupboard filled with canned fish ( in these few minutes there's a lot of Avery-like double takes). The only problem is that a mouse has stolen the can opener, which means Sylvester has to catch the mouse in order to get the tool.

After electrocuting himself, being squashed by a piano, Falling through the floor ( this utilises Freleng's famous saw gag. The saw gag : when a character saws through a wall and his nemesis saws through the floor, thus giving the immpression that the blade is extra long. Usually the character will fall through the floor) backfires, getting his head blown up and sucked in a vaccuum cleaner. Sylvester decides to use a shed load of dynamite and blows up the house in the process. Finally the can opener lands on him. Estactic he runs to the cupboard only to find it locked and, yes, the mouse has the key. Sylvester screams and then faints.

Canned Fued is a very well structred cartoon and one can see why it was a staple on video compilations and tv shows. It has a classic cartoon feel ( a chase, double takes, cartoon violence) and it is entertaining. Not something I would want to watch constantly but good to see now and then.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bugs and Thugs 1954 ( Dir : Friz Freleng)

(sorry the picture and spelling function aren't working!)

Bugs and Thugs is a sort of update or even evolution of the 1946 cartoon Racketeer Rabbit (also by Freleng)despite the fact that one gag is shared. I prefer this version. Mainly because the gangsters Rocky and Mugsy are 'proper' cartoon characters instead of Jimmy Cagney and Peter Lorre look alikes.

Bugs Bunny is off to the bank to withdraw some carrots from his account. After he finshes he decides to hail a taxi but it turns out to be Rocky and Mugsy's getaway car. Rocky robs the bank and jumps into the car, thus making Bugs an instant witness to the crime.

Rocky then plots to kill Bugs and the two goons go find a suitable place to dispose of him. Bugs, then reverts to his usual trickery by telling Mugsy to stop at a gas station. Once out of the car Bugs tries to phone the police but this fails.

The trio drive to a railway crossing and Rocky then tells Bugs to go out and check if there are any trains going by. Bugs again tries to outsmart them by telling them that the coast is clear. The second the car goes on the tracks a train rushes by and destroys everything. As a result Bugs has to fix the car and carry it to the gangster's hideout.

Once they arrive Rocky tells Mugsy to shoot Bugs but Bugs verbally tricks Mugsy into giving him the gun and promptly shoots him. ( Mugsy just faints) Rocky then decides to do the job but then Bugs pretends to be a policeman, which frightens the thugs. He convinces the idiot to hide in the oven and blows them up. Right after ( and this a great scene) a real policeman arrives and the whole oven scenario is renacted. Instead of being blown up a second time. Rocky and Mugsy run towards the policeman and give themselves up.

The cartoon ends with Bugs as a private-eye talking about his job.

Bugs and Thugs works cause it is zippy, full of action and concludes excellently. A very well-rounded cartoon with some unpredictability in it too.