Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Hawk

Quick cutting and imaginative layouts highlight Frank Tashlin’s Porky’s Poultry Plant, released in 1936. But there’s also an effect he pulls off I really like.

The villain of the cartoon is a chicken hawk.

When the hawk quickly swoops down on the hens and their chicks, Tashlin turns it into speed lines.

Then Tashlin treats the menace in shadow form.

The Warner’s orchestra highlights the hawk scenes with dramatic music. Carl Stalling reached back into his silent film days to use “Furioso No. 2” by J.S. Zamecnik, the movie sheet music machine from the 1910s and ‘20s.

All this makes up for a pretty weak opening, weighed down by Joe Dougherty’s humourless stutter as Porky Pig (is Martha Wentworth the hen?). Still, it’s miles and miles ahead of anything Jack King had turned out for the studio that year.

Don Williams and Volney White are the credited animators.


  1. Dougherty’s calling for the animals to feed in their cartoon is almost painful to listen to -- it's no surprise Frank (and Tex) would start cutting his lines down to almost nothing in the year before Mel showed up.

    Aside from the unusual angles and perspective shots, it's also interesting to note that facially, Taslin's Porky in this cartoon looks better than he would in almost all his remaining pictures until his departure from the studio at the end of 1938 (Frank preferred a squash-faced Porky with gianormous apple cheeks, a hint of which would still show up in a couple of his mid-1940s cartoons. The facial design here was good enough that Bob Clampett would borrow Porky's worm charmer scene -- with a slightly slimmed-down body -- for 1939's "Chicken Jitters").

  2. Not to mention Carl Stalling and Frank Tashlin (as director) debuted this year.