Saturday, 18 February 2017
Down With Betty Boop
Some animation fans have declared the later Boop adventures dull and uninteresting. Few say the same thing about her earliest cartoons. Ah, but we found a critic who did.
Buried in the pages of the Ogdenburg Republican-Journal of May 27, 1932 is a somewhat disjointed criticism by the paper’s film critic. It’s disjointed because she goes on to praise the Fleischer cartoon “A Hunting We Will Go”—which includes Betty Boop.
And, naturally, because it’s 1932, the reviewer treats Walt Disney like the gold standard of animation. Oddly, her suggestion of an Alice in Wonderland series had, in spirit, already been done by Disney in the silent era with little live-action Alice being plunked into a cartoon world. (And we all know about Disney’s later “Alice in Wonderland” feature).
NOW that the pictures have come of age they are worth more than casual comment about this picture and that. Miss Croughton in her weekly column tries to look at the films in relation to their social and cultural effects as well as their entertainment values.
ONE of the many things we can not understand about the movies is why screen cartoonists who are constantly demonstrating their richness of comedy ideas and their ability in putting these ideas into clever and amusing synchronization expose themselves to suits for plagiarisation [sic] by grafting upon their films such excrescenes [sic] as the figure and tiresome lisp and queak of a "Betty Boop."
Fleischer, whose clown and little dog were a delight in animated cartoons long before the talkies came into existence and who, after a period of feeling his way with synchronisation, is now turning out more amusing creations than ever, certainly did not need the irritating Betty Boop to bolster up his efforts.
The cartoons, of course, rely for their humor on the reversal of the usual and expected. In another film seen recently, the rabbit character, who is being pursued by a knife-throwing Chinaman, suddenly catches two of the knives as they are flying past him and turns back to politely return them to their owner. Perhaps the suggestion may be looked upon as sacrilege, but we would like to see Lewis Carroll's "Alice In Wonderland" done by Walter Disney as an animated screen cartoon serial—provided, of course, that it was kept free from the vulgarities and trivialities of some of the cartoon series. The humor of the best animated cartoons is, basically, the inverted humor which Carroll used in his tale and the majority, of its incidents seem to us to cry aloud for representation.