Tuesday 24 November 2020

How To Murder a Cuckoo

The Cuckoo Murder Case was the fourth Flip the Frog cartoon released by MGM and it’s miles ahead of the first one that hit theatres earlier in 1930. There’s atmosphere as the cartoon opens with a storm with flashes of light in a living room.

Cut to a close-up of the cuckoo clock with a gag involving (what else?) the hand of the clock stabbing the cuckoo in the butt.

Cut to a shadow of a gun, then the murder. A bullet misses the bird, but reverses course and puts a hole in its target. In the absence of a lily, the bird uses a daisy as it dies and falls out of the cartoon.

The Motion Picture News from November 1, 1930 gives these as the Flip release dates:
Fiddlesticks, Aug. 16, 1930
Flying Fists, Sept. 6, 1930
The Village Barber, Sept. 27, 1930
The Cuckoo Murder Case, Oct. 18, 1930

The trade paper’s review:

Cuckoo Murder Mystery
FIFTEEN or more of animated cartoons on the market at one time make the going tough for this short. That is, unless they’re turned out with the cleverness of “Cuckoo Murder Case,” of the “Flip the Frog” subjects produced by Ub Iwerks. Here, the cartoonist takes the usual mystery slant but send it over with loads to spare. The answer is in the treatment. Iwerks has Flip go through the most amazing contortions. This shows real thought.

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