Ub!

Weird, icky Ub Iwerks cartoon!

I love Ub Iwerks, mainly because his name is Ub Iwerks. When is Microsoft going to release an IWerks device? Like an IPad, only limp and rubbery?

Ub is a seminal figure in the history of animation, chief creator of Mickey Mouse. Breaking with Disney in 1930, Iwerks was set up in his own studio, where he attempted to rival his former boss’s success — but Ub’s sense of humour was, shall we say, a bit non-commercial.

Flip the Frog is a kind of amphbious Mickey Mouse manqué, I guess. Disturbingly, he has a humanoid girlfriend, a Boop rip-off minus the “mature bosom” mentioned by the judge in the famous Kane vs Boop lawsuit. The boobless Boop decides to flip Flip the Frog the bird and takes off with a prettyboy male Boopoid figure. So, in time-honoured LA fashion, Flip gets a new face.

Very strange stuff in the mask shop / plastic surgery. And meanwhile UnBetty is being chased by a thuggish molester. Betty Boop toons are brimming with rape menace, of course, but what’s most disturbing about this film is the long delays between threat and rescue, during which it’s hard to picture anything passing the time that doesn’t involve UnBetty actually getting savagely used. It’s also notable that these cartoons take place in a kind of lawless wild west vision of America. In a sense, most Hollywood cinema seems to assume that the Wild West never went away.

I dig the Lionel Atwill moment when Flip’s new face cracks open to reveal his true Anuran countenance beneath. This is a very strange film.

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7 Responses to “Ub!”

  1. Wonderfully nightmarish!

    Willie Whopper is a pretty lame character, but The Air Race has some surprising gags.

    At 4:45 you will positively goggle.

  2. CRIKEY! That didn’t disappoint!

  3. It’s just about the one thing about Willie Whopper that doesn’t.

  4. This is weird — same cartoon with a different framing narrative.
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8n46e_spite-flight_shortfilms

  5. Early ’30s cartoon weirdness is everywhere. The Betty Boop ‘toon Minnie The Moocher starts with her sitting at the dinner table in an outrageously sexy outfit, and all her parents care about and scold her for is she won’t eat her dinner.

  6. Yes, it’s all very odd. What’s disappointing is that the Fleischer features eschew such eccentricity, while Disney soon arrived at a mainstream style which, while slick and impressive, tends to minimize such expressive irregularities.

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