Archive for March 7, 2018

Those Awful Cartoons

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on March 7, 2018 by dcairns

Actually, I like even the really bad, charmless, disturbing thirties cartoons, though not as much as I like the genuinely charming but still creepy Fleischer masterworks. This one is somewhere in between.

CANDY LAND is a Van Beuren job from 1933. Typically incoherent and riddled with wrong. Two cats in a boat are transported to the moon, which seems to be made of comestibles. But you enter it through its grinning maw. Inside the lunar domain, there are chocolate soldiers emerging from giant cakes, and the cat lovers (why cats?) gorge themselves on everything. Thankfully, they don’t eat the characters MADE of food, like the candy cane halberdiers. (Not a phrase one sees often, “candy cane halberdiers,” but one I now plan to work into everything I write. Too late to use it in my OLD DARK HOUSE video essay, but maybe I can find a way to slip it into my text piece on Joseph H. Lewis’s SO DARK THE NIGHT.)

One interesting thing is the transitions — our cat duo get transported from scene to scene by dissolves, their figures occupying roughly the same screen space in each setting, sort of like the way Buster Keaton is teleported by edit in SHERLOCK JR. The inside of the moon is a dream, a movie, and a deli. They COULD have made the optical match perfect by simply recycling the same cels so the figures maintain their exact position, but either they didn’t think of it or they worried that would be confusing.

Confusing? In THIS cartoon?

And then the catagonists are chased by a giant sentient (or anyhow ambulatory) bottle of castor oil and accompanying spoon. Maybe it’s the same spoon who ran away with a dish after the cow jumped over this deli-planetoid. At any rate, he’s all flooby, urigellering all over the shop as he joins the insane chase.

One more thing. I like the way the moon follows the cats in their rowboat. When I was a little kid, driving in the car at night (as a passenger, I hasten to add) I was amazed at the effortless way the moon seemed to keep pace with the family Ford Cortina. Now, try as I might, I can’t be astounded by that anymore, but this toon returns some of the strangeness to our celestial stalker.