Archive for May 26, 2022

Departing with the Breeze

Posted in FILM with tags , , on May 26, 2022 by dcairns

A fairly worthless Columbia toon from 1940. No credits, which is probably just as well for those responsible.

It’s supposed to be a satire on women’s hats — biting, topical stuff — but they obviously couldn’t even squeeze seven minutes out of that so it begins with a wholly irrelevant day-in-the-life mockumentary portraying working girl Maise, an off-model Bette Davis caricature.

Since Bette had I believe hoped for and failed to get the lead in GONE WITH THE WIND, her reading material at the workplace is a bitter joke indeed:

Then there’s some classically insensitive depictions of mental illness. Hard to be seriously offended by the padded cells and stereotyped loony behaviour, but none of it’s FUNNY, either. I recall reading a complaint about Tex Avery’s SLAP-HAPPY LION when it aired on the BBC in the nineties — someone took the trouble to write to the Radio Times, protesting the outmoded and insensitive depiction of a lion having a nervous breakdown. Some people really badly want to be offended.

SLAP-HAPPY LION is quite a dark, nasty cartoon, but it’s hilarious. This one isn’t nearly as dark but because it isn’t funny at all it’s more disturbing. Also because the drawing doesn’t have any appeal, so the various loony hatters are sort of gross.

Other than that, the most charming thing on display is the cartoon version of the Columbia logo which finishes it. Never seen this before:

It should be cartoonier, but I still like it, and wish the other studios had the equivalent. I guess Warners kind of did, with the familiar WB shield catapulted at us down a vibrant ribbed tube, but a cartoon Leo the lion would have been magnificent.