Archive for Frank Tashlin

Pig Race 2000

Posted in FILM, Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2022 by dcairns

Sorry, the whole of PORKY’S ROAD RACE isn’t on YouTube, so you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you this Loony Tune by Frank Tash(lin) is the Warners 1937 animated version of DEATH RACE 2000. Tricked-out cars causing mayhem with tacks and glue and grease…

For some reason, it’s not just that, though, it’s a race of Hollywood caricatures

WC Fields is paired with Edna May Oliver, which might have been a good casting idea for a feature; Laurel & Hardy power a car jack with a see-saw; a very poor Charlie Chaplin, envisaged as a long thin chap in white trousers; Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh, but in a car.

Some of the references are quite obscure:

I guess this is meant to be George Arliss, Leslie Howard and Freddie Bartholomew?

And here’s one that required actual research:

Definitely John Barrymore. In a car called Caliban. Pursued by a woman in a car called Ariel (with an aerial). The first source I checked was baffled, as Barrymore had never appeared onstage in THE TEMPEST. But they did identify the woman as Elaine Barrie, his wife at the time. It turns out he’d played the part on the radio, as part of a 1937 series called Streamlined Shakespeare. I don’t know if a recording survives, but here’s Twelfth Night. Anyway, that seems like a moderately obscure set of references even for 1937. It’s a cartoon that needs annotated.

Of course, as in the other DEATH RACE 2000, there’s a Frankenstein, but instead of David Carradine it’s, naturally enough, “Borax Karloff.”

The concept overall is weird, there aren’t really any good jokes, and Tashlin’s fanboy side is charming but when he did gags about film technique rather than about movie stars, he was funnier. The closest thing to that is the disclaimer at the start, which starts great but fizzles out, but hey, at least it starts great.

Aaaaaaaaaand thanks to @GearGades on Twitter, here’s a link to the full toon:

Fudd-tasia

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2022 by dcairns

Bob Clampett’s OTHER Disney parody, A CORNY CONCERTO (story by Tashlin) isn’t as offensive (for all the right AND wrong reasons) as his COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS, but it has one marvellously horrid joke right at the start, where the dignified silhouette morphs into a seedy and off-model Elmer Fudd. Subbing in a ludicrous cartoon dweeb instead of Disney’s cultural effigy is funny, but making him such a dissipated wreck is purely obnoxious, and therefore even funnier.

The rest is just OK — Bugs appears in drag, under far more peculiar circumstances than usual. Daffy is a sweet little duckling… who turns into a fighter plane when riled. Evidently this film is separated from FANTASIA not only by a chasm of variant sensibilities, but by Pearl Harbor.

Thanks to Veikko.

Tish Tash

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on January 19, 2022 by dcairns

Newly forthcoming from Criterion — Frank Tashlin’s rock ‘n’ roll live action cartoon THE GIRL CAN’T HELP IT. I was delighted to be asked to celebrated the film’s widescreen colour photography (by Leon Shamroy) in a visual essay edited by Stephen C. Horne.

Bad timing prevented me from including the following passage:

Hired to shoot a test of Janet Gaynor for The Young in Heart, Shamroy was disgruntled to learn that other cinematographers were competing for the job. While the great Karl Struss took twelve hours to light his test, Shamroy knocked his off in twenty minutes, and got the job.
Shamroy was gruff, short-tempered, and had a high opinion of his own skill: “Lee Garmes will never see the day that he’s as good as I am, and that goes for anybody in the motion picture business,” he declared. He only acknowledged one possible superior talent: “God was a great photographer. He’d only gotten one light.”

So here it is for you to enjoy.

The disc streets in April.

Saw some NEW films this week — look out for reactions to THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH and LIQUORICE PIZZA, both of which I substantially dug.