Monday, April 20, 2015

Next Fleischer Short: Finding His Voice

Well, this is what I get for doing such an incomplete job.  Act in haste, repent in leisure!... something like that.  And so, it's time to look at all those other shorts on the Popeye DVDs.  First up: since I've already been working on Volume 3, I'll stay with Volume 3, and also because it seems to have only one extra short on it.  It's called Finding His Voice from 1929 and, as you may have guessed, if you know at least one big milestone in cinema history, 1929 was the year of the big stock market crash, and the first year when cinema started making its own sound, as opposed to mere live musical accompaniment with organ and or orchestra.  David Mamet once said that sound was the beginning of the end for the cinema, but that hasn't started him from writing his Silent Movie.
To cut to the chase, Finding His Voice is kind of a boring documentary with animation, but the Fleischers were only partially involved in this project, so it figures.  But it's kind of interesting for a couple reasons.  There's a few sparks of the old Fleischer imagination, as musical notes morph into a xylophone.  And some of the music chosen for this picture have become cartoon staples, like that... barber thing and "Merrily We Roll Along."  It's also interesting to see how far the art of animation for mouths has come.  It was quite new here, and apparently they were just happy to get it done... and not double-check it for accuracy.  Also, the Fleischers learned to let well enough alone with the Popeye series, and just let characters mumble a lot, so they don't have to animate the mouths at all!
And so, the Talkie and the newly-voiced Silent join forces to row a boat for our amusement, but a giant shark-looking thing gobbles them up... oh, I think it's supposed to be a whale, because the whale's tail highlights the words "The End."  I think it's supposed to represent... Disney.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

No comments: