Saturday, 24 September 2011

35. Bosko's Dog Race (1932)

Warner cartoon no. 34.
Release date: June 25, 1932.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Directed by: Hugh Harman.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger (associate).
Starring: Johnny Murray (Bosko).
Animation: Rollin Hamilton and Norm Blackburn.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

Today's review is going to be my favourite all-time Harman-Ising cartoon made in that era from Warner Bros. you'll find out why I really like that short.

The short starts off with Bosko cooking an egg in the woods (he might be camping with Bruno), so his dog watches him flip the egg on the frying pan. As Bosko is cooking the yolk, and flipping it, he's says "Oh boy, am I hungry", in which Bruno barks in agreement. Bruno also looks at the yolk in a close-up shot, in which he licks his teeth as the yolk looks so tasty. Bruno reacts to the sizzling chemicals in which he yelps. We also hear Bosko humming to Are You from Dixie?

There is a rather peckish squirrel living up in a tree, the squirrel sniffs the lovely sizzling egg. As the egg is being flipped in mid-air, the squirrel swallows it in one gulp. Bosko and Bruno are astonished to see that theire only egg has been eaten, so Bosko brings out a shotgun and tries to shoot the squirrel as part of his revenge scheme for eating the egg.

So, there is another one of those "chase" sequences that comes along, in which Bruno chases from the squirrel through different areas of the forest. As Bosko is trying to pull the trigger, he sort of topsy-turves as he ends up back in the campfire, by landing on a frying pan which almost burns him in the rear end. They also cross a river, in which the squirrel runs through it, as Bruno runs on top of it. The squirrel lands in a log hole, in which Bruno is about to make a turn, until he slips off the log and falls into the pond.

 Bosko runs into the scene and laughs at Bruno in the water, then encourages him to be out of the pond - Bruno makes a quick dry before following Bosko. Bosko and Bruno notice an advertisement of a dog race. The sign reads $5000 Prize to Winner - Whippet Race. There is a brief bit of animation of a dog running on the poster before being back to a normal drawing. Bosko insists that Bruno will run the dog race and win it, whilst Bruno isn't very eager to run the race and doesn't feel he has the physique of a dog racer.

I quite like that little bit of animation of the dog running on the poster, and there is some good personality animation of Bruno here, and he sort of reminds me of another Disney Pluto, but the animation personality of Bruno is potential, compared to Pluto - but still a great attempt from the animators.

Bosko starts a training program for his dog outside in his backyard, but the training is very amateurish and painful for Bruno. Bosko finishes off his brutal exercise for Bruno, the next part is when he starts to give Bruno a massage, but the massage is quite rough. Meanwhile Honey pops up at the gate, she greets Bosko and asks him if he's preparing Bruno for the dog race. Bosko demonstrates that he's doing so, and Bruno tries to check out his physical towards Honey. Bruno puts on a muscly-chest look on him, but as Bosko pats him on the back, his chest lowers down and back onto his flabby stomach. Honey laughs while Bruno is embarrassed over his physical, while he tries to put on a good-shaped body.

The acting here and the animation is a delight to look at. I really like the personality animation of Bruno trying to put on a good-shaped physical body. Some great emotions, and it's amazing on how it was done quite well back in 1932, and it seems that the cartoons were made in a short amount of time. Some great stuff in there so far.

The big race has finally begun today, and there is a crowd of many people attending to see the dog race. Either folks placing bets on a dog, or to see their own pets race. There are some couples walking with their own breeds in which the owners have good racing dogs, and Bosko arrives with Bruno attached onto a leach. What I've noticed very interesting, is during the first shot with a huge noticeboard with the racers, and Bruno's name is in big letters with the number "13", I wonder if Harman-Ising used that for bad luck for Bruno?

The race starts with Honey watching the arena, as there are loudspeakers shouting "On your marks...get set...BOOM", and the speakers react to the gunshot in which is a very good gag indeed. The race is starting off with many dogs running in the race, but as Bosko and Honey are watching the dogs running by, they can't see Bruno anywhere in the crowd. To their shock, they notice Bruno sniffing at the tracks, and try to pressure him to run in the race. What I do find funny is that little Scottish terrier that's running in the race.

During the race, there are a lot of fit looking dogs that are built for racing, but Bruno is just unfit for racing, and that's why he's already tired out. Bruno starts to slow down, that even Bosko has to jump onto the tracks and make Bruno run faster, but to an even bigger shock Bruno jumps out of a fence when he spots a squirrel.

Bruno starts to chase the same squirrel from earlier, and Bruno checks in a log. On top of a tree is a beehive, in which the squirrel drops on top of Bruno's rear, with a bunch of bees stinging Bruno, that causes Bruno to run faster. Bosko runs off and ends up landing on a pile of clothes, in which Bruno follows, due to Bosko's clumsiness. All the clothes run away from the bees unattractively, in which Bruno runs away from them, with a set of underwear stuck on Bruno's face.

Lucky for Bosko's clumsiness, Bruno runs back on the track, and thanks for the bees - Bruno starts to catch up in the face. Bruno is now competing with a winning "No. 2" racing dog that was in the lead all along. I really like how Hugh Harman used his story ideas for bees that became an important part of this story.

 Bruno is now in the lead, but only at the very end of the race, until he finally reaches the finishing line (but the line bounces Bruno backwards), but the commentator announces that Bruno has won the race, in which Honey and Bruno step in the arena very proud of Bruno, but it also means that they win 5 grand - and that's all folks.

That's a reason why I really like that short very much. There is a good short story in there, but it isn't about a dog race, it's about Bruno's troubles in his physical and those bees really helped him win the race. Surely, you may have seen something similar before, but back in 1932 - they didn't always have gags like this in cartoons, so it was great for the time. The character animation was very good in it, particularly scenes featuring Bruno. What makes the cartoon great is that there is hardly any old animation reused from earlier shorts, and it's mostly just new animation. I feel that Harman-Ising have really tried there, and placed in a lot of effort, while they found the time to make a great black-and-white cartoon.

This is why the cartoon is my favorite in this Warner Bros. era (1930-1933).

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