Friday, 11 November 2011

55. The Organ Grinder (1933)

Warner cartoon no. 54.
Release date: April 8, 1i33.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Directed by: Rudolf Ising.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger.
Cast unknown.
Animation: Rollin Hamilton and Thomas McKimson.
Musical Score: Frank Marsales.

The short starts off with an Italian organ-grinder and he has a pet monkey that is trained to do tricks. The organ grinder is playing music with his grinder, while his pet monkey is behind him, making monkey sounds and dancing to the music. As the monkey hears a whistle up in the window, he sees a girl up the window and then he pulls out his cap for a coin to go in, in which it does. The monkey then slides down the lamp post, and follows the Italian organ-grinder.

The monkey continues to keep on walking on, and then he finds a banana hanging around and he then he peels of the banana skin one side at a time, by zipping it down. Oh man, I wish I could a special type of banana that I could peel down.

As the Italian organ-grinder and the monkey continue walking down the streets, we then see a large woman in her apartment scrubbing some clothes in some soap water. She looks at the clothes, with a quote "What a man", as if her husband has got some six-pack or something. She looks down at her apartment window at the monkey outside playing music, and she is shaking her bum by singing the title song, The Organ Grinder. I must say the voice for the large woman is appropriate - and her singing skills.

The woman then pulls out a coin and signals the monkey to grab it. The Italian grinder asks the money, "Tony, go and get da money!" in a Italian accent. The monkey then starts to climb up the apartment by swinging up the barber pole that moves up for him - what a great gag. The monkey then uses window shades to go up window-to-window. The lady who has her head at the apartment window, then gives the monkey a coin in which he places it in his jacket and not in his hat. The monkey then goes onto a long piece of underwear string and moves himself to another part of the apartment building where the large woman gives him the coin.

The monkey jumps out of the underwear and holds onto a sock and suddenly the sock rips that causes the monkey to fall down. The monkey falls down from the ripped sock and lands on different awnings, and lands on a long piece of underwear, and comes out of the rear end. He returns the money to the grinder, and pats him for doing a good job.

We then see children running in the streets as they see the monkey and they want some entertainment. The monkey starts off with a dance, when the grinder asks him to do something more entertaining, in which he shakes his booty. He then rages at him "Whasamattayou?" He asks him just to dance for money by demonstrating it with a cup. The monkey then shakes his coins, and whispers him to get going with the entertainment. He then dances to a sleeping cat and pulls his tail in which it "meows" the rhythm like a gramophone. The cat then hisses him away.

The monkey then goes up to a mannequin in which he climbs up the draws, and he takes the wig off the mannequin, and he puts the wig on his head, and then he places a top hat on top of his head in which it is a caricature take of Harpo Marx - in which it is pretty good, although so many people have caricatured Harpo over the years, and watching it today is just tiring.

The monkey then jumps over the mannequin and then he starts to play the harp (still wearing the Harpo Marx wig). The monkey (Tony) then pulls a string from the harp and he uses his tail to bounce like springs - okay, so that's an original gag. He entertains the children easily, and he then goes to a poster displayed of Laurel and Hardy, and he does a caricature of Stan Laurel at first, and then a caricature of Oliver Hardy. The caricatures are amusing, but I don't imagine Bob McKimson animated that - maybe Rollin Hamilton?

The monkey bounces to a piano lying in the streets, and he uses his tail to slide the keys up and down. The monkey starts to play 42nd Street on the piano, with the children singing the song. Of course, 42nd Street was released in cinemas in Febraury 1933, and this cartoon was promoting the music to try and attract the audience to watch that movie (and Young and Healthy). After the shot of the children singing, we then see the monkey continuing  to play the piano and somehow there is ANOTHER PIANO beside it?? What did the monkey somehow drag the piano magically, or some type of monkey business.

The next thing you know is that the monkey hasn't got a second piano with him this time is that (after the singing children) the monkey has a drum and a accordion, and playing the clarinet. He uses the accordion to move upwards to play some type of percussion, and then back down. He then uses a cat's tail as a double bass instrument, before the cat hisses away. Okay, we do see some monkey business entertainment, and the same cat from earlier on in that cartoon.

The monkey then steps onto a vehicle parked by the pavement, in which the car runs over a cart full of apples and the grocery seller is knocked over. The cart is brought back together in correct pieces, in which the man falls down on apples in which he starts to shout and complain. A woman is delivering a basket of laundry, but runs off as the car keeps moving, and the basket lands on the car, with bras covering the indicators and pants covering, too.  

 The Italian grinder is now starting to panic and worry, as his pet money as caused the trouble. The car then CRASHES into a music shop where the grinder was hiding. The monkey comes out with several brass instruments on the car, and the Italian man coming up delighted with the children cheering on - and that's all folks.

It's really hard to describe on how good this cartoon was or even on how boring it was. It certainly wasn't a bad cartoon, and it was hard to review it as there was not very much to go on about. It was just very ordinarily done, and yet again the animation is in good standards, with some fine gags - and no reuses. I can now see that Harman-Ising are in bigger budgets.

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