Friday, 16 March 2012
129. I'm a Big Shot Now (1936)
Release date: April 11, 1936.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
Animation: Jack Carr and Riley Thompson.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A gangster bird in the town of "Birdsville" tries to prove his toughness by committing a crime in a robbery with the police until revealing himself as a "softie".
There is a woodpecker flying at the scene in which it starts to peck at an old tree in which a ladybug jumps out of a hole from the reactions of the woodpecker. The ladybug then grabs out a mallet in which he hammers the beak down where it's rather damaged but can no longer do any pecking which saves the ladybug's day.
Inside the Birdsville Bank is an accountant who is basically doing his job here as he is probably writing them a cheque that has been delivered to them. No gag here intended there as we've could've seen something gag but yet; what other gags would be appealing that's set in a bank? Some dated reference??
However inside the saloon it appears to be rather jazzy and popular inside. It doesn't look shabby at all on the inside as it does on the outside. All of the birds enjoy dancing - sure I wouldn't even mind entering it; if it were a human bar. I thought that it was only popular because of the cheap beer prices. But there are couples that we see that actually enjoy the party.
The gangster bird appears to be caricatured from gangster films even with that gruff voice. The bird then starts to go into song singing I'm a Big Shot Now. He sings about how he "used to be a softie", and became a "toughie". I like that facial expression with the rolling eyes as he says "Baby, and how - I'm a little big hot now!" The gangster then sings how he can ("lick?") any police officer. We already see some character personality here that shows he is rather arrogant and full of himself. He hardly is singing the song as he is just talking but in rhythm; but I'm unsure if that was how it was sung in the song.
As the officer is walking - the gangster off-screen is singing about how he hates "geemen" and officers; and how he feels that there should be little laws and more to break them. Notice how that when the policeman turns around as the gangster sings back to verse "I used to be a softie..." - when the cop bird turns; there is no inbetween here - just from pose to the back to the front all in one go; I wonder if that was one of Freleng's unsuccessful attempts for use of timing or just an error. The gangster bird then starts to finish his song.
The gangster then unfolds the blinds on the window as he notices the "Birdsville Bank" as the word Bank falls out and puffs - good effects there. Is THAT meant to be the first time he's ever seen the bank since it's just across the street of the saloon?
The bird then starts to wait outside the bank flipping the coin until we here the sounds of firing guns. The gangster is just standing there as he's the leader of the group but lets his followers do all the robbery and looting.
There is a dissolve back part after they escape but fades back when we view the police station that has police vans chasing after the robbers (plus the gangster) who they found out about the crimes. I like how there are so many officers out on the hunt that they can't fit into the car instead they cling on to each other holding onto the back part of the police car. Although question is that why would they need so many officers just to go after robbers?
I like that gag that then shows the bullets shooting out from the exhaust pipe in which the gangster leader was using it for his gun as he popped out of the exhaust pipe. Notice that speed gag of the cars driving very fast at an angle is reused animation from Avery's first cartoon Gold Diggers of '49 - looks like Freleng found influence.
The shot of the wanted poster then fades to the gangster holding the actual poster he has found in which he laughs as though that nobody will find him for his bank robbery crime. The bird then looks outside of his birdhouse in which he already finds a copper on the loose.
I find it weird about how the copper bird whistles in which the copper's hat appears to erect and lower at times. The gangster then starts to close the door in which he wants to hide is identity but shoots out of the window in which he misses the police officers but shoots their hats. That shows some bad luck for the gangster bird but good luck for the officers since their lives were saved - but are still in danger. They duck down under the log to hide themselves.
There are a group of officers that are shown as dive bombers in which they are flying up in the sky making a turn as they are going to make a dive. They start to shoot around the birdhouse but nothing is happening to the birdhouse as though the bomber missed it. The gangster is already facing problems as there are bullets shooting straight into his bird house.
A police van then approaches the birdhouse behind it and shoots at the top. The bullets then form a hole around the gangster in which he falls down; and is finally captured.
The final scene of the cartoon then focuses on the gangster bird behind bars in which he then sings about how he believes he's no longer a toughie.
Gangster bird: I used to be a toughie. But now I'm just a softie. I can take it - BABY and HOW - 'Cos I'm just a jailbird now.
Now that is a good lineup here that shows how arrogant he was at the beginning but at the end it's revealed as shame.