Sunday, 15 April 2012
152. He Was Her Man (1937)
Release date: January 2, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Animation: Paul Smith and Cal Dalton.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A poor mouse girl lives a difficult life during the Depression but it becomes even more hard for her as her husband leaves her.
The first cartoon of 1937; as this year it's about 36 cartoons that were released; and after that from 1938-1941 there are 40 cartoons or more. At least this year (1937) we get to hear Mel Blanc the first time, watch Bob Clampett direct the first time, and see Daffy Duck the first time.
A blizzard then blows as she feels the strong breeze as she looks terrible in her conditions. The next scene we see a thermometer and it just doesn't make sense to me since it shows it was at 50 degrees (probably Fahrenheit) and yet it just drops to zero. My, if it was 0 degrees then there wouldn't be a blizzard; and even AT 50 degrees where would be NO snow. Show some realism here. The thermometer then drops completely down as it shows it's so freezing that it can't be recorded. I'd imagine that Ace Gamer did the effects of the blizzard and the thermometer, too. This short was made in the Great Depression as it probably shows dark times for some people.
After the rascal leaves; the next man to pop up is such a gentleman as he asks; "I'll have one, girly" and gives her 5 cents which is the price of an apple. The girl mouse replies; "Thank you". She places the coin through her shirt as it lands all the way down to her shoe. Her job shift is complete as she starts to pick up the basket still loaded with apples and then she walks home.
She continues to sprint down merrily as she walks back home to her apartment as she can't wait to see her husband again who is also facing some dark times, too.
The girl mouse has so many stairs to climb up to as though she lives on the top floor or something. More humor is poured in here with a pig also stepping out of the bathroom but runs in giggling in the presence of ladies. It feels that though Freleng here was inspired by Tex Avery with the giggles used here and the fact that you didn't expect to see that happen and we would've just thought she'd be walking up the stairs the entire time which would just be b-o-r-i-n-g. As she is still walking up the stairs to the fifth floor; another pig is just repeating what happened in the lower floors; and it gets to the point of me thinking; 'Why are they all coming out of the shower at similar times' and at the exact same time when she is walking up the stairs. It was funny the first time watching the first pig step out but not 3 times! I do like the camera angles shown here of her walking up as the camera zooms in to which floor; and it feels like a really long background of her walking up.
The poor girl mouse enters the door as she greets; "Yoo hoo. Hello, Johnny". Well; now THAT's been mentioned; the husband is called Johnny. She also walks up to Johnny still busy tossing cards as she remarks about what she's done at work, "Good evening, Johnny." Johnny is clearly uninterested in the conversation as he just brings his hand out shouting, "Well hand in the dough". The girl mouse then presses a button on her shoe as the gag is that the sole of her shoe is like a cash register. She grabs out four coins (5 cents each) as she replies "I did pretty good today" as it suggests that she often fails. Johnny then counts up the money as he knows she's hiding up something and raises his hand saying; "Come on, come on; hand in the dough!" She shakes her head claiming to not know where it is but Johnny then opens her mouth which is a golden coin (probably worth a dollar). She is rather afraid of him as he asks; 'H'about some dinner?"
The poor girl mouse is seen in the kitchen as she is cooking dinner and appears to be singing gayly to 'I'd Love to Take Orders from You'. I like that brief gag of an egg yolk that is sizzling but also the bubbles are burping out of the yolk. She then makes a scream as to see something is wrong with the yolk but then calls for Johnny, "Oh Johnny; you're dinner's ready". She goes around looking for Johnny but doesn't find him in his chair but instead she finds a note that is pinned on the chair. The note reads: I'm thru [through] with you. So long! Johnny. This is certainly bad news for the poor girl mouse as her husband has left him just to go for the woman outside who is beautiful and would have a lot of money; while the poor girl mouse is rather plain with looks/personality and very poor in terms of wealth.
She then starts to get to the point of fainting as he has left her. But first he wants to find a comfortable place to faint. She walks backwards as she faints but her head lands on a pillow lying on the floor as she is showing nothing but despair as she has nobody to be with her. Poor little soul. I imagine that Tex Avery would use the gag of the poor girl mouse lying on the pillow finding a place to get cozy would be used later in his MGM cartoon; Who Killed Who?
Inside the saloon there is an off-screen singer that is singing a sad torch song. There are a group of people inside the saloon as they crowd around the table with a sign that reads; "Free Lunch" and gobbling on the food. During that PAN across the saloon we turn to the stage as the torch song singer is the poor girl mouse who we saw since the beginning of the short. Is it me or is the singing meant to be based off Helen Morgan? She is singing the title song on stage; He Was Her Man. Out of nowhere; Johnny walks through the saloon doors as he greets everyone inside the bar as he's already lined himself up with a good-looking mouse lady in a red dress. The girl mouse then finishes the rest of the sad song she was singing until...
...she makes a glimpse of the audience and is amazed to see that she has found Johnny and of course what happens? We'd hear her shout out "JOHNNY!". She shouts out his name over again to try and grab his attention as she runs up to him with hope that she will win back his heart. But most of that is clearly unlikely to happen since she is so plain that it would never happen.
Johnny then turns around to find that the poor girl mouse is already trying to embrace him but it fails on her. Johnny then tries to get her to scram, "Beat it! I'm through with you" he comments disgustedly. She still won't give up as she is attached to his jacket begging for him to return, "Johnny, Johnny. Come home with me! Please, Johnny!" Johnny, clearly uninterested in her anymore then slaps her hands off him as he shouts "Scram!"
I like how the poor girl mouse whacks him on the bowler hat and it sinks so down to his body that only his shoes are sticking.out. Now that is a very original gag that Freleng showed here that even Avery hasn't used before - and I believe that would inspire him later to use it in his cartoon 'Little Red Walking Hood'. Johnny then picks himself up as he continues to whack the poor lady as she seems to tilt sideways. Carl Stalling has used great ideas for the fighting sequence here as it's definitely his music played here. While Johnny is still beating her; the poor mouse then starts to walk away with Johnny following; I'm surprised that he'd take her seriously. I wonder if that was Ted Pierce ideas added in since he tend to like to use violence for the sake of it.
Johnny misses the gunshots and shouts "Hey, be careful. You'll hurt someone". A gunshot then fires at his bowler hat and then gets shot in the stomach. He grabs at his chest trying to clench it as he is weakening; "Ah; you got me! You got me!" until he continues to wander around until collapsing to the ground. The poor girl mouse realizes what she has done as she runs up to Johnny shouting; "Oh Johnny, Johnny! Speak to me! Say something. Say something!" He wakes up with his heart back to her as he shouts; 'Aw you just grazed me'. The poor girl mouse then whacks him on the head with a bottle as it's funny since she's not 'over' with his actions.
He goes around shouting and asking for apples; "Apples, mister? Nice red apples!" Johnny then notices the lady he once had walking down the street in a lovely red dress."Hiya babe, nice apple today?" The girl mouse then starts to whack him on the head with a bottle for him to back with his duties and also to lower his standards with the other ladies; which I think was a funny act for the poor girl mouse to have done.