Saturday, 21 April 2012
154. Pigs Is Pigs (1937)
Release date: January 30, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Martha Wentworth (Mrs. Hamhock), Berneice Hansell (Children) and Billy Bletcher (Evil Scientist).
Animation: Bob McKimson and Paul Smith.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Piggy is very greedy who just loves to eat; until in his dream he's allowed to eat all he likes turns into a nightmare.
This is a classic Friz Freleng cartoon made during his period and probably his most memorable of the period. This is the second appearance of the Hamhock family and also their last.
A member of the children is Piggy who is walking away from the children and all he is thinking of in his mind is food, and what food he wants to eat and when to have it. He is also isolating himself from the other children which makes him the odd-one out from the group. His mind thinks of roast chicken, sandwiches, pie, etc. just as he is walking down to a bench with all those thought bubbles fading in which is quite a good technique used by Friz Freleng; as he uses great animation techniques for this short, too.
He then grabs out another piece but Mrs. Hamhock grabs it away in time as Piggy bites his fingers by mistake. Mrs. Hamhock cries at what happened to her pies; "My fresh little pies! Look what you have done to them, and I worked so hard all day over a hot stove. Can't you wait until dinner? Don't you ever fill up? My, what an appetite. Always hungry!" Piggy, of course is still hungry as he's thinking of roast turkey in his mind with a thought bubble popping out.
The children are running to the house in that pathetic running cycle while Piggy makes a complete dash to the house even knocking the other piglets out of the way. Even the speed of Piggy dashing into the house was an improvement as though Freleng was inspired by Tashlin. The speed is made much more appropriate with Mrs. Hamhock almost sucked in by the wind as she holds on to herself. Piggy is already the first of the piglets seated at the table as he starts to grab the food with is hands but is stopped by Mrs. Hamhock.
During the grace; Piggy asks the Lord; "And please could we have ice-cream, tonight?" as he is just demanding for more food which is rather disrespectful but typical. I doubt this is Berneice Hansell voicing Piggy here but I don't know. While of all of the other piglets including Mrs. Hamhock are saying grace; Piggy then comes up with a cunning plan to get as much spaghetti as he could which means he'll eat all of it. He starts to tie the spaghetti ends from one plate to the other and to do that in all the other tables.
While all of the other piglets are still mumbling with their prayers; Piggy then sits back on his table ending the grace, "Amen" as though he was praying all along. Piggy grabs out his fork as Mrs. Hamhock tells the piglets to eat; "You now commence". Much to the surprise of the children they find that the entire plates of their spaghetti are being sucked out of their plates and all sucking into Piggy's mouth; even including Mrs. Hamhock's plate. This shows some good personality of Piggy since that he is being very disrespectful to his family and being such a jerk as he's not giving any of the piglets and his mother to eat and being such a greedy piggy.
I like the facial expressions that are shown on Piggy's face as he's rather annoyed from hearing Mrs. Hamhock giving Piggy a right bollocking. Indigestion will get Piggy? Well that seems unlikely in the meantime.
All of the other piglets are in their beds snoozing but the only piglet who is still awake - is none other than Piggy. Piggy isn't giving a break on food as it's still in his mind. He is thinking of all the goodies to eat; with thought bubbles popping up in his mind: ice cream, hot dogs, chicken, sweetcorn, watermelon, cake and pie which probably suggests to us that he wants to have a midnight snack soon...
The scientist then welcomes Piggy inside the scientist's laboratory. The scientist then starts to speak to Piggy; "Hungry my little man? Have some nice pies, cakes (hiccups), ice-cream and pickles". Piggy then walks up to a table filled with food that Piggy loves. The scientist allows Piggy to "help yourself". The scientist then allows Piggy to make himself comfortable to sit on the armchair. As Piggy sits down; the scientist pushes the table away as Piggy is caught on a chair where these leather belts to trap Piggy from moving and to have his mouth opened with a type of machine to hold his snout. The mad scientist then starts to laugh as he shouts; "So it's food you want? We'll give you plenty of that!"
A conveyor belt has a line of tin soups that is poured into a special type of soup-feeder machine with the liquid combining together into purple and Piggy is force fed in this sequence. This sequence which does go on for quite a while is a masterpiece. This is probably Friz Freleng's best so far; as the force-feeding sequence from the Feed-a-Matic is so original and it makes the cartoon very interesting in it's ways as it's also very inspiring.
A hand then starts to place a coin in some type of vending machine that shoots out olives to go straight into Piggy's mouth. The price for the olives is 1 cent; and the hand continues to place the coin inside the vending machine as Piggy just goes for it. The next sequence then focuses on a type of machine with a bellows that blows ice-cream off the cones and straight into Piggy's mouth.
This sequence is so original that it would even be an inspiration to television shows, cartoons, sketches, etc. The most notable uses of the force feeding sequences would be featured nine years later in a Walter Lantz cartoon called 'Apple Andy' directed by Dick Lundy. Andy Panda loves apples but gets force fed apples in the sequence as it's shown here. The sequence was also displayed as rather dark like the 'Pigs Is Pigs' cartoons.
Here is the screen shot that I have provided here.
It was very well spoofed in The Simpsons 'Treehouse of Horror IV' where Homer Simpson goes to hell after eating his forbidden doughnut. I love the fact of how Homer is given the amount of doughnuts in the world by the force-feeding machines; and this was only displayed as comedy while in this cartoon it's rather frightening. Here is a screen-grab that I've provided from my Season 5 DVD.
It's also funny seeing Homer really fat after eating all those doughnuts and is still hungry with the devil-type creature out of his marbles stating; "I don't understand it. James Coco went mad in 15 minutes!"
I love that small gag added here with the hand about to place a bowl full of onions but the sign reads 'Hold the Onions'. Another bit of bread is placed on top making it a complete sandwich which is all for Piggy to eat up. Piggy eats the pieces of bread like a lawn mower mowing the grass. The force feeding sequence is rather dark to me since it shows that Piggy is forced to eat as much as he possibly can or even to do beyond that; since no-one likes to be forced to eat (unless people with big appetites do). Piggy trapped in a chair is rather unsettling but frightening as he is forced to eat as much although the horror of it is appropriately displayed in this cartoon.
Piggy is now given a blueberry pie in which he chomps it off leaving blueberry stains on his face. The rest of the sequence then focuses on montage shots of Piggy continuously eating with a laughing scientist. The montage shots feel inspired from Frank Tashlin's short 'Little Beau Porky' and I just like how it is shown in this sequence. The staging is wonderful as it displays the horror and the continuous eating from Piggy as well as the scientist still laughing at Piggy's unneccessary sacrifice.
Piggy has already gained a lot of weight as his stomach appears to look very tight while wearing the leather belt. The mad scientist then starts to prod Piggy's belly while still sitting on the chair sarcastically asking him:
Scientist: Had enough, my boy?
Piggy: Yes, sir.
Scientist: Why, you're not half-full.
Piggy then starts to wobble out of the seat as he is completely over-weight from over-eating. While he is walking out of the laboratory, he starts to pick up a chicken drumstick and as he is just takes a bite from it; he explodes. I love how that is presented here since he was eating too much and his stomach got to the point of no longer eating; but Piggy doesn't think about his stomach and as he takes a bite; his belly just explodes.
Piggy then starts to wake up under the duvets squirming from the nightmare he had. He is still alright of course. Piggy then starts to look around the room and only to find out that he is still at home.
Mrs. Hamhock then starts to call from downstairs; "Wake up, sonny. It's time for breakfast." Piggy then starts to jump out of his bed and dashes to the breakfast table. Piggy then starts to eat up his porridge very quickly. Now that is a funny ending considering we all thought that Piggy was going to be a different person at the end but the fact is that he's still the same. It goes to show that Friz Freleng used some good ideas (or even probably a story man) to think that he'll change at the end but doesn't even do so - it just makes him want to eat again