Saturday, 22 December 2012
230. It's an Ill-Wind (1939)
Warner cartoon no. 229.
Release date: January 28, 1939.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig / Dizzy Duck).
Story: Melvin Millar.
Animation: Herman Cohen.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky and his pal Dizzy Duck go fishing. While it rains, they enter a abandoned building which they believe is haunted.
The cartoon starts off with a long-shot as we discover a dog running up the harbour and so is Porky Pig and his 'friend' Dizzy Duck as they are going to go fishing today. The dog follows behind Porky as he gets a fright and shouts, "Go on home - you're a pest. Go on! Beat it. Scram!" Now that type of scene was what reminds me of the Bosko cartoons where a dog follows and he orders the dog to leave. As the dog leaves rather sadly from Porky and enters an abandoned building. The dog then starts to sniff at the scene looking for food; and takes something out of the bin which is a rotten (and already eaten) trout.
Oh god, it turns out that the cartoon couldn't get any worse or annoying as Hardaway has already included an annoying duck who appears to constantly talk at 24/7 asking an abundance of questions - and somehow that is funny? Tex Avery; you've made a big mistake for creating a character like that in I Wanna Be a Sailor. Porky is already irritated and asks for Dizzy to hush. Wait a minute; even if characters like Porky who would find it annoying then why add it for a gag - its just going to make it annoying for the audience. It gets even worse when Dizzy acts incredibly annoying by shouting, "Bet, you can't do this" and ends up playing the trumpet with his beak and irritates him.
After he asks for the dog to leaves, he starts to get back to his fishing. Just at that moment - a terrible storm then breaks out as lightning strikes. Porky notices the storm about to break and it would stop his fishing activity.
He then gets up, "Come on - there's a terrible storm coming!" Dizzy Duck then responds back, and appears to be quoting almost the exact same lines that we have heard from I Wanna Be a Sailor - and here is Hardaway's contributions for you. Porky drags Dizzy's hands and they rush out of the harbour - and the weird part is that it appears to be quite a run for them; and the abandoned building was standing JUST a few feet near them?
The door then suddenly closes on itself and the room darkens. Porky and Dizzy both get a fright - certainly creates a mystery there. The scene then goes into a blackout and we only find Porky and Dizzy's eyes that glow.
He then strikes a match and lights the candle to look around the area. Porky holds onto Dizzy's hands and then makes his away towards the hallway until they hear a knocking on the door. It turns out the knocking from the door was from the dog who was scratching with his foot banging on the door - mmm, who on earth would come up with THAT idea? Porky then hushes Dizzy as he remarks; "This place may be haunted" and then Dizzy Duck blurts back with a question not even realising to be quiet; 'What does haunted mean, Porky'. Porky grabs him by the bill to quieten him, and Dizzy shouts back in a louder tone, and yet this is meant to be funny? Porky opens the door rather carefully but then a flock of bats fly out with a bat flying in perspective which is a cool effect.
After he runs back - he then steps back to check if the coast is clear. After stepping back - it turns out that he has caught himself in a fishing rod. The fishing rod then drops as Porky gets a fright - okay, it makes more sense than stepping on a cloak.
After the fright - Dizzy then arrives at the spot and hurts, 'Oh boy, a fish' and he starts to unwind the reel believing its a fish - but why would he be so ignorant to have caught one - not knowing they live underwater. So there is a sequence where Porky is stuck on the hook and then Dizzy tries to unwind to catch him.
Porky struggles to break out as he is being dragged along. The gag isn't very funny; as it feels its presented rather serious but the animation certainly has some weight in it. So; as Dizzy continues to unwind - a part of Porky's suit then gets torn and the hook flies out - but the timing of it flying out is incredibly slow. As the hook files back, the hook then starts to end up being caught by a bear rug and it ends up being dragged along through a wheelie chair. As Dizzy unwinds; he scrams and then the bear rug approaches and from his viewpoint it looks like a bear. That certainly is pretty clever there - but that bear looks, perhaps a bit too real.
Anyway, as the bear rug enters - Dizzy makes a take and dashes out - and followed by Porky who runs away from the bear rug. It just feels absolutely pointless where the bear rug just keeps on moving in that wheelie chair as it would obviously stop moving since the floor is at no level of causing it to wheel.
As Porky is about to dash out - he then makes a take as he almost falls in as he reaches the end of the mysterious building. The bear rug approaches and falls. There is no explanation as to how the bear rug in the wheelie chair even escaped!!! Porky is already hanging onto a pole as he has nearly fallen over.
The dog ends up crashing into a treasure chest where an underwater helmet falls on top of his head. The dog then struggles to take the helmet off his own head as he shakes it a few times, and even attempts to unwind it.
The effect it causes for him is his body ends up twisting around. The gag would've worked better if his neck would end up with tangles and at least having it shown because it would make the comic timing even better.
The dog then ends up having his own tail caught in a mousetrap as he yelps and also jumps high in the air. I swear that there are just a bunch of objects added in the building in order to try and make funny gags.
The dog ends up trapped in chains and runs out of the scene. Dizzy arrives at the spot looking around and then spots the dog escaping and from that image - its a rather scary appearance. He jumps out of his spirit into a barrel, and then grabs his spirit into the barrel. That is certainly funny, I would have to admit and probably the only funny part of that cartoon. In fact, as the dog jumps into that barrel and we have a whole sequence of just Dizzy and the dog staring at each other is probably the only funny scene of the whole cartoon as the comic timing is very funny and Stalling's music cliches to go along with it. They both end up in the same barrel as they have a scared and wild take before the barrel breaks and they scram.
During the rain he has the umbrella up and it saves him from soaking wet in the rain. While at the top he shouts out, "Hey, uncle Porky help me down here!" the thunder then strikes and Dizzy ends up falling down and lands on the chimney, through the fireplace, balances on the logs, and then hits a portrait. He finds his own head caught on the portrait as he is not amused.
Afterwards - Porky opens up a door to the floor as he is trying to suspect of who is in the house. As he does so - a turtle walks past the scene with a candle attached to his shell. This burns Porky a little as he gets a fright and ends up falling down with more mysterious misunderstandings under place. He is caught under the house as he is struggling to get up and pulls for Dizzy. The rope isn't attached so it almost falls down with him.
Dizzy Duck hears the sounds for help as he runs down the stairs and notices the rope. He grabs the rope and starts to pull rather firmly so he can rescue Porky. As Dizzy manages to save him so far by holding onto the rope - he walks past and accidentally slips on margin oil. The oil makes it slippery and he then lets go of the rope losing his balance and Porky falls back down and the door is closed.
It turns out to be the dog with the underwater helmet still on his head and the chains are stuck at the banister of the stairs. I don't see how this is amusing. The dog has a helmet and chains caught around him. Geez, that dog could suffocate or get strangled by the chains.
Porky and Dizzy then make their escape but the dog ends up falling down the stairs and all three of them crash together at the same time. Afterwards they are tossed outside of the harbour as the storm has evidently cleared up and their adventure is over.
As all three of them are outside, Dizzy then remarks, "Boy, did he scare you? There wasn't anyone in there, was there?" The dog then realises on that statement and then makes a quick comeback inside the mysterious house and he dashes through these fast-pacing shots where he is just dust striving through.
He approaches the turtle and decides to make his comeback towards him. He runs back and finds the turtle stuck inside his shell. He knocks on the turtle's shell as the turtle's head pokes out to find an answer. The dog then punches the turtle, and what is the point in going back in there for more trouble? He blows out the candle as the cartoon ends.
With that aside, I have already mentioned that I find the only highlight of the cartoon to be that brief barrel sequence where they just pop out of each other's heads before they appear in the same barrel - the only scene where I think Dalton (or Hardaway) have got their comic timing right. I think as these two directors; they weren't very capable of even making funny Porky characters, as he was just the straight man of the period. I still wonder why those two had to pair; was it because they were both very incapable that they both had to pair up in order to try and turn out better results for the cartoons? I guess it would aim for Dalton as Hardaway had already directed cartoons alone. Also, it even appears that in 1939 that there were quite a lot of Porky cartoons with titles that bear his name that have 'starring Porky' as well as many cartoons with Porky that have single titles. I suppose his popularity must have been rising that they wanted the audience to know that Porky was definitely going to be in the cartoon perhaps.