Wednesday, 3 April 2013

261. Naughty Neighbors (1939)

starring PORKY
Warner cartoon no. 260.
Release date: October 7, 1939.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Bob Clampett.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig/McCoy Duck), Shirley Reed (Petunia Pig), Danny Webb (Duck).
Story: Warren Foster.
Animation: Izzy Ellis.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: The Martins (Petunia) and the McCoys (Porky) make an end to the feud. Whilst they're away romantically--the feud breaks again.

Last cartoon to star Petunia Pig; who would then become a more popular character in comics.

The cartoon then starts off with a title card prologue which explains about how the sate of Kaintucky (Kentucky) is a state that lives in peace and harmony; unlike the outside world. I guess its pronounced 'Kaintucky' for Southern dialect.

In the following shot afterwards it turns out that in the state of Kentucky is the boundary line of the infamous rivals: The Martins and the McCoys. It turns out there is a war going on between the two feuding families.

But are portrayed as farm animals. In the following newspaper: the headlines screams: 'FEUD ENDS'. Petunia and Porky are seen in separate photographs facing opposite each other. Petunia is identified as a Martin, and Porky as (the REAL McCoy). The music cue in the background is When I Yoo Hoo. Notice a newspaper column in the background reading Titanic Hits Iceberg.

During the slow camera pan through the rural area of where the Martins and the McCoys reside; we find that both families are seen peaceful and contented. After the long and boring pan, we find Porky and Petunia standing separately from the boundary line. Petunia is seen pleased: 'Gee Porky, I'm so glad we patched up our quarrel. Aren't you?'.

Porky then attempts to make real efforts with his stuttering problem as he stutters: 'Now we've buried the hat-hat--tommyhawk. We can now be sweeth--sweet--frie--we can say "hello"'.

Standing face-to-face through the borders are two old-timer ducks. The McCoy duck remarks: 'Well, sonny, who'd have thought after all our feudin' and shootin' that you Martins and us McCoys would be friends'. The old duck is immediately angered of the idea, and his face then points straight towards the Martin duck; 'IT WILL NEVER WORK!'. He spits tobacco and continues glaring at each other. Porky looks at the ducks, feeling rather let down. He turns firm to them: 'Now you Martin and McCoy get together and be good boys'. They look at each other, and only shake each other's hands with hesitation.

Porky and Petunia then break into song: Would You Like to Take a Walk - though done in substitute lyrics of course. Porky starts off with the singing about how they are so glad to be friends. Believe it or else, this is probably the most annoying and awful song sequence Clampett has ever created. The lyrics are incredibly lame, such a bland tune and Petunia's singing is so cringeworthy.

As they continue to walk through the countryside, feeling extremely happy...they walks together holding hands. They walk the old-timer ducks then fly 'peas, porridge, hot'.

Watching them both embrace each other--this doesn't even feel like an influence of a cutesy cartoon...it feels like a parody of a cutesy cartoon. They then continue to point out to the cows they would be a part of friendship with the last cow asking surprised, 'Who me??'. Ugh, the rear shot of Porky and Petunia wiggling their backsides and walking out of the scene--combined with their horrible song--what else could be worse? Thank god, for the iris out. Gee, I wouldn't mind if this appeared in an animated film by (say), Hal Sutherland, but Bob Clampett??? Could he really be that low in terms of standards. Even for the time it was made it feels substandard.

In the next sequence - we find two pairs of ducks (both Martin and McCoy) who are seen dancing peacefully like friends. However, one of the ducks then quickly slams and bangs the other in a fiendish way before they continue to dance. The comic timing, I'll admit, is amusing as it shows the enemies still can't resist the hatred.

The next scene features the same old timer ducks playing 'peas, porridge, hot' with their hands. However, at random times they whack each other with mallets and clubs. Okay, at least Clampett is showing a little bit of his own distinctive style with comic timing and wackiness.

After all the random attacks on each other, the two ducks realise that they can't resist after all...and so they pull out shotguns to begin firing at each other. The feud has revived. Meanwhile there is a duck at the spot who watches the firing of the bullets, and then jumps up a fence to blow into the cow's horn to play of what would sound like the start of a war. And to all the fanboys reading this, no, this is NOT Daffy Duck or even a cameo appearance--since I have no clue where this idea originated?

The mother duck then starts to prepare her eggs to war; and the eggs get ready to crack in rhythm of the drum beating and then they end up marching out; which was from a gag reuse in What Price Porky. During the battle sequence, we find the farm animas at war: a dog using a machine gun already gets a bad reaction form his hands.


Meanwhile there is a mother cat who is struggling to feed her kits by carrying a carton of milk with her. She has an idea by raising the carton by her hand: bullets strike through and her kittens are able to drink milk much easier. Note the one bathing.

Meanwhile; Petunia and Porky are having a wonderful time out in the country away from the animals, they hear the sounds of gun fighting. Porky and Petunia look out and he stutters: 'Gosh they fue-fue-fightin' again!'.

Porky then dashes through the scene where he tries to be a hero by running through dangerous bombs (as well as ducking under his own straps to avoid being hit). Porky rushes inside a cabin, where he grabs out a 'Feud Pacifier' which turns out to be a hand grenade. He runs out with it and tosses it outside. After he tosses the grenade away: the ducks and animals are seen friends again...but that really soppy music cue and annoying singing? Seriously? The cartoon finishes when Porky and Petunia are happy as can be. Petunia covers Porky's face by giving him a face...and the duck pops out pointing that them "...something that will come from THAAT!" -- ahh, another of only of the only few Clampett subtle gags featured in this cartoon.

Overall comments: If you want an example of a Bob Clampett cartoon which really has no charming gags or even a part of Clampett's wonderful charms (comic timing, jokes) this cartoon is your example. Well, I'd probably spare the final gag of the cartoon as it probably was the only part which resembled Clampett's traits. Of course, the feuding families: The Hatfied-McCoy feud appeared to have been largely well-known of the era, being that it has been quite a regular idea for animated cartoons...but of all of the ones there are: this is definitely one of the weakest developments of the family feuds in this cartoon. The fact that Porky and Petunia are heads of the feud and settled in agreement feels largely out of character, considering how we associate Petunia as a girlfriend to Porky, and yet before the cartoon starts: they were enemies??

A lot of Porky Pig in this cartoon is certainly out of character, particularly when he sings that honest-to-god horrible song, and of course, doesn't have much to contribute to the cartoon. Clampett has made him a much more weaker character, and we already know he's bored with Porky, and literally is on 'auto-pilot' throughout his 1939-1941 Porky Pig entries. The cartoon also runs at quite a short amount of time: 6 minutes and 19 seconds in the version I have viewed. Yet again, as much as there is no good solid climax, it's still probably better off really short. Warren Foster's writing is also at a low standard then he usually is, though I suppose his writing career is too early to have it criticised. Personally, I feel his breakthrough was in 1942 when Clampett finally got to direct colour cartoons.

2 comments:

  1. In terms of cloying, cutesy sweetness, this is probably the most Disneyesqe cartoon Clampett ever made. Which is not a compliment.

    At least when Jones mimicked Walt's shorts, he tried to do it right. Bob's doing it here because he's run out of ideas for both Porky and really run out of ways to use Petunia (who's not even a comedy device here, as she was in all the previous Tashlin/Clampett efforts.

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  2. I have to say this is my least favorite bob Clampett cartoon I have seen.

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