Saturday, 13 August 2011

8. Ain't Nature Grand? (1931)

Hiya folks - I know that it's been two weeks since I was last available in the blogsphere. I've been away on a cruise in the past week, and at Sayer's Croft before that. There was no internet Wi-Fi, and I had to survive a week. Anyhow, I managed to visit many interesting places around France and Spain. I also got to watch more Looney Tunes cartoons in my DVD player when I recieved the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 1 on DVD from my older sister. While I came back, I saw some feedback on my new blog at the forums and I enjoyed them very much. In the meantime, as a comeback - here is a new short to review, Ain't Nature Grand.

Warner cartoon no. 7.
Release date: March 1931.
Directors: Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising.
Producers: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising and Leon Schlesinger (associate).
Starring: Johnny Murray (Bosko).
Animation: Isadore "Friz" Freleng and Norm Blackburn.
Musical Score by: Frank Marsales.

This cartoon is another type of "singing and dancing short", where the location is at a riverbank, and Bosko fishes while performing his melodies with the frogs, fishes, and other pond creatures. I've sort of categorized the shorts in ways: like there's a "singing and dancing" short, a plot with a story, and  a "climax" short - involving actions and story peaks.

The cartoon starts off with a lake reflection of Bosko and his dog (Bruno - is that his name?) and they are whistling and barking along the riverbank ready to go fishing. As the dog barks, much to the annoyance of Bosko for some reason - asks his dog to "go home". As the dog walks off in shame, Bosko continues to walk along to the river bank.

So, as Bosko arrives at the site where he wants to fish, (hence the fact that the sign says "No Fishing") and Bosko takes no notice of the sign. He pulls out a can of worms out of his pants - in which he's going to use them as bait. As the worm cries and screeches for mercy, and Bosko doesn't pin the worm into the hook as he was about to. Considering him being an animal lover, he lets the little worm go freely and do what the worm wishes.

So, as Bosko decides not to kill the worm by stabbing it with a hook. Instead, he has a double-take idea. He could use the letters "no" as his bait, and pulls them off the sign. He uses the letters so the fish could catch them. In a way, I suppose that the gag does work, maybe the letters on the sign were very loose and produces in a different type of material. Also, what makes the gag funnier is that Bosko could get away with the "no fishing" area - when the sign will now read "fishing".

Also, there is a whole sequence where the worm that Bosko liberated from the can, there appears to be a flying by crow who discovers the worm that is walking off minding his own business. So, there is a chase sequence between the worm and the crow. Although, this isn't really part of the story, but it works with the title Ain't Nature Grand - since (I guess) that it involves nature. The worm goes through these crazy getaways, like crawling away in a loop and making bounces. Worms don't have legs to run, and they have to use their whole body to put in the effort.

So, the worm tries to make a gangway through the wormholes, and the crow manages to grab the end of the worm's tail, and squash and stretch is required here, the worm gets longer, as the crow's beak holds onto the worm's tail. As the worm hides through each hole, his whole body turns into a type of maze, and so, he manages to hold on to a bit of stem, and then the crow gets sucked into the hole (with feathers and hair stripped out).

So, the worm laughs and the crow puts on the remaining feathers back on like as if we put on a jacket. That's one of the many Harman-Ising gags in this era that has been repeated. So the crow walks off, in an attitude like "Alright, you win this time."

Meanwhile, Bosko is still fishing, and he hasn't caught anything yet which is leaving him impatient. As soon, as he feels a fish from his fishing rod, he loosens the hook, and finds a fish. He tries to catch the fish with his bare hands, and the fish and his hands are slippery, and the fish keeps squirting out of his hands. Until he finally grabs the fish firmly, he seems to admire the fish and pets it by stroking the fish like petting a cat, and saying "Ain't he cute?", a typical Harman-Ising quote in that era, as well. The fish, who has a dislike for Bosko (and probably running out of oxygen so the fish can get back to water), the fish spits on Bosko's eye and wobbles away.

Bosko continues to fish and ignore the other fish that spat on his eye. Bosko's eye is caught attention towards a butterfly, and it completely distracts his fishing and he follows the butterfly. It leads him to a small waterfall with bees, and then there is a finale in this short - or is it?

So, Bosko dances with the frogs in a merry way, and I must say that I do enjoy the timing here. The scene of Bosko and the frogs dancing is fairly memorable and the animation of Bosko is quite appealing. I also find the other gags funny like when the mother spider, sits on top of a flower, and her legs grow, and the little spiders grab onto a leg each, and run around like it's May Day.

In the meantime, the finale isn't over yet - there are three beetles and the small beetles use the big beetle as their plane, and the smaller ones are the pilots. They appear to fly, and then they go on a branch of a tree. They prepare a type of nut or stone as their target guns, and plan to aim it at Bosko. Oh, so there is sort of a climax after all, but only at the very end.

So, they managed to hit Bosko on hit with the stone, and then they start to fly down and shoot at Bosko. Bosko is screaming and in panic. The timing and movement of Bosko screaming in pain is not very good and quite clumsy, but the pose I frame-grabbed is good and expressive. So, Bosko sees a nearby fountain, and hides under there as the beetles are looking around for him, then they give up and fly away, and Bosko pops back up, and that's all folks.

There's not really too much to explain in this cartoon except that it's another singing and dancing. We see that in this cartoon that Bosko is an animal lover to other animals, he's not catching fishes to cook them or collect them, he's petting them - well, he didn't realize that fishes don't survive on air. Also, talking of "animal lover" - he didn't seem friendly to his dog and asks his dog to leave. Either because Bosko wanted some peace and quiet instead of barking, or that he wanted to be alone for the day and not have anything ruined by a dog. There isn't really much extreme gags here that I have to brag on about, but more or less - this is a harmless cartoon.

That's as much as I can say in this review, and stay tuned for more as I'm back again.

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