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The Tantalizing Fly (1919)

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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 109 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

As a cartoonist draws a clown, a housefly harasses both the man and his pen-and-ink creation.


(as Max Fleicher)


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Title: The Tantalizing Fly (1919)

The Tantalizing Fly (1919) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Uncredited cast:
Max Fleischer ...
Cartoonist (uncredited)


A cartoonist drawing a clown is harassed by a fly. His efforts to swat the insect only spray ink over his drawing, so he borrows a fly-swatter from a co-worker. When the fly comes to rest on the clown, the cartoonist gives the paper a mighty whack, sending the clown head over teakettle, but missing the fly entirely. The clown borrows the pen from the cartoonist and attempts to smack the fly, which only splatters the cartoonist with ink. The clown next decides to draw a picture of a bald man to lure the fly, but once again his mighty thwack only sends the seated man sprawling. Exasperated, the cartoonist picks up the paper, and the ink slides down the page into the inkwell. In the last scene, the fly follows the ink into the bottle and the cartoonist captures the annoying insect at last. Written by David Bassler

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cartoonist | fly | clown | ink | pen | See more »




Release Date:

4 October 1919 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


[first lines]
Cartoonist: You just keep quiet for a second, I'll get him.
See more »


Followed by Poker (1920) See more »

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User Reviews

Almost 90 Years Later, It's Still Very Clever
22 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was a very interesting mix of live-action and animation, showing animator and writer Max Fleischer drawing a cartoon of a clown. The problem is a real-life fly is on the paper Max is using and the fly is a pest to both Max and the clown, both of whom try to get the insect. This is pretty clever material, especially when you consider this silent cartoon is almost 90 years old.

This is a tough cartoon to watch because you want to swat the fly yourself as the bug is in the clown's eyes, mouth, nose, etc. It also gives you the creeps watching this. (The clown isn't happy, either!)

This really gets clever when Max tries to swat the fly, knocks the animated clown temporarily out and then the clown asks for Max's pen with an idea how HE can get eliminate the fly. He winds up squirting his "creator" in the face with ink, and other gags ensue.

All of this - and there are several more "bits" with the clown and the artist - are a credit to the ingenuity of Fleischer. You have to see this cartoon to believe it. It was part of the Popeye The Sailor 1933-1938 DVD Package

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