|Index||2 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Among Walt Disney's earliest films were his Alice cartoons. These were
cute little comedies which featured Alice (Virginia Davis) making trips
into the cartoon world. For the 1920s, it was pretty spectacular seeing
live characters interacting with cartoons like they did in these films,
though I have no idea why the current ratings for these films on IMDb
are so low--they are full of charm and hold up well today despite being
silent and in black & white.
"Alice's Spooky Adventure" looks a bit like an Our Gang short when it begins, as Alice is out playing with a bunch of boys who look a lot like Joe Cobb, Farina and the rest. When a baseball is hit and crashes through the window of a supposedly haunted house, none of the boys are willing to retrieve it, so brave Alice does this. Inside the house, she accidentally gets conked on head and enters the cartoon world where she meets some adorable ghosts. Later, in a VERY dark sort of ending, a cop catches her breaking in to the house and and final scene was a total shock--you just have to see it for yourself!! Overall, yet another cleverly made and very entertaining Alice film.
I hadn't seen much of the Alice shorts but decided to check some out on
YouTube. This was the first one, with the premise that Alice, hanging
out with a second-rung Little Rascals group, sees that one of the boys
throws a baseball through a window to a spooky house. None of them want
to go in, so Alice volunteers. She goes inside, falls asleep (or does
she's hit on her head, it's one of those), and then is witness once
again to the world of cartoon creatures. She helps one of them, a cat,
and then has to fight off some of the ghosts who chase the cat and then
her. And it ends with her... getting arrested somehow (!) How cruel!
This is crude stuff, and has its charms every now and then - the ghosts at one point play, no kidding, Mah-Jong at a table - but the animation is repetitive (you can tell the ghosts and certain cat movements are done over and over, probably to save on extra animated drawings), and there's an odd racist beat at the start. Or maybe it isn't racist, but... what is one to make today of the fat white kid talking about "Spooks" in the house and then pointing for the little black kid next to him to go in (he shouts "Spooks!" and then runs away).
Is he calling the kid this word? Or is it just about the kid going in there to face off against them? Why not ghosts? It's one of those things, I guess, one should note is of the period, and maybe could be questioned if one is watching it carefully. But it's hard to shake off, and is the kind of thing that makes me not want to watch this too soon - this despite the fact that the pace is good and sharp, the ending is strangely dark, and the drawing of the cat and the ghost caricatures are fun.
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