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Alice Chops the Suey (1925)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Alice and Julius find themselves in Chinatown when a bad man kidnaps Alice and throws her into a bad. Julius must follow them and try to get his friend back before it's too late. ALICE CHOPS THE SUEY is best remembered because its opening sequence borrows what people saw in OUT OF THE INKWELL where a human hand is drawing the cartoon where it comes to life. It seems a lot of people really bash Walt Disney for this early sequence but I thought it was the highlight of the film. It was quite funny seeing a partially drawn Julius trying to get his other body parts so that he could move around. This leads to another good sequence where his skin is stolen and used for the bag to throw Alice in. The rest of the film is rather bland as the chase isn't all that exciting and there aren't enough laughs to keep it interesting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the Alice comedies from the Walt Disney studio. There
will be spoilers ahead:
The Alice comedies were generally decent cartoon/live action combinations worth watching. They did have the occasional misfire. This one, sadly, is one of those misfires.
For one thing, it starts out like a Fleischer studio "Out of the Inkwell" short without the charm. When the best scene in the cartoon is right at the beginning and it's a cartoon cat arguing with the cartoonist for a tail, you're in for a long seven minutes or so.
Alice comes out of the inkwell more or less an animated blob of ink, to shake off the ink and become a live action girl. The live action element vanishes rather quickly when Alice is abducted by a Chinese-looking rat and stuffed in a "sack" made of the cat's fur.
The cat gives chase, tracks down the rat's hiding place, a number of fairly standard visual gags happen, the cat retrieves Alice and runs off. A pack of Chinese rats give chase, some more visual gags come and go until Alice and the cat regain the inkwell, jump in and are rescued by the cartoonist retrieving the bottle. That's it for this one.
This is worth watching once.
As a rule I like all of the Alice Comedies, but some more than others. I rate my Alice Comedies accordingly, and many aspects are taken into consideration. "Alice Chops the Suey" is a non-plotter. It begins by ripping off the usual "Out of the Inkwell" opening by having a human hand pull out Julius and Alice out of an inkwell (duh). The duo is then harassed for no apparent reason by a giant Mandarin Rat and his gang. To save on compositing Alice into the cartoon, the movie has Julius the cat hide Alice in a black bag which he carries for the remainder of the cartoon, most of which is spent outsmarting the Fu-Manchu-like hordes of rats. A definite low point in the series.
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