Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle (1932) Poster

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More Great Music & Insanity
ccthemovieman-13 March 2007
Here's another Betty Boop "musical," this one featuring the Hawaiian music of "The Royal Samoans." You have to give the people responsible for these Boop cartoons - the Fleischer brothers, mainly - credit for giving musicians another forum to show their talents. They weren't biased, either, showing anybody from Louis Armstrong to classical violinist Rubinoff. The music in here is excellent, too, especially some of the guitar work. They always have the characters in sync with the notes, too. Here, we see Betty doing her risqué hula dance and "Bimbo" imitating an island native singing a number, too. You also get some the craziest visuals you'll ever seen. Betty's cartoons for good in that department. You just never know what absolutely crazy thing you'll see next. For instance, the motor of a small boat suddenly turns into dog, or the boat becomes a house that walks away - just insane stuff. Personally, I think it's all fascinating.
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Betty Goes Hawaiian
boblipton29 March 2002
The Betty Boop cartoons -- or "Talkartoons" were always superior musically to the competition but Disney usually was better in terms of animation. The Fleischer Brothers, however, were always ahead technically, both with sound (in 1924) and here, were the dance numbers are clear animated using rotoscope.
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A little offensive, a little risqué but also a lot of fun!
MartinHafer19 August 2013
In some of Betty Boop's early films, the orchestra providing music in the cartoon is shown (usually at the beginning). In this case, The Royal Samoans (a Polynesian style group performing native style songs) is featured. While there was a lot of racism in Hollywood at this time (and a bit later in this film), I was impressed that Fleischer Brothers Studio often featured non-white groups in these cartoons—such as Cab Calloway and The Royal Samoans. The film begins with Bimbo the dog on his tiny boat. He zips about and the film is even more crazily anthropomorphic than usual—and I loved the way his trip was shown on the map. Eventually, he lands on some South Seas island and meets a dark-skinned Betty Boop. They romance* and this little get together is interrupted by savages with bones through their hair. Now I am pretty sure some folks will blanch at the way these people are portrayed—it is certainly NOT politically correct. Bimbo is scared and wants to fit in, so he darkens his face and puts a bone through his hair. The tribesmen love him and make him their leader. To celebrate, Betty dances a nice little tune---TOPLESS! She clearly isn't wearing a top but her boobs are covered with a lei. While this was quite acceptable at the time it was released, this never would have been allowed when the new Production Code was enforced starting in mid-1934—and the Fleischers were forced to make Betty more family-friendly. I thought it was actually pretty innocent and fun. In the end, Bimbo's cover is broken—and there is a crazy chase that made me chuckle. All in all, I liked the music, I liked the cartoon and I recommend you see it—even with its flaws. *When Betty Boop first began, she had long doggy ears. So, having her being romanced by Bimbo the dog wasn't a big deal. But once they made her 100% human, such interactions seemed really creepy. Apparently others also thought so and her romance with Bimbo soon fizzled. Later, Betty got a dog of her own (Pudgy)—one that acted like a dog!
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Polynesian Betty
Tweekums9 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This short opens with a live action sequence of the 'Royal Samoans' Pacific island musicians before the cartoon starts. After the credits we see Bimbo playing his ukulele as his motorboat zooms around the ocean; the land opening for him to pass between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans! Eventually he lands on a Pacific island and meets a girl who looks suspiciously like a Polynesian Betty. The two of them paddle up a river till they are thrown from the boat into a clearing surrounded by Ent-like trees. Soon some savages arrive but thanks to some quick thinking Bimbo dons a disguise and Betty entertains everybody with a hula dance! This was another entertaining short; as usual the animation is highly inventive; I don't know where all the strange ideas came from but they are a lot of fun! It is clear that this cartoon was made before the Hayes Code came into effect as we see Betty dancing wearing nothing but a grass skirt and a lei to protect her modesty. This is certainly a fun short and it is far more inventive than most of today's animation.
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Betty Boop in a grass skirt and doing a hula dance
Robert Reynolds18 July 2002
This is a great cartoon featuring Betty in all her glory. There is a phrase, "Anything can happen in a cartoon" and that describes the early Fleischers in general and the Betty Boop series in particular. These cartoons are animated insanity in some cases and are quite engaging for the viewer, because anything (well, almost anything) is likely to happen and the charm is trying to catch lots of little things. In print and available. Well worth watching. Recommended.
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Risqué Betty Boop
TheLittleSongbird23 November 2016
Fleischer were responsible for some brilliant cartoons, some of them still among my favourites. Their visual style often stunning and some of the most imaginative and ahead of its time in animation.

The character of Betty Boop, one of their most famous and prolific characters, may not be for all tastes and sadly not as popular now, but her sex appeal was quite daring for the time and to me there is an adorable sensual charm about her. The charm, sensuality and adorability factors can be seen throughout 'Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle', as is a daring risqué factor when she dances the hula that makes one literally marvel at what the cartoon is getting away with. She is a joy to watch, as is an amusing Bimbo, though there is a scene where he paints his face and puts a bone in his hair that may seem tasteless to some.

Furthermore, the black and white animation is very good, smooth, meticulously detailed and well drawn with the black and white not looking too primitive. A lot of it is actually very imaginative. Even better is the music, which is rousing, catchy and unquestionably accessible to anybody who loves or is familiar with the compositional style.

'Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle' has a lot of charm and fun, with nothing dull about it. It is very strange, but in a richly inventive and quite wonderful way.

Not much to quibble about here. It is thin on plot and that aforementioned scene with Bimbo is very likely to touch some sensitive nerves.

Otherwise, a fun Betty Boop cartoon with the animation and music being particularly good. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Romance on the island
filmreviews@web.de29 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle" is an 8-minute black-and-white cartoon from 1932 and like all the other Fleischer Studios cartoons starring the title character, this one has sound. It could also be name after Bimbo though as he has at least as much screen-time and story impact than Betty here. This is a good watch for everybody who loves Betty and Bimbo as a couple as their romance becomes much more explicit than it usually does between the two. but this is also the only memorable aspect here. the music is so-so. The supporting characters are not interesting at all and the story offers little to care for really. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the cuteness factor is not enough to make up for all the mediocrity in other areas. But I can still see why it is among Betty's more known works, even if I give it a thumbs-down.
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