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This short is on a Betty Boop compilation tape, but it's really part of a series Fleischer did that were called Screen Songs. Singalongs were a very popular feature at the movies in the 1930s and somewhat into the 1940s. The words to a song would come up on the screen and a bouncing ball would move in time with the music and cue the audience. The animation is secondary here to the music, which is too bad, because what animation there is present here is quite good. Betty Boop barely registers here and the short could easily be made without her. If the singer were more memorable, the short would be better, but as it is, it's so-so at best. For Betty Boop completists.
This installment of the Fleischer Brothers Screen Song series stars the voice of Irène Bordoni. Like the other films in the series, you see the singing star herself in a live shot--and then the cartoon follows. However, in a surprising twist, after you see a lot of cartoon silliness, it's Bordoni herself who appears in the night club to sing her tune! Then, as she sings through the song again, the old bouncing ball (very popular with the Fleischers) appears and the audience is expected to sing along with her. I wonder if audiences actually did this back in the day... Following this, the cartoon appears again and once again the words to the song appear. Overall, this is a well-made film that features a brief glimpse of Betty Boop as the emcee. However, it's also incredibly old fashioned and dated--as is the tune. My guess is that this would be very tough going for folks today--especially as there aren't all that many laughs--especially after Bordoni begins her song.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This short combines the usual amusing and slightly surreal animation
one expects in Fleischer's cartoons with a live action sing-a-long
section where Irene Bordoni performs the title song with a bouncing
ball following the lyrics on screen. The animated section was fairly
amusing although Betty only had a small part; first as a cigarette
seller who has to deal with a lecherous customer and then introducing
Irene Bordoni before her song.
I must admit I was a little disappointed with this short; the animated section was funny but the song was just a song; it would have been much better if there had been more animation to go with the song rather than just showing the singer performing; something that has been done to brilliant effect in other Betty Boop shorts... perhaps it would have been more fun watching it in a 1930s cinema with the audience singing along; that is something I'll never know! At least those parts that were animated were good. This isn't a must see by any stretch of the imagination but if you are a Betty Boop completist or are interested in the music of that time it is worth checking out.
This short, Just a Gigolo, is one of Max Fleischer's Screen Songs series which usually had a live action film of a popular singer warbling a song whose title becomes the short's as well with a bouncing ball jumping over the printed words and some animation that may or not be related to the song. French chanteuse Irene Bordoni does the honors here and Betty Boop makes a brief appearance as a cigar/cigarette girl with her in her usual situation of keeping a man from getting "fresh" with her. It's amusing seeing her calling this particular person what he really is, which is "pig"! There's also a sequence near the end as the song nears the climax of a male cat kissing all the female felines before forcing himself on one that plays hard to get but manages to make swoon before...well, watch this short. This was fascinating when I first watched this on AMC and it remains so having just rediscovered this on YouTube.
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