|Index||3 reviews in total|
Let Me Call You Sweetheart3 Not particularly goodespecially if you
are Betty Boop fan. I knew when this cartoon began that I probably
wouldn't like it because it was labeled a 'Screen Song' cartoon. Screen
Songs was a series of shorts by the Fleischer Studio which featured
music with SOME accompanying cartoon storybut the emphasis clearly was
always on the song. As for the songs, they were mostly old fashioned
even when the shorts were made in the very early 1930sthough there
were a few exceptions (such as Cab Calloway singing "Minnie the
"Let Me Call You Sweetheart" begins with introducing Ethel Merman. Then, the cartoon begins. It really isn't an entire cartoonjust a snippet with Officer Bimbo sexually harassing Betty Boop and Betty enjoying it tremendously. In the process, the baby she is taking care of disappears and must fend for itselfwhich it does very well. Then, Merman returns and leads the audience on a sing-a-long (another reason to hate this short) of the title songa very old fashioned and out of date piece even in 1930as it came out in 1910. Overall, you have a dull song and a dull cartoon with little to recommend it. The only noteworthy things are the wonderful Fleischer animation and the apparent endorsement of sexual harassment!
This is one of a long series of shorts made by Paramount, sandwiching
animation by the Fleischer studio between two wodges of live action
featuring a popular musical act. In this case, we have Ethel Merman
singing 'Let Me Call You Sweetheart'. In the first section, she sings
only the well-known chorus. In the last section, she invites the
audience to join in while she sings the verse. Nobody knows the verse
to this song anymore, but perhaps it was better known in 1932.
The animation sequence features Betty Boop as a scantily-clad nursemaid, pushing a pram with a demonstrative baby aboard. Bimbo is the parkie, trying to put the make on Betty and causing her to neglect the baby. In this case, it would have been just fine with me if the pram rolled off a cliff. The Fleischer toons always had a penchant for animism -- inanimate objects sprouting eyes and hands, and developing sentience -- but there's more of that here than usual.
The last section follows the usual formula, with the live entertainer (this time, Merman) singing the chorus while a bouncing ball spotlights the lyrics superimposed on the screen. But this time there's an interesting variation for the second chorus, with the lyrics spelt out in a rebus ... so that "I'M IN LOVE" is an eyeball, a letter M, a tavern sign reading "INN" and a valentine heart. I'm not an Ethel Merman fan, but here her voice is actually more dulcet than I'd ever thought it would be, and she also looks prettier than she would be later. She manages to 'sell' the song proficiently without doing any of the trademark La Merm stuff that her fans like so much and which I loathe. More for that reason than anything else, I'll rate this toon 7 out of 10.
Ethel Merman in her youth looks good and sounds good, not quite as brassy as in her later years. Her song, which she performs as her human self rather than in animation, has only the flimsiest relationship to the cartoon. The cartoon is a pointless and very politically incorrect story in which Betty Boop is won over by what today would be called sexual harassment.
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