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The Mascot (1934)
"Fétiche" (original title)

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A toy stuffed dog has just been sewn together when it hears a young child ask for an orange. The child's mother explains that they have no money, and so she cannot buy any oranges. The dog ... See full summary »

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Title: The Mascot (1934)

The Mascot (1934) on IMDb 8/10

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A toy stuffed dog has just been sewn together when it hears a young child ask for an orange. The child's mother explains that they have no money, and so she cannot buy any oranges. The dog is then packed up along with a box full of other toys to be sold, but it soon winds up in the street. The dog picks up an orange from a curbside stand, and hopes to take it home to the child. But that night, before the dog can get back to the child's home, it must face a series of strange and frightening adventures. Written by Snow Leopard

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Animation | Short

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Release Date:

12 August 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stuffy's Errand of Mercy  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A great work of animation, well worth seeking out.
29 August 2002 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

It seems likely that anyone who takes the trouble to post a comment on this obscure little masterpiece would be fascinated and entranced by it, as I am, and the previous comments bear that out. It is true that some of the human types portrayed by the puppet figures are distinctly European, but I don't think that makes them inaccessible to non-Europeans. It does, however, add an exotic, foreign cachet for a viewer unfamiliar with European culture, which from my American perspective only enhances the viewing experience. Some of this comes from the musical soundtrack, which has a distinctively French style and tone quality, and attaches signature tunes, or "leitmotivs" as the Wagnerians would have it, to certain characters. Some of these melodies are very old tunes that immediately evoke a state of mind, human emotion, or character trait to go with its subject in the film. The romantic serenade that the garlic-headed clown sings to the weeping ballerina is a venerated old French art song called "Plaisir d'amour" by Johann Paul A Martini. Probably the only way that last sentence can make much sense to you is if you've actually seen this film.

For me one of the most interesting characters is a type of French gangster made universally recognizable by the famous "apache" dance, a brutal but nonetheless charismatic hoodlum whose pockets are filled with deadly weapons and burglary tools. He treats everyone, including women, with violent contempt, even double-crossing Satan himself. His appearances are invariably accompanied by a jaunty tune on the saxophone portraying him as a nasty, but inexplicably attractive, thug. The apache image is emphasized when he disdainfully throws his sometimes girlfriend, the delicate and emotionally fragile ballerina, against a wall!

The hapless ballerina is emotionally overwhelmed by everything, and is thus subject to the random cruelties of circumstance and the whims of those around her. Her only proactive gesture is to slap the face of a sex-crazed monkey who makes advances towards her, demonstrating that even she has some standards.

There are so many details and aspects of this film to ponder and appreciate that I find it endlessly fascinating, and never tire of watching it. Consider how laborious it must have been to actually create these scenes in the absence of all the modern imaging techniques available today. Every detail must have been meticulously planned before the first frame of a scene was shot, as stop-action animation is hardly a medium for improvisation. Just conceiving of all these details of characterization through action, character design, set design, lighting, etc. must have been a Herculean effort. I'm grateful that Starevitch and his people took the trouble, for all these years later we have a bona fide masterpiece to enjoy. "The Mascot" is an under-appreciated treasure trove of imagination and artistry.


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