5.6/10
154
13 user

Clean Pastures (1937)

Approved | | Family, Animation, Short | 22 May 1937 (USA)
The Lord sees that the stock value of "Pair-o-dice" is dropping on the exchange so he dispatches a slow-witted and slow-talking angel to sinful Harlem to recruit new customers. When this ... See full summary »

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(as I. Freleng)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
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Al Jolson / The Devil (voice) (uncredited)
The Four Blackbirds ...
Vocal Group (voice) (uncredited)
Danny Webb ...
Various (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

The Lord sees that the stock value of "Pair-o-dice" is dropping on the exchange so he dispatches a slow-witted and slow-talking angel to sinful Harlem to recruit new customers. When this fails, God finds success sending a group of musical angels with a little more swing in their style, so much so that even the Devil wants to join up! Written by P. Silvestro

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Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

22 May 1937 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The slow angel is a caricature of Stepin Fetchit and the musical angels are based on Cab Calloway as the band leader, Fats Waller on piano, and Louis Armstrong on trumpet. The tap-dancing Harlemite is Bill Robinson and the guy singing "I Love to Singa" is an African-American version of Al Jolson. The vocal group parody The Mills Brothers See more »

Connections

Followed by Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Half of Me (Wants to Be Good)
Music by Peter De Rose
Lyrics by Sam Lewis
Sung by Chorus
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Jazzy Look At Heaven And Hell
11 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

One of the Censored Eleven cartoons that has been out of circulation due to racial stereotypes. A few titles still have some artistic value, chiefly the jazz flavored ones.

This short has an interesting censorship history. Before it was originally released in 1937, Joseph Breen, the head of the Hollywood Censor Board, objected to the short's irreverent depiction of religion. One of the guidelines for Hollywood producers was not to portray religion in a disrespectful way. Some historians have suggested that race may have been a factor in this controversy. Nonetheless this short was approved for distribution with some minor changes. Some of the animators for this short later corroborated this account. It is possible that Freleng made this for an African American audience. Phil Monroe later recalled "the only place they'd play that film was down in the Negro section"

The problematic parts of this short are the then common stereotypes of African Americans, such as dice and watermelon references. Those felt too arbitrary. The caricature of Stepin Fetchit is cringe worthy to watch, although in this short he represents an old fashioned way of getting people to repent that doesn't work anymore. The redeeming part is Cab Calloway's swinging rendition of Swing For Sale, which also features Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. I've wondered who performs their voices, because the impressions are very spot on.

This is a short with a lot to enjoy, but its no surprise that the cliché stereotypes have kept it out of official circulation.


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