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The Major Lied 'Til Dawn (1938)

We open on a big game hunter telling a little boy (a caricture of child star Freddie Bartholomew) stories about hunting in the jungles of Africa. He tells him a story about a day he was ... See full summary »

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
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Elephant (voice) (uncredited)
Tedd Pierce ...
The Major (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

We open on a big game hunter telling a little boy (a caricture of child star Freddie Bartholomew) stories about hunting in the jungles of Africa. He tells him a story about a day he was hunting there. The game hunter gets help from African natives to catch some animals, with some odd results. Sight gags include a African native with a record player hidden in his huge lower lip, an elephant who can't remember something he was supposed to do, and the game hunter riding a elephant and having to "shift gears" like an automobile to get up a steep hill. Written by Chris Walker

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surrealism | merrie melodies | See All (2) »


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Approved
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13 August 1938 (USA)  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

The elephant who couldn't remember finally does remember what he was going to do, and says, "That's all, folks!" The "Merrie Melodies" and "Produced by Leon Schlesinger" text then appears around him. See more »

Connections

References Popeye the Sailor (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Bei mir Bist du Schön
(uncredited)
Music by Sholom Secunda
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User Reviews

 
Hunting in the African Jungle
13 January 2018 | by See all my reviews

Love animation, it was a big part of my life as a child, particularly Disney, Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, and still love it whether it's film, television or cartoons.

'The Major Lied Til Dawn' may not be one of my favourite cartoons and doesn't see the best of Frank Tashlin, whose style would become more refined and inventive later (like as said in the editing and use of camera). Not that it doesn't have those things, just that his later output when his style became fully settled and established had more of them to stronger effect. There is not much that is wrong in 'The Major Lied Til Dawn', it just didn't quite wow me.

Story is very slight, with not much happening other than a collection of gags. Didn't care for the Native African gag, the character is unappealing design wise and a stereotype that is not the most tastefully depicted (not quite bad enough to be offensive though, and hostility was not intended most definitely) and the gag itself was not particularly funny.

However, the animation is very good. It's colourful in a sumptuous way, meticulous in background detail, crisp, beautifully drawn and fluid in movement. Carl Stalling's music is outstanding. It is as always lushly orchestrated, full of lively energy and characterful in rhythm, not only adding to the action but also enhancing it.

Much of 'The Major Lied Til Dawn' is a series of gags, but what hugely entertaining gags they are. Apart from one, all of them are rarely less than very funny and have suitably sharp timing and visual imagination to go with them. As well as some very colourful characters and ever fine voice acting. Loved the end twist.

Overall, good and worth seeing. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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