|Index||3 reviews in total|
I love musical animated shorts, so I was pretty much guaranteed to love this one. However, I think the animation of the title character, Sally Swing, who is discovered by Betty Boop when she's looking for someone to lead the swing concert at a college, is superb. I've never seen more fluid dance animation anywhere. Highly recommended! 10/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Who voiced Sally Swing? It could not have been Mae Questal, as the voice of the girl is too deep. And the character could not have been a caricature of Bette Grable because she had not become famous yet, although she would do so in two years' time when she starred in the movie DOWN ARGENTINE WAY (1940). I rather suspect that Alice Faye, who was Paramount's reigning musical star, both did the voice and allowed her movements to be rotoscoped for this short. She was one of the most famous women in the world at the time, so her face and appearance would be well-known, and she was working at Paramount, the company who later bought out the Fleisher brothers' studio. Paramount could have lent Alice to the Fleischer studio for the express purpose of making this short, SALLY SWING.
A good deal of the pre-Production Code Betty Boop cartoons are daring
and creative, with content that makes one amazed at what's gotten away
with. While the later Betty Boop cartoons made after the Code was
enforced are still watchable and exceptionally well-made, they are so
toned down that they feel bland.
Fleischer were responsible for some brilliant cartoons, some of them still among my favourites. Their visual style was often stunning and some of the most imaginative and ahead of its time in animation. The character of Betty Boop, one of their most famous and prolific characters, may not be for all tastes and sadly not as popular now, but her sex appeal was quite daring for the time and to me there is an adorable sensual charm about her. Even when toned down she is cute as a button and very charming with good comic timing.
'Sally Swing' is one of her best post-Production Code cartoons. It may be light on plot (not uncommon with Betty Boop) and one does miss the risqué and surreal edge that made the Betty Boop cartoons before the Code so ahead of their time.
The animation is superb, especially in the backgrounds, the character design of Sally Swing and the astonishingly fluid dance movement and choreography (which just mesmerises). Throughout though, 'Sally Swing' is beautifully drawn, crisply shaded and meticulous in detail. The music is infectious, lush and dynamic.
On top of that, 'Sally Swing' is one of the funnier and more creative later Betty Boop cartoons and has a tremendous energy. It doesn't try too hard to be cute and any tameness is nowhere near as strong as in previous and succeeding post-Production Code Betty Boop cartoons. Sally is an immensely likable supporting character, and the voice acting from Margie Hines as Betty and Rose Marie as Sally is very good.
In summary, excellent. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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