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10 August 1940 (USA)  »

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1.37 : 1
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Soundtracks

Chi mi frena in tal momento?
(uncredited)
aka "Sextet"
From "Lucia di Lammermoor"
Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Played briefly when Romeo is behind the fence and when he approaches the window
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Great Tex Avery cartoon... minus Tex Avery
26 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Made a year or two before Avery's arrival at MGM, this Rudolf Ising production boasts some of the same frenetic energy one usually associates with the wartime cartoons to come. Despite not receiving on-screen credit, many key animators working here would get even wilder with Red Hot Riding Hood and Droopy. Also, in terms of animation "polish", this closely matches both PINOCCHIO and FANTASIA in opulence... both MGM and Disney were running neck 'n' neck at this time, prompting the Oscar voters to get confused. (Ising's earlier release, MILKY WAY, would steal Disney's award this year.)

The plot (if you could call it that) involves a pair of crows presenting a vaudeville "hot jazz" rendition of Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet", but constantly being interrupted by fellow avian thespians "putting on a show". One gag involves a spoof of last year's feature hit (Fox, not MGM) STANLEY AND LIVINGSTONE. Like other 'toon "crows", they speak in the Harlem "jive talk" that must have seamed foreign to the mostly "white" animators in Culver City. This makes this subtly stereotyped, but not any more "offensive" than... say... the crows that teach DUMBO and Timothy Mouse about flying in the Disney classic. Seeing Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney put on a "black face" minstrel show certainly raises more eyebrows. (The DVD release of this cartoon comes with a box set of their slightly dated musicals).


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