Daffy Duck convinces an unwilling Porky Pig to quit his job with Leon Schlesinger. Why be a cartoon actor, Daffy says, when you can be leading man opposite Bette Davis? Schlesinger lets Porky go, but he is confident Porky will be back. Porky's adventures begin when he tries to get past the guard at the studio gate. He manages it by disguising himself as Oliver Hardy, but he has more trouble ahead. Meanwhile, Daffy tries to convince Schlesinger that he should take over Porky's starring roles. Daffy's scheme backfires when Porky returns to get his old job back. Written by
The film being shot when Porky crashes the sound stage, taken from short subject made several years earlier, is Wonder Bar (1934), more specifically the "Don't Say Goodnight" number. Busby Berkeley and Lloyd Bacon can be briefly glimpsed near the camera boom. See more »
Shadow of a camera can be seen on wall, while Porky Pig beats up Daffy Duck for revenge, off-screen, just after returning to Warner Brothers' animation studio and asks Leon Schlesinger of his contract. See more »
A priceless Hollywood satire from the guys at Termite Terrace
I remember discovering this cartoon on TV when I was a kid, back when black & white Looney Tunes were still routinely shown on weekdays, and even as a youngster I recognized it as something special. In the '80s I managed to get a copy on VHS and practically wore it out with re-plays: it's one of those miraculous little films you can go back to again and again, one that retains its charm and its ability to make you laugh no matter how many times you've seen it. If anything, I enjoy it even more as a grown-up, having come to appreciate the inside jokes about Hollywood, cartoon producer Leon Schlesinger, and the legendary "Termite Terrace" facility, seen here at the height of its glory days.
It's clear from the opening scenes that this is no ordinary cartoon; in fact, it's primarily a live action short filmed on the Warner Brothers lot, featuring actors playing studio personnel. (Amusingly, almost every person we see aside from Schlesinger has had his voice dubbed by Mel Blanc, which is not only a great inside joke but makes the humans come off like cartoon characters themselves.) After the animators have gone to lunch Porky Pig comes to life on his drawing board, just like Max Fleischer's Koko the Clown used to do in the '20s, and so does Daffy Duck, who initially addresses Porky from a portrait on the wall. Daffy urges his colleague to quit cartoons and go for a job in features playing opposite Bette Davis. Pushed by Daffy, Porky quits, and his confrontation with the boss makes for a memorable and oddly poignant scene. Schlesinger, an affable-seeming guy who looks a little uncomfortable playing himself, agrees to release him from his contract. After Porky's gone, however, the producer turns to the camera and addresses us with hard-bitten wisdom: "He'll be back!"
Predictably enough, Porky's venture into the real world of studio system film-making is a nightmare. He is belittled and chased by a hostile security guard, sneaks into a sound stage but ruins a take, and when he tries to flee he blunders into a Western set and is pursued by stampeding horses (a great effect, and a comic high point). Daffy, meanwhile, has been trying to hassle a visibly irritated Schlesinger into giving him Porky's former position. Porky returns to Termite Terrace in the nick of time, gets his old job back, and rewards Daffy with a vigorous beating. Thus, order is restored.
As a kid I didn't catch all the references to Errol Flynn, Frank McHugh, or Greta Garbo, although I certainly got the joke when Porky tries to sneak into the studio disguised as Oliver Hardy. Still, viewers don't have to be hardcore film buffs to appreciate the comedy. The animated elements in YOU OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES have a fascinating look, achieved by laying down cell artwork (representing Daffy, Porky, and Porky's car) on still photographs of the office, the studio, and other "real world" locations. This is inter-cut with live action scenes, but on several occasions the 'toon characters interact with the humans, as when Porky shakes hands with Schlesinger, or, later, drives like a maniac through midtown traffic. There's an especially startling bit when the studio guard hoists Porky and his car into the air and flings them off the lot These effects may look rudimentary by today's standards, but they pack more humor and pizazz into each frame than a lot of the technically adept but soulless CGI work produced nowadays.
This is a great piece of work, and if you're a movie buff with a fondness for old time Hollywood it's guaranteed to make you happy.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?