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A SUPERMAN Cartoon
Three evil inventors have developed a fantastic `bullet car' - shaped like a rocket, it can fly and destroy any building by simply crashing through it. After smashing the Metropolis Police Headquarters, the extortionists demand a huge payment, which the mayor refuses to pay. In fury, the bullet car begins the destruction of the city. With intrepid reporter Lois Lane now a prisoner of the villains, can the Man of Steel possibly stop the incredible technology in the hands of THE BULLETEERS?
This was another in the series of excellent cartoons Max Fleischer produced for Paramount Studio. They feature great animation and taut, fast-moving plots. Meant to be shown in movie theaters, they are miles ahead of their Saturday Morning counterparts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although it's routine by the standards of this series, 'The Bulleteers'
is colourful fun and has some excellent design work in the mountain
lair of the villains, their bullet-shaped helmets, and the plane they
use to terrorise Metropolis.
As in 'Billion Dollar Limited' I like that Superman has to physically work to win the day: at one point he suffers a setback when a building collapses on him, and later he struggles to keep a grip on the plane mid-flight. The highlight for me, though, is Superman picking up the crooks with one arm and stuffing Lois under the other before leaping to safety; I love it when he does this in the early comics and it tickled me here too.
Right at the very beginning we see a bullet-shaped aircraft smash right
through the Police Headquarters, demolishing it. The evil masked men on
it demand all the money from the town hall or they'll attack. The mayor
refuses to pay and the police brace themselves for an all out attack.
It begins and they're no match. Good thing Superman is around. And Lois
Lane is held captive (again).
It's sort of amusing to see Lois always being captured and tied up in these cartoons. Still, this is quick, tight, full of action and has the incredible animation that we expect. Fun with incredible sound effects (in the restored DVD version).
I love the Fleischer Superman cartoons. The animation is smooth and
fluid with vivid colors. The distinct art-deco style, vintage science
fiction imagery, and use of noirish shadows gave them a look unlike any
other cartoons. The music and voicework is superb. They're fun,
accessible, enduring animation classics.
The fifth in the series is about a group of costumed criminals known as the Bulleteers. They have a bullet-shaped rocket car and are terrorizing the city, destroying buildings and thumbing their noses at the law. They also have the coolest secret lair on top of a mountain outside of town. The mayor tries to organize the police to stop them but it's no use! As the Bulleteers' rampage continues, Superman shows up. But, as he fails to stop them, we have to ask: are the Bulleteers too much for the Man of Steel?
Another great Fleischer Superman cartoon, although a step below the previous entries in the series. The Bulleteers' rocket car and awesome mountaintop hideout are cool visuals like you expect from this series. I also loved the scenes of the police scrambling to fortify and fight back against the seemingly indestructible rocket car. Those little touches are prime examples of the beauty of the Fleischer cartoons. There's so much going on that's just fun and exciting to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just watched this, the fifth Superman cartoon from Max and Dave Fleischer, on YouTube. In this one, there's a bullet car that crashes into federal buildings. One of the men goes on the radio ordering a ransom or else. Naturally, Lois goes in to investigate and gets herself kidnapped as a result. So, as usual, Clark Kent turns himself into Superman in order to rescue her. The only unusual thing that happened here is that Supes for once seems defeated when a building falls on him. That only lasts a few minutes though so it's business as usual in these series of shorts. So on that note, this wasn't as entertaining as the first four but there's still some interest in seeing how the animators keep things moving with more realistic illustrations as opposed to the more usual cartoony images they're used to. So that's a partial recommendation of The Bulleteers.
In the Fleischer Brothers Superman cartoons, Lois Lane is unusually
stupid. Even compared to the 1950s Lois from TV, this one seems bent on
getting herself killed. And, like in almost all the cartoons, she is
saved and doesn't learn a darn thing!
The cartoon begins with a weird bullet-like car/airplane destroying things and then the leader of some weird criminal gang announcing to Metropolis that they must pay him or he'll destroy the town (you'd THINK he'd pick on some town OTHER than the one in which Superman lives!!). Soon, the Bulleteers appear and begin unleashing terror. Not surprisingly, Superman comes to the rescue AND Lois gets herself nearly killed in the process.
Like the other Superman cartoons of the era, this one is beautifully animated but the story is very, very simple. One reviewers loved how the action never let up--I just thought it lacked depth. Mildly interesting.
Bulleteers, The (1942)
** (out of 4)
A maniac scientist creates a "bullet car", which is pretty much just what it sounds like. Criminals can drive this car, which flies like a bullet, into any building and knock it down. Naturally Lois finds herself trapped by the bad guys and only Superman can save her. I'm new to this series and watching them in the order that they were released and there's no question, even only five shorts in, that they all follow the same plot outline with just a new villain added. The build up is always the same as is the way Lois gets herself involved. With that said, this short was pretty boring from start to reason. One reason is that I was disappointed with the animation, which wasn't anything to write home about. Another reason was the actual story because it just wasn't that good or entertaining. The villain was the biggest problem because it too didn't add any excitement.
ONCE again we must take the old 'Way-back Machine' into our not so
distant past. Our destination would be Chicago, Illinois in January of
1979. The Windy City location is the Film Center of the Art Institute;
for this is where we had our first viewing of one of those Paramount
Pictures' SUPERMAN Cartoons. In this case it just happened to be 'The
PRODUCED by Max Fleischer and directed by his brother Dave Fleischer, it just happened to be a part of a Fleischer Retrospective that was put together by the intelligentsia who made up the School of the Art Institute's Film Program. Other items on the agenda included samplings of OUT OF THE INKWELL with Koko the Clown, BETTY BOOP's on screen evolution and of course some great old B & W Popeye Cartoons. It was a mid-winter's evening well spent!
BUT please let us have a brief interlude here in order to claim the privilege of doing a little EDITORIALIZING. Thank You.
IT really strikes us as being both ironic and laughable that the contents of these Animated Short Subjects had only a short time earlier been regarded by these same forces in Academia as being strictly trash. Now ('79) a few short years later, these same "Cartoons" are proclaimed to be "Art". And I am JTRyan. End of Editorial *
ANYHOW, back to the subject at hand.
TODAY'S subject, THE BULLETEERS (Fleischer Brothers Studios/Paramount Pictures Corporation, 1941), which struck us instantly as being stunning, visually exciting and having a good deal of content beyond that of the expected and requisite Action Scenes.
COLOR work, character design, backgrounds all meticulously rendered to be brought to life by the Fleischer Magic touch. Application of their Rotoscope animation system and the Table Top 3 Dimensional process are in evidence.
ALL of these visual elements are blended in a most harmonious manner and in the proper style as to be living, moving counterparts of Superman on the printed page. The care exercised in layout and design has essentially created animated pages right out of Action Comics. Superman Comics or the Superman Sunday Color Comic Strip! The level of accuracy in style is just that meticulous.
OUTSTANDING musical scores were a hallmark of these Superman Cartoons and this BULLETEERS is certainly no exception. We can thank Fleischer's Musical Director, Sammy Timberg, for a most befitting Superman Opening Theme as well as the moody and exciting incidental music throughout.
AND while we're on the subject of Sound, we must make note of the clear, clean and properly full-volumed dialog recording. The crisp elocution is rendered in truly beautifully rich tones as clear today as they were when released in 1941.
FURTHERMORE the selection of Mr. Bud Collyer and Miss Jane Alexander to give voices to the Superman saga was perhaps the closest choice to perfection. The pair had done the characters on the Mutual Radio Network's SUPERMAN Radio Show and their choice provided a sort of marriage of all three media; Comic Books/Comic Strip (Printed Page), Radio Show (Electronic & Airwaves) and the Cartoon Shorts (Motion Pictures). The sound of Bud Collyer's signing off, for example, sounds fresh and vital today.
ONE caveat is in order. It would be helpful to anyone's viewing of any of the Paramount/Fleischer-Famous Studios Cartoons that you do so be screening not more than one at a time. They just were not designed for multiple running.** If you can, try to see them with other viewers.
IT's probably too much to ask to have a big screen in a real theatre/auditorium setting; as we did it; but don't give up! After all, there must be some of the intellectually elite near you who are about tom see the light and can include some of these in the local Collegiate Film Festivals.
AS for our rating, I say it's a SSSS picture! (That's Four S's for top Superman Episode!) Me buddy, Schultz strongly disagrees. (He says that the Rating should be higher!)
NOTE * We are put in mind to recall a good friend of ours, the Late Mr. Noel Roy, Chicago Out of Print Book Dealer and proprietor of Acme Book Store on Clark Street. Mr. Roy had dubbed certain segments of our elitist Academians as being members of the Stupidgencia rather than Intelligencia.
AND by the way, since we're openly venting pet peeves, in a related field we have a riddle! QUESTION: What is the difference between Obscenity and Art? (DO you Give UP?..................Okay ..Read Below!...........) ANSWER: A Federal Grant!
NOTE ** The only thing that we can think would be a good example would be watching too many 3 Stooges Shorts in a row; when they are ones featuring Joe Besser! That's even worse than any other; but you do catch the meaning, no?
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