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A Walt Disney Cartoon.
FIGARO AND CLEO spend a lively day - with the one trying to devour the other.
Two of the minor (but cute) stars of PINOCCHIO (1940) were spun-off into their own cartoon here. Miss Cleo would soon retire from the screen, but Figaro would appear in a total of six cartoon shorts scattered through the decade. The film is fun, though unremarkable. The character of Mammy Twoshoes, seldom glimpsed above the ankle, is a mite stereotyped.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by drawings. As a lad in Marceline, Missouri, he sketched farm animals on scraps of paper; later, as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, he drew figures on the sides of his vehicle. Back in Kansas City, along with artist Ub Iwerks, Walt developed a primitive animation studio that provided animated commercials and tiny cartoons for the local movie theaters. Always the innovator, his ALICE IN CARTOONLAND series broke ground in placing a live figure in a cartoon universe. Business reversals sent Disney & Iwerks to Hollywood in 1923, where Walt's older brother Roy became his lifelong business manager & counselor. When a mildly successful series with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was snatched away by the distributor, the character of Mickey Mouse sprung into Walt's imagination, ensuring Disney's immortality. The happy arrival of sound technology made Mickey's screen debut, STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), a tremendous audience success with its use of synchronized music. The SILLY SYMPHONIES soon appeared, and Walt's growing crew of marvelously talented animators were quickly conquering new territory with full color, illusions of depth and radical advancements in personality development, an arena in which Walt's genius was unbeatable. Mickey's feisty, naughty behavior had captured millions of fans, but he was soon to be joined by other animated companions: temperamental Donald Duck, intellectually-challenged Goofy and energetic Pluto. All this was in preparation for Walt's grandest dream - feature length animated films. Against a blizzard of doomsayers, Walt persevered and over the next decades delighted children of all ages with the adventures of Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Peter Pan and Mr. Toad. Walt never forgot that his fortunes were all started by a mouse, or that simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.
I love this cartoon. It is funny and cute, with great chemistry between
the two title characters and good gags. Mammy Twoshoes is a tad
stereotypical I agree, but not in an offensive way. The exuberance of
the music and the beautiful animation are the best assets of Figaro and
Cleo. And Figaro and Cleo, two great characters from the Disney
masterpiece Pinocchio, are just wonderful, Figaro is so cute with
facial expressions to die for and Cleo is just as beautiful and
endearing as the animation.
Overall, Figaro and Cleo is a great cartoon. It is not one of my favourites of all time, but I still love it for the quality of the animation and music and also because these two characters work so well together. One would wish there were more cartoons of them together. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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