A little cat is being mercilessly tormented by a mean bulldog until one day he meets a black cat who offers a bad-luck service. Whenever the little cat blows a whistle, the black cat comes out, and the bulldog is struck down with an attack of bad luck. Things look bad for the bulldog until he realizes that a cat's color can be changed... Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the bulldog shoved books in a bookcase (where kitten was hiding), Hanna & Barbera's Tom & Jerry short Kitty Foiled (1948) appears as KITTY FOILED, capital letters on kitten for approximately five seconds. And approximately one minute before kitten met his rescuer, that it later rescued. See more »
This is perhaps Tex Avery's best cartoon, and it's because it has something one would not think of looking for in a cartoon, let alone one by Avery. That secret ingredient is logic. Yes, logic. This is a very logical cartoon, not because it presents realistic action (it certainly does not), but because the action - unreal as it is - follows a logical progression, and it's all the funnier for it. The cartoon has a very simple concept: a white kitten, harassed by a guffawing bulldog, hires the services of Bad Luck Blackie. With one blow of a whistle, Blackie crosses the bulldog's path and gives him bad luck - i.e., something drops from the sky and hits him on the head. The entire film is comprised of variations of this simple scenario, normal procedure for Avery. But rather than merely repeat the gag ad nauseam, Avery builds up the situation to a crescendo of outlandishness. With each scene, the objects become larger and more unlikely - from a simple flowerpot, to a piano, a lit bomb, a fire hydrant, and on and on until...let's just say that Avery doesn't stop at the proverbial kitchen sink. The dog tries to stop Blackie by any means necessary - good luck charms, setting traps - but always he succumbs to the inscrutable logic of the situation; whenever the whistle is blown, Blackie passes by and the dog gets conked. No matter who blows the whistle, no matter where the dog is, the result is always the same: whistle=black cat=conk! Finally, the dog gets the upper hand by applying some logic of his own. If a black cat causes bad luck, painting the cat white negates the effect, and that is just what he does. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true, so the kitten paints himself black and saves his hero and gets revenge on his tormentor at the same time. Anyone else would have ended the cartoon right then and there, but Avery gives us one more twist, one that is ridiculous, yet still in keeping with the logic established early on. (Think Pavlov) If this film teaches us anything (besides being kind to kittens and beware of black cats) is the importance of logic in cartoons. Avery isn't merely laying one gag after another. He is developing the situation, letting it build naturally to a satisfying conclusion. He sets up rules for his characters to follow and bends them without breaking them. The result may be irrational, but it is never illogical, and it's funny as hell.
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