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29 August 1929 (USA)  »

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Chinatown, My Chinatown
Music by Jean Schwartz
Lyrics by William Jerome
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In 1929, this probably impressed more than it does 86 years later
15 October 2015 | by (Tucson AZ) – See all my reviews

This is a cartoon in the Screen Song series produced by Fleischer studio. There will be spoilers here:

This is one of a handful of early Fleischer shorts I've seen which haven't aged well. There isn't even the sketch of a plot here, the singalong part is lifeless, the song isn't terribly good and the animation is primarily the rubbery stretching business, focused in many cases on the pigtail worn by the characters.

This opens with two Chinese characters, one eating and the other ironing a shirt. The man eating has some of his food try to escape, but catches it with a stretched tongue. This may be the best gag in the short, sad to say. The man ironing accidentally drops a shirt sleeve into the other man's bowl and he absently eats the shirt! The two men begin to argue and the one man contemptuously spits out a button, thus escalating the argument into a duel, with pigtails as swords.This ultimately segues into the "bouncing ball" singalong, complete with an atrocious lead-in done in pidgin English. The Screen Song format hadn't been fully developed, so there's no vocal accompaniment, much to the short's detriment Not even the brief segment where the ball gives way to drawings cuing the words helps with the energy of the short, which is flat.

For completists only.


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