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Scrappy's Trip to Mars (1937)

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Animation | Short





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14 February 1937 (USA)  »

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Another Good Start and Poor Finish
11 January 2010 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

While he was bouncing about from one cartoon studio to another, following the collapse of his own, Iwerks did some contract work for Charles Mintz' unit that released through Columbia. As usual, there are some technically adroit tricks played here, but, also as usual, this Scrappy cartoon simply fades in the stretch, as if the people involved lacked the time or the ability to stretch out a good idea for six minutes -- which is a lot harder than it sounds, folks. It's hard to structure a story for six minutes and do many interesting things in that space without something giving.

The interesting things here are a couple of technical issues, such as the way Iwerks indicates that the lights are turned out: the screen simply goes black for a couple of seconds. He does this twice and it manages to work. Also of interest is the way that constant bits of weirdness show up through the first half of the movie. Some of the images suggest childhood in an offbeat way, like the way the Martian coach travels like a rocking horse.

But after that, the cartoon falls short. We get taken to a Martian nightclub, which is like an Earthly nightclub as constructed by Busby Berkley -- and since Berkley did nightclub scenes in his work, there is nothing terribly interesting there. The story is also ended abruptly, as Scrappy announces he must get back home.

The second part of the movie, as indicated, is not worth much. But the superior work in the first three minutes makes the entire thing worth sitting through.

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