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|Index||15 reviews in total|
I can readily understand why this one is not being broadcast. However, it should still be available regardless of the objectionable content. I still contend (and likely will to my last breath) that anyone over the age of 14 who allows their sensibilities to be damaged to any great degree by a cartoon has much more serious problems to contend with. Last time I looked, there were situations and realities in the world far more dangerous and harmful than drawings made on a series of cels more than 60 years ago. I don't like or agree with a lot of what I see here and elsewhere, but no cartoon (or movie, song, book, et cetera) can hurt me without my consent. That is something I choose, not a long dead producer. I save that concern for things that matter a bit more. The music in this short is excellent, as is often the case with shorts produced by Lantz. The material is a bit coarse in spots, but this is worth watching. Recommended.
There's a huge amout of racial slur underscoring this otherwise brilliant and lively toe-tapper of a film. I liked it, quite frankly, and it's definately not as offending as it could be. All of the watermelon and pig-tail stuff, however, is definately in poor taste. Films like this aught to be examined more, rather than just brushed under the rug and their images and messages denied as having existed. Hopefully, people will see the value of probing these sorts of films. A great musical score, excelant vocalization, brilliantly colourful animation and gorgeously vivid background settings are this strange little movie's highlights.
Yes, it's racist. Yes, it portrays stereotypes ridiculously over the
top.Yes, the blacks portrayed within look like monkeys and talk as
though their tongues have been injected with novacaine. And YES, it's
incredibly funny and entertaining.
Loony Toons over their history has portrayed MANY ethnic stereotypes from Amerindian sidekicks with feathers in their hair, drunk Irishmen, lascivious Arabs, angry Nazi Germans, and slit-eyed Chinamen the only stereotype that DOESN'T get exploited is the Jewish one (and I think we know why). And yet, this one gets singled out.
Well, regardless, Scrub Me Mama is a piece of history that hearkens back to a time when blacks were regarded as inferior but potentially lovable... kind of like monkeys. Obviously this notion is outdated and silly, but that's just how it was back then - people also wore hats and said words like "swell". If you've got a strong stomach for shock and a twisted sense of humor, you'll nearly fall out of your chair when the first black appears on screen with his lips wider than his mouth, black dog-nose, and low, sloping brow. It truly is ridiculous, and that's WHY it's funny.
Then the young vixen comes on screen and in a complete reversal of stereotypes is portrayed as attractive and completely un-ape-like. How to make sense of that one is anyone's guess except that she represents the cultured black woman rather than the lazy rural ones of Lazy Town. What follows is pure goofiness as the blacks go from acting like lazy monkeys to monkeys on crack and a tune catchier than most out there.
So, this cartoon will most definitely not advance any civil rights causes, but most good cartoons are indeed offensive, as South Park and Beavis and Butt-Head prove. While some offend with scatology, some with sexuality, this cartoon seeks to offend with racism. Is racism right? Of course not. No more right than sexual deviance and scatophilia. But the drawing of stereotypes to their most extreme ends can be uncomfortably hilarious to those who are not so delicate as to run off crying at the slightest violation of their narrow-minded sensibilities.
If I were one of them, their portrayals of Italians as mustachioed perverts would send me through the roof.
Ordinarilly, cartoons from this vintage that contain these
minstrel-show derived caricatures don't really offend me that much, as
all the studios at that time did them (Fleisher, Warner, heck, Van
Beuren even had an "Amos 'n' Andy" series)...But "Scrub Me Mama With a
That one hurt.
I've never, in all my life, seen a film which literally REVELS in its xenophobia...all the men are depicted as sub-human apes with black animal-type noses and huge, floppy lips (or, more accurately, a simianesque muzzle), and the women are variations of the old "Mammy" stereotype (with the exception of the High-yalla Sista from Harlem and the trio of shapely washerwomen with the see-thru skirts...one of the few good things about this cartoon.) The only true positive in this cartoon (aside from the shapely washerwomen triplets) is Darrell Calker's driving musical score, proving once and for all the adage about music and the "savage" breast. The instrumental portion of the film alone makes up for its hurtful images...but not by much.
Walter Lantz has often said that his musical films "never offended or degraded the (sic) colored race", and, indeed, most of the films he produced following this one (particularly "Boogie-Woogie Bugel Boy of Company B") are pretty decent in terms of music and character design (no better or worse than Warner's concurrent "Coal Black and de Sebben Drawfs"), but "Scrub me Mama With A Boogie Beat" undermines its vibrant musicality (and, admittedly, its very funny gags...the cat and dog sequence is a hoot!) with its hateful and hurtful depictions of African Americans.
"Clean Pastures" had racial stereotyping but offset it with an
extremely positive message and images.
"Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs" had racial stereotyping and a patriotism message. Along with a great beat.
This one was nothing BUT racial stereotyping. Were they men or monkeys? Cotton picking? Constant napping? Everyone's a closet jazz musician? The one attractive woman was almost white. While the others were all fat black "Mammys." And is it just me or did the whole scene resemble a slavery shot?
Lantz was working with the times here. And the music was great. But this one's a little hard to defend. It needs to stay around for learning and enlightenment purposes though. Show people what it used to be like and hope we never get back there.
And I hate to admit it, but I did laugh a few times.
IT's racist and vile. Nice reminder. Keep it circulating, lest we
forget. The Black people are drawn to look like monkeys. The women are
pure mammies. The one attractive woman is about 10 shades lighter than
the other Blacks. A lot closer to the White norm.
Racism and scatologia are two very different things. Racism is about life, and necessarily has a 'victim'. Scatalogia is a deviant taste, fetish, gross subject and is victimless - until people start throwing poop at innocent bystanders.
These events and this ideology isn't far removed from us (me). These ideas were prevalent in my father's time, all my aunts and uncles, my grandparents. The people who maintained this way of thinking didn't just disappear when Black folks moved from the back of the bus. Therefore, this video is offensive, and my 'sensibilities' aren't narrow. The history of the world and especially of America demands my awareness.
Much is written about the talent and time that go into making a cartoon
like this as if to validate its status as a piece of movie history.
But really... who is lazier, the fictional Negroes in the cartoon or the real-life writers, animators and director who are so lacking in originality that they are recycling 30, 40, 50... 100 year old jokes and insults just to get seven minutes of running time?
Even in 1941 when this was released this was stale stuff, already beaten to death a hundred times over in films, theater and commercial art.
I'm sure the artists involved would claim they didn't have "a racist bone in their body". They seem to also be lacking the bones for basic observational skills. There are a thousand and one way to draw or caricature a black person and yet that one black-face stereotype is what they keep pulling out of their ass as if that were the only option.
The hipster girl that gets off the steamboat is one small deviation from that formula but she's practically white. It's like they couldn't reconcile dark skin with non-stereotypical behavior.
All in all, a rather sorry outing for the Lantz Studio who had quite a few sorry outings in their run.
Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat (1941)
*** (out of 4)
Welcome to Lazy Town, home of various lazy black people who sit around sleeping and drawing flies all day or if they do work they work so slowly that nothing gets done. All of this is about to change when a sexy, big breasted woman from Harlem shows up to teach everyone what rhythm is. As you can tell, there's certainly a reason this cartoon, from the same man who would later bring us Woody Woodpecker, has been taken out of circulation. Once again it's rather shocking at how over the top this thing is in its stereotypes of black people. A lot of movies from this era feature negative portraits of black but this thing here is just so incredibly over the top that it comes off rather shocking. We have big lips, watermelon and that's just the start. The one thing that stuck out to me, like Warner's Coal Black and De Sebbin Dwarfs, is the sexuality behind the main female character. She's constantly swinging herself in a sexual way and her breasts are always shaking. Due to the Hayes Code this type of sexuality was never seen except in these racial shorts. What makes this film worth watching outside the history lesson is the music, which is downright terrific. The movie is certainly going back to the swinging jazz of the 20's and makes it worth watching.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Oh dear, just what the hell did they go and do when they concocted this beauty?! I haven't seen every short ever but I'm pretty sure you'd be hard pressed to find much of anything ever so blatantly and obnoxiously in your face with its outdated depictions of bad stereotypes and attitudes as this lively little short which once played, really can't be ignored until it's over and you can pick your jaw up off the floor! I mean hell, yeesh, the black people are designed in such unlovable rubbery caricature fashions that they barely appear human, their ridiculously-oversized red lips and gloved hands and big feet making them look more like unfunny circus clowns.. I don't know though, I personally enjoy this cartoon a lot for what it is, I find it catchy, hilarious and entertaining, but I don't enjoy it for the slurs against people, I like it for its great swinging rhythm and how once the song begins everything in the short moves and doesn't stop until the end, and I laugh at the big 'ol fat mamas in their bloomers and the little girl with the deep baritone, that kind of thing, I ain't condoning, it's just awfully bawdy and outrageous! So if I'm even permitted to have such an opinion without myself being condemned, no I'm not all up in umbrage and disturbed over this bombastic animation at all. I think the whole notion of cartoon racism has always been vastly overblown. I never saw the short yet where the people of colour were villainous. You only generally ever get people up in arms over these kinds of old cartoons, but what about Speedy Gonzales or Pepe Le Pew? They're hardly sterling representations of their proud heritages either! What nonsense - replace them all with poor white hillbillies and see who'd be throwing the race card around then. Nobody, that's who. Gee I really hope that all of the above doesn't make me sound like some kind of petty ignorant person, I never claimed to be able to express myself as eloquently as other reviewers seem to do so easily, but knowing myself I'm pretty sure I'd feel the same way about this silly and too toonish to be possibly taken seriously short cartoon even if I were a black me.. I've always took people as I've found them and treated them like they have me. All I'm saying is, we're all just assholes in the same toilet that is this planet and the sooner we learn that, the better. Backwards as heck as this is, I honestly think there's a worthwhile short with catchy and amazing music to be enjoyed if you can get by the extreme racial stereotypes, and I enjoyed it as just another bizarre and entertaining archaic animated gem of yesteryear.
There is no doubt that this rarely seen Walter Lantz Cartoon is one of the most racist cartoon shorts of the early 20th Century, rivaling the "Little Black Sambo," serials, and Warner Bros.' "Inki and the Mynah Bird." Every ethnic stereotype of the period is here, except little black kids being swallowed by alligators. But the most shocking aspect of this cartoon, was that it was an HOMAGE to black culture in America, rather than an attempt to slander it! By today's standards, or for that matter the standards of anytime after 1954, this would disgust anyone who knew that the man who created the loveable Woody Woodpecker, would stoop to such bad taste, and yet he and the rest of the crew saw this cartoon as praising African-Americans, rather than insulting them. Would I recommend that you see it? After finding out about this tidbit, I'm not so sure.
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