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Farmer Al Falfa receives an unexpected package: a robot.


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A feline organ grinder wanders by Farmer Al Falfa's house making some very bad music. Farmer Al Falfa chases him away. Later, the old man chases two roosters up a tree. One of the roosters, improbably, lays an egg and throws it at Al Falfa. The old man climbs up the tree with a handsaw. He sits on the same branch as the roosters, and begins sawing it off. The roosters jump from the branch into a hole in the tree. Al Falfa doesn't realize what he's doing until he saws the branch clean through. Cartoon magic is on his side: the tree falls, but the branch stays in place. Later, a delivery man drops off a large package. Al Falfa is surprised to see that it's a robot. The robot performs a dance, and Al Falfa feels compelled to mimic him. The robot kicks Farmer Al Falfa in the behind. Al Falfa does the same to the robot, which causes it to grow so tall it reaches outer space. Written by J. Spurlin

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robot | tree | rooster | farmer | old man | See All (50) »





Release Date:

15 April 1931 (USA)  »

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The camera follows Farmer Al Falfa as he moves right. When he falls to the ground, he is stationary as the background continues moving behind him. See more »


[first lines]
Farmer Al Falfa: Rotten!
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User Reviews

Farmer Al Falfa and the robot
2 January 2018 | by See all my reviews

Van Beuren cartoons are extremely variable, especially in the number of gags and whether the absurdist humour shines through enough (sometimes it does, other times it doesn't), but are strangely interesting. Although they are often poorly animated with barely existent stories and less than compelling lead characters, they are also often outstandingly scored, there can be some fun support characters and some are well-timed and amusing.

There are certainly worse Van Beuren/Aesop's Fables cartoons overall than 'The Iron Man'. That doesn't mean however that 'The Iron Man' is good, to me it's a long way from that. It does contain pretty much all of the faults of Van Beuren's worst, or all the faults of many Van Beuren cartoons, while having a few good points. Van Beuren have actually done quite a number of watchable or more cartoons, a few pretty good even though imperfect. So it's not as if they are all being hated on.

Its best asset is the music score, pretty much the best thing consistently of Van Beuren's output (sometimes even the only good thing). It is so beautifully and cleverly orchestrated, is great fun to listen to and full of lively energy, doing so well with enhancing the action.

Some of the synchronisation is nicely done and there is some liveliness pace-wise. The old man is amusing enough and not too annoying as is the robot. The middle third of 'The Iron Man' is the most successful and is pretty fun.

However, many of the faults of Van Beuren's cartoons are present here. The animation is not good, in fact it is downright bad most of the time with erratically sloppy character designs in particular and the lack of fluidity and crispness undo some nice background art. Often you can't actually tell what the animals are actually meant to be.

None of the rest of the characters are that interesting or fun, most are over-cutesy and unmemorable and others are pretty annoying. The story is not much of one and it feels at times random and very disjointed, almost like three different sections in one cartoons with little relation to one another. The middle third is the only section of 'The Iron Man' that works. The first two minutes are saccharine and dull, while the final third is far too strange, even by Van Beuren standards, and too brief (especially the senseless final gag), indicative of that the cartoon is too short.

Basically 'The Iron Man' is a stringing along of gags structured in a way that's disorganised and random. generally, while having a fair bit going on, it is very low on laughs. In terms of quality few of the gags are amusing or inventive, rarely rising above the forgettable and there is not much absurdist about them. The cartoon felt very rushed for two thirds of the length, despite some liveliness.

Overall, mediocre. 4/10 Bethany Cox

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