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flip the frog | See All (1) »

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Ub Iwerks makes 'em. MGM releases 'em.

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Animation | Short

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12 August 1933 (USA)  »

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Not Everyone Is Cut Out to Be A Boss
22 September 2010 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This is an amusing cartoon, as Flip plays a lumberjack who has to fight off an Indian attack. For 1933, it is pretty primitive, both because of its 'rubber tube' animation and its 'music-synchronized gags'. Everything works. With Carl Stalling doing your music and Seamus Culhane one of your animators, you could make anything work and work well with well-executed but fairly random gags.

But the feeling I take away from this cartoon is that Iwerks was content to let his artists fall into a rut. Disney, Fleischer and Lantz were producers who pushed their artists. Schlesinger and Quimby were businessmen who ignored them and let them do pretty much what they wanted -- which was to amuse themselves and each other by making funny cartoons. But Iwerks -- well, he walked from Disney because he wasn't getting enough credit. Now he had the credit, but was he cut out to be boss of a cartoon studio? This picture suggests he was not. It is, as I said, a good cartoon, but stylistically it was three years behind the time and all the advances Iwerks made between this one and the collapse of his studio seem to be playing catch up.

Eventually Pat Powers would pull financing and after another half a decade of trying to reestablish his own independence, Iwerks would go back to Disney and work on technical issues of multiplaning. I suspect he was happier doing that than trying to get Stalling and Culhane to adjust the music or the motion on every scene.


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