Rather than making animated backgrounds using drawings the Fleischers pioneered the idea of using either models or cutouts mounted on a turntable. The table was slowly spun and photographed. The foreground animation was then placed in front of the photographed backgrounds. This not only saved hundred of hours of drawing but also lent a 3D effect to the back ground. It was used here and in numerous "Popeye" cartoons. See more »
This is the first color film from the Fleischer Studio and it's in something called "Cinecolor"--which appears to be a variation on 2-color Technicolor. Unlike the older 2-color Technicolor, the film seems to have a lot of blues and a slightly greater color spectrum. It is easier on the eyes than the older process but it truly isn't full color--the full spectrum is missing. This cannot be confused with the rich and vibrant colors of true Technicolor--a more expensive process that was also being introduced around the same time. Not surprisingly, Technicolor became the dominant color process, as it simply looked nicer and wasn't mostly orange. Now despite these limitations, this Betty Boop cartoon is nice to look at because like many of the Fleischer cartoons, there were very lovely line drawings and a nice 3-D look to the backgrounds (something this studio specialized in). These help you overlook the orange hue on most everything.
Clearly this in an innovative film, though I also think it suffers from two major problems. First, although it's a Betty Boop cartoon, it's an amazingly "by the book" rendition of the old story. There isn't much new or exciting to the tale. Second, if you are not a fan of Boop, you also might not be all that impressed--simply because she's a rather dull character compared to animated characters from the 40s and 50s (which had a lot more personality). However, compared to competing contemporary cartoons of the era, this is a fairly good short. While nowhere near the quality of most Disney cartoons, compared to Warner Brothers and the other studios, it is clearly technically superior. Worth a look if you are a film historian or want to see a better than average cartoon of the 1930s.
By the way, I saw this film on the DVD entitled "Cartoon Crazys: And The Envelope Please". This is a rather poor compilation of supposedly award winning and nominated films. Poor because several of the films are very lame and are NOT award nominated, the prints are rather bad and parts of some of the cartoons are missing! This might account for the extreme redness of the cartoon, as it could use a good restoration. Cinecolor and Two-Color Technicolor films often get an even more orange look over time but clean up quite beautifully.
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