The Terrytoons are oddly interesting, mainly for anybody wanting to see (generally) older cartoons made by lesser known and lower-budget studios. They are a mixed bag in quality, with some better than others, often with outstanding music and with some mild amusement and charm and variable in animation, characterisation and content.
'Caviar' is the first official Terrytoon, available as of now on Youtube via a French theatrical print with German subtitles (certainly better than nothing, like the Youtube description said). In this regard, 'Caviar' is of historical interest and is actually not a half bad cartoon in its own right. Is it great? No. Is it watchable? Of course, and there is more to it than just historical interest.
Its best asset is the music, which is incredible. Then again, personally am a fan of Russian music so am kind of biased. It is so beautifully and cleverly orchestrated and arranged, is great fun to listen to and full of lively energy, doing so well with enhancing the action. The backgrounds are detailed enough and show a studio that were aiming for ambition and succeeding in some aspects.
Pacing is neither too hectic or dull, there is a natural charm and fun and the characters may not have significant development to them but are not annoying or personality deprived. Synchronisation is pretty neat, much more so than many cartoons from Van Beuren made later.
However, the amount of detail that went into the backgrounds doesn't show as much in the character designs, which tend to be crude and simplistic. The story is not dull or incoherent but there is not much to it and what there is is formulaic, unremarkable stuff.
Despite some charm and fun and a very nice introductory scene with instrumentalists in silhouette, the laughs are too few and are fairly bland and lacking in variation and occasionally 'Caviar' leans on the too cutesy.
Overall, watchable and of historical interest as the first Terrytoon but unexceptional. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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