Outpost (1944) Poster

(1944)

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8/10
Often even the most seemingly trivial information can be vital
llltdesq23 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of a series of training films done by Warner Brothers during World War II under a contract with the US Army and featuring Private Snafu. There will be spoilers ahead:

Private Snafu is the worst soldier in the army and is typically used as an example of what not to do in a given circumstance. Here, he inadvertently triumphs over his own innate incompetence. sloth and stupidity to provide vital information used to locate and destroy a Japanese fleet. True to form, Snafu is completely oblivious to everything.

The short opens on Snafu on a tiny island somewhere in the Pacific after 249 days as a spotter. He has a seagull for a mate and the seagull works harder at the assignment than Snafu. The bird also chain-smokes and buries trash in piles around the island while Snafu lays in his hammock, gripes and sleeps the day away, dreaming of a pinup girl.

The bird finds a can floating on the tide. It's a can of "Fish Eyes with Rice" and stamped on the bottom is "Hon. K Ration Japanese Imperial Fleet", which the bird immediately realizes is important. Snafu, on the other hand, can't be bothered and tells the bird to junk it.

Meanwhile, his commanders have lost track if the Japanese fleet and send out a radio message calling on all outposts to report on anything they've seen or heard. Snafu files the most ridiculously conceived report imaginable, closing with the finding of the can, which immediately sparks interest back at HQ. The bird finds the can once again and Snafu, still completely ignorant of its significance, reads the label and information on the can, which leads to the destruction of the fleet. The short closes with Snafu still completely in the dark, as he will undoubtedly be for all eternity.

This short is available on various DVDs and also online. It's well worth tracking down. Recommended.
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6/10
You Gotta Depend on these Guys
Hitchcoc23 February 2019
Out Private is on a tiny island with a radio transmitter. This time I can see his point. Over a hundred days have gone by and nothing. I know that due diligence must have been primordial, but his life is so dull. He dreams most of the time and shouts orders to a bird. Anyway, a lesser effort in these cautionary wartime shorts.
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7/10
The value of accurate regular reports with Private Snafu
TheLittleSongbird5 March 2017
Many of the Private Snafu cartoons are very enjoyable, being very well-made, entertaining and educational with good morals and interesting historical and instructional material. Even lesser ones like 'It's Murder She Says' is still very much watchable. Even when inept, Snafu is still very much endearing and fun for a vast majority of his cartoons, excepting 'The Chow Hound' and his too short appearance in 'In the Aleutians'.

'Outpost' is another good Private Snafu cartoon, but is not one of the best. Those that are among the best, like 'Spies', 'The Goldbrick', 'Infantry Blues', 'Booby Traps' and 'Private Snafu vs. Malaria Mike' were wilder, funnier and more creative.

It is certainly very amusing and has a lot of important things to say about the significance of regular reports being accurate, all in a way without being patronising or preachy. Just that compared to other Private Snafu cartoons it's pretty tame and unoriginal, and anybody who has seen a Snafu cartoon before will not be surprised at how the story unfolds, not much variation from the norm here.

On the other hand, 'Outpost' is very well-animated though with fluid character designs, detailed and not sparse backgrounds and lively colours/shadings. Carl Stalling always did write outstanding music for the many cartoons he scored for and that is true for 'Outpost', the orchestration is very lush and the pacing is characteristically lively.

Snafu is endearing and amusing, even when so hopelessly inept and the narration entertains, resonates and teaches and doesn't fall into the trap of over-explaining or being over-used. The voice work from Mel Blanc and Robert C. Bruce is great.

In summary, a good but not great Private Snafu cartoon. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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8/10
"Pickled fish eyes with rice . . . "
oscaralbert3 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
. . . was the staple of the Japanese Imperial Navy during World War Two. OUTPOST documents how this foul-sounding commodity proved to be the undoing of Hirohito's Hordes. Today's Americans probably would guess that what sank the Emperor's ships was the lack of enough Sadistic Geisha Girls to gouge out the eyeballs of the millions of fish needed to feed the 6,000 mouths found on a typical Nipponese Aircraft Carrier. Wrong, no cigar! OUTPOST discloses that it was actually the discovery of a single EMPTY pickled-eye can carelessly tossed overboard by a thoughtless Imperial sailor, and diligently reported to the American High Command by a solitary U.S. spotter on a small tropical island OUTPOST that allowed our American Navy to ambush all the Japanese ships responsible for the Infamous Pearl Harbor Sneak Attack and send 40,000 Axis tars Down Below to their watery graves in the rusting hulks of Davy Jones' Locker during the Great Victory of Midway. No doubt the Fish Eye Eater who Scarfed down the can that doomed a so-called Empire of the Rising Sun had purloined the fatal can, and then chucked it overboard to avoid Captain Queeg's Doghouse, sealing his fate along with that of Queeg and 39,998 others.
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6/10
Pickled fish eyes with rice
utgard1412 August 2016
A solid entry in the Private Snafu series made for use by the US Army during World War II. Directed by Chuck Jones, this one focuses on the many outposts the Army had in different places during the war. We find our hero Snafu on a desert island with only a bird for company, complaining as usual. Most of the short builds up to Snafu actually helping out for once, without even realizing it. The message of this one is that there are no unimportant jobs in the service and even a guy stationed on a desert island can contribute. The animation is nice and the voice work is good. It's not as funny or creative as many other Snafu shorts but it's still an enjoyable one.
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7/10
Snafu proves that even an idiot can make good
MartinHafer14 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Private Snafu films were clearly made to be seen by soldiers and not by the general public. The dirty jokes, sexual innuendos and language is relatively tame today but never would have been allowed in the regular theaters due to the Production Code. But, such off-color remarks went over very well with the enlisted men and helped to illustrate important information in a humorous and memorable fashion.

In this longer than usual installment of Pvt. Snafu, there are some unusual doings. First, he's been assigned to a lonely island outpost to keep a lookout for the Japanese. Second, in an odd move, he has a bird as an assistant. I've seen almost all the other Snafu films and can't remember seeing this plot element. Despite seeming like a ridiculously unimportant and boring job, thanks to the smart bird, our bird-brain (Snafu) actually manages to make good--though he has no idea he's done so.

Overall, not one of the funniest Snafu films but it's still very watchable and clever.
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