Bacall to arms

Bacall To Arms
Merrie Melodies series
Directed by Bob Clampett (unc.)
Arthur Davis (unc.)
Voices by Dave Barry (uncredited)
Mel Blanc (unc.)
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Manny Gould
Rod Scribner
Don Williams
I. Ellis
Layouts by Thomas McKimson
Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) August 3, 1946 (1946-08-03) (USA premiere)
Color process Technicolor

Bacall to Arms is a 1946 Warner Bros. cartoon in the Merrie Melodies series, directed by Bob Clampett, in his second-to-last cartoon at Warner Bros. (The Big Snooze would be the last). Neither Clampett (he was left uncredited because he had left the studio before the cartoon was released) nor voice characterizations are credited. Mel Blanc's voice is recognizable as a fat theater patron, a husband in a newsreel, and the wolf's vocal effects. Impressionist Dave Barry portrays the voice of Humphrey Bogart. The title refers both to Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and actress Lauren Bacall, whose acclaimed film debut was in To Have and Have Not, based on another Hemingway novel.

Plot

The cartoon is set in a movie theater. Various random gags occur before the film, such as one patron moving to another seat another patron taking the vacated seat, and so on, accelerating into a free-for-all. While the theater is in color, the films-within-the film are black-and-white. A short "newsreel" is narrated by Robert C. Bruce The main feature is a film called To Have- To Have- To Have- ..., a parody of To Have and Have Not. It includes images of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who are credited as "Bogey Gocart and Laurie Becool". In addition to recreating a few well-known scenes from that film (the kissing scene; the "put your lips together and blow" scene), the players sometimes lapse into slapstick (Bacall lighting her cigarette with a blowtorch, à la Harpo Marx; or letting loose with a loud, shrill whistle after her famous sultry comment) and interact with the theater audience.

Although the theater was initially full, it is eventually seen to be empty except for one patron: a lone wolf in a zoot suit who goes ga-ga over Bacall. The final gag has the wolf grabbing a cigarette that was dropped in the film and jumps off the screen, and Bogie shoots him. He hands it to Bogie and it explodes, covering him with "blackface". Bogie suddenly adopts a "Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson" voice, and says, "My, oh my! I can work for Mr. Jack Benny now!"

Censorship

  • The wolf character in this cartoon is almost certainly directly inspired by Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood cartoons, not only in design, but also in behaviour.
  • The entire ending where the [1]. Cartoon Network, another Turner-owned channel with a history of censoring racist depictions of African-Americans, ironically has this cartoon uncut when show on the anthology series The Bob Clampett Show.
  • According to Jerry Beck's DVD commentary on the fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set, this cartoon's choppy, incomplete feel was a result of Bob Clampett never completing the cartoon due to his departure from Warner Bros. Animation and most of the missing scenes are said to be lost to time and/or never created.

Availability

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Big Cartoon DataBase
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