Monday, September 16, 2019

'Snow White' ala Calloway & Boop

Snow White (1933)
Starring: Mae Questel (as the voices of Betty Boop and the Evil Queen) and Cab Calloway (as the voices of Koko the Clown and the Magic Mirror)
Director: Max Fleischer
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

An evil queen orders Betty "Snow White" Boop (both voiced by Questal) put to death after a magic mirror declares Betty to be the most beautiful woman in the land. Complications ensue.

"Snow White" has been celebrated by critics as the most surreal of all the Betty Boop cartoons. I've not seen enough of them to know whether this is true or not. What I can say for sure is that's the weirdest adaptation of "Snow White" I've ever come across!

There's not much I can say about this film without ruining the viewing experience. I was slightly disappointed that the story felt a little more chaotic here than in other Betty Boop cartoons I've watched, but that was more than made up for how impressive I found it that despite being represented by a cartoon clown and a cartoon ghost that is nothing but legs, arms, and a head, Cab Calloway's mannerisms and demeanor still shine through. I was also enthralled by the backgrounds in the Magic Cave once the singing started. Instead of the usual static images that repeat with some minor variations as the animated characters sing and bounce their way through the action, it's a constantly changing set of images that visually tell the story of the "St. James Infirmary Blues" song being performed by Cab Calloway in his freakish ghost guise.

If you haven't seen this great old cartoon before, you should take a few minutes NOW to check it out, especially since the version embedded in this post has both perfectly clear visuals and audio. You won't regret it.


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