Walter Catlett

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Pinocchio (1940) Review


OK
Walt Disney doesn't make 'em like this any more. Hell, they didn't make 'em like this for very long at all. Disney's second feature after Snow White, Pinocchio is a scary and perplexing "children's movie." How so? Jiminy Cricket is a voyeur and a womanizer (even of fish). Gepetto builds sadistic cuckoo clocks with women spanking bare-assed children. When inexplicably swallowed by a whale, he even overfishes the whale's belly for all the tuna it swallowed, not realizing his wooden son is in the water. The blue fairy is mean and vindictive. Even the fish Cleo blows smoke rings.

All this to tell a story that if you don't go to school, you'll get kidnapped and (literally) turn into a jackass. Not only is beer and smoking vilified -- so is playing pool. Now I wouldn't want my kids ditching school and smoking all day, but I don't want them to think playing billiards is bad. As for the movie, the animation is so-so and the storyline is bizarre (example: Pinocchio and Jiminy discover Gepetto has been swallowed by a whale when a note magically drops from the sky).

Continue reading: Pinocchio (1940) Review

Pinocchio (1940) Review


OK
Walt Disney doesn't make 'em like this any more. Hell, they didn't make 'em like this for very long at all. Disney's second feature after Snow White, Pinocchio is a scary and perplexing "children's movie." How so? Jiminy Cricket is a voyeur and a womanizer (even of fish). Gepetto builds sadistic cuckoo clocks with women spanking bare-assed children. When inexplicably swallowed by a whale, he even overfishes the whale's belly for all the tuna it swallowed, not realizing his wooden son is in the water. The blue fairy is mean and vindictive. Even the fish Cleo blows smoke rings.

All this to tell a story that if you don't go to school, you'll get kidnapped and (literally) turn into a jackass. Not only is beer and smoking vilified -- so is playing pool. Now I wouldn't want my kids ditching school and smoking all day, but I don't want them to think playing billiards is bad. As for the movie, the animation is so-so and the storyline is bizarre (example: Pinocchio and Jiminy discover Gepetto has been swallowed by a whale when a note magically drops from the sky).

Continue reading: Pinocchio (1940) Review

Bringing Up Baby Review


Grim
Screwball comedy is, in some sense, the most difficult of all types of comedy. Unlike physical comedy and straight farce, there's no real safety net, if the audience just doesn't follow or care about all the carrying-on displayed on screen, no matter how talented the performers or frantic the action, there just won't be much of anything that they'll find funny. Thusly does Bringing Up Baby fall flat on its face - not for lack of talent or effort, but for want of any good reason to exist.

Long before Hollywood suits thought it was a good idea to hide Freddie Prinze Jr.'s hottitude under a pair of spectacles (see Boys and Girls, if you dare), it was decided that for a change of pace, Cary Grant should be similarly four-eyed and socially reticent. And so he was cast in Bringing Up Baby as Dr. David Huxley, a nebbish scientist about to marry his icy prig of a colleague and who's been roped into wooing a rich potential donor to their museum. It's not that Grant can't play this guy, he pulls off the role just fine, but the whole enterprise seems reminiscent of covering a fine antique in layers of shellac or casting George Clooney as an antisocial computer hacker with poor fashion sense. Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should.

Continue reading: Bringing Up Baby Review

Going Places (1938) Review


Good
Cute flick has Dick Powell and Anita Louise in a mistaken-identity comedy common of the era, with Ronald Reagan and Louis Armstrong turning in supporting roles! Powell is a salesman who impersonates a famous horseman in order to sell more clothes at a steeplechase, only for Louise to become instantly smitten. Throw in a crazed horse that can only be tamed by the song "Jeepers Creepers" (which was originally written for this movie), and you've got a kooky -- though ultimately much too screwball -- good time.
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