Wednesday, 20 August 2014

348. The Cagey Canary (1941)

Warner cartoon no. 347.
Release date: November 22, 1941.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Tex Avery (uncredited).
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Canary Bird), Sara Berner (House Keeper).
Story: Michael Maltese.
Animation: Bob McKimson.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A scheming cat attempts at every opportunity to capture the canary, under the peril of a canary who takes advantage of the cat, by whistling.

This has been debated by several enthusiasts and historians with contradictions clashing over whether this is a Tex Avery or Bob Clampett cartoon. I'm not going to nitpick over this theory, but the overall product feels more like Tex's standards than Clampett.

In all fairness, this is more of a Michael Maltese written-cartoon, with many gags and circumstances executed from his own ideas. Tex was likely more involved on the animation side, as by this point of his career he was focusing on making funnier cartoons with sharper animation timing.

Mike Maltese's story agenda is very straightforward for this cartoon: it's the simple cat-and-canary cliche, where the cat has been threatened to leave his house if anymore mischief takes out of out him, leaving the canary taking advantage of him. A straightforward cartoon idea, it allows Mike Maltese to create fresh, new gag ideas  that could be improved upon earlier cartoons that have used the formula before.

The storyline is simple: once the housekeeper spots the cat attempting to capture the canary in its bird cage, the housekeeper encourages the canary to whistle if any more havoc happens, and thus kicking the cat out of the house, into the rain. The "whistle" advice from the housekeeper makes a great plot device, whenever dealing with a brain-over-brawn formula. Pre-dating the Sylvester & Tweety shorts, with the series somewhat inspired from the cartoon, it's a great start from what Maltese has to offer.

And so, after the warning given to the cat: the canary begins to use the whistle as bait to prevent the cat from further mischief. On the other hand, the cat will stop at nothing. Each time the cat attempts a scheme to capture the canary bird, the bird whistles in time to prevent the cat any further.

The gag is usually concluded consistently with the cat zipping speedily back to his rug, and mimicking his snoring effect. Tex manages to blend the gag well in by creating some great, frantic timing of the cat zipping back to position, which is fun when emphasising the fear of getting caught.

Note that the cartoon is another source of Tex setting his focus on creating all-round funny cartoons. His use of timing is looking slicker in action scenes, but it doesn't stop the cartoon from dragging a little, at least in the first couple of minutes, where you expect some sidetracking from going from one gag to another, as such slightly slow-paced scenes of the cat scheming in his rug, but it's only minor glitches.

After a couple of sequences which start off a tad slower, the sequence involving the fly begins to kick up the cartoon a couple of notches. The cat entices the canary to follow him through the corner of the wall, but only leading the canary to a trap, inside a pickle jar. Just as the cat is about to finish off the canary, a passing-by fly randomly flies at the moment, distracting the cat's focus on the canary. The fly buzzes and dances in synchronisation to Yankee Doodle, which is a decent collaboration from Carl Stalling and Tex Avery who executed that subtle gag to the dickens. The fly land on the cat's nose, causing the cat to wriggle his nose slightly, but only to have his other hand blocking the jar, cover his face. A chance for the canary, the bird whistles loudly for his life, and thus leaving him on a lucky escape.

Mike Maltese adds the fly to make a great plot device in sparing the canary from what would be moments from death. What also makes the scene truly well-executed is its character animation, animated by Rod Scribner. Scribner starts to slowly appear in full-form, with his loose, wriggly animation becoming more manifested. Not only is the cat very loosely handled, but the expressions are perfected by Rod, who really explored the character's inner emotions in his animation.

After the close call of the canary who was trapped inside his jar, now he turns to exploit the cat, and proving he is not vulnerable. Mike Maltese plots out another gag set-up, with its execution perfectly delivered, as its outcome is perennially funny in a lot of ways.

The canary catches the cat's attention by holding up a little piece of paper with an attractive woman illustrated inside. The cat, makes a lustful take as he answers to the picture with a wolf-whistle, but double-takes when he realises the set-up the canary created.

The expression of the cat covering his mouth is just priceless in how its drawn, and it perfectly captures the emotions and exploitation the character feels. And so, the cat hides under his rug as he shakes worriedly. The canary drops the piece of paper from his hands, only to land on the floor for a passing-by fly from previously, who is swooned over the picture.

After the canary's sneer scheme towards the cat, the jokes turn to him. After a series of gags, Mike decides to turn the gag a little more gripping than the previous gags. The cat sits himself on the floor casually eating a box of crackers, in order to seek attention from the canary--again.

The canary looks at the crackers with an awed expression, and watches over the cat eating crackers. The cat offers him a cracker, and the canary helps himself with delight, with his cheeks covered with pieces of crackers. At the hope of regaining a friendship, the canary offers to shake its hand, but the cat turns maliciously towards to the cornered canary.

The canary, attempting to whistle, struggles as crumbles of crackers spit of his mouth, making the whistle more difficult. This is perfectly conducted in tension, and buildup, as the struggle for the canary to whistle really looks believable, especially with the pieces of crackers flying out of his mouth.

As the cat stays cornered, the canary swallows his mouthful, and then proceeds to whistle: and succeeds. Scaring the cat once more, the cat friskily places the canary back to his cage and rushes back to his rug. Instead of mimicking his snore, the cat begins to grow more impatient, judging by his testy posing. Tex takes that pose to great advantages, and thus turning each frisky routine to the next build-up, and this expression alone suggests for drastic measures for the cat.

As the cat begins to call for drastic measures from a series of failures in capturing the canary: he turns to the housekeeper. The housekeeper, asleep and snoring, is seen as an advantage for the perilous cat. Note the snoring animation cycle is amusingly handled, thus making her characteristics spot on. Not to mention, she's snoring in rhythm to Pop Goes the Weasel, expressing Tex at his most subtle moments.

The earmuffs become a climax in the story mountain and its another healthy device from Maltese's plot, for it allows the canary to be in grave danger, making the rest of the cartoon appear more suspenseful, and gripping that way.

To test if the earmuffs are ear-proof, he bursts out into a giant whistle, as he leaps his entire body in the air and whistling loudly by the housekeeper's face. Tex's sharper timing is also evident in the scene, for after the cat's giant whistle, the cat simply vanishes from the scene, and appears by the edge of the wall outside her bedroom. This would have to be carefully laid out in order to meet the timing to Tex's standards, such as having his body appear in mid-air in order to make the timing appear somewhat obvious.

As the canary realises he is in grave danger from the casual, smug look from the cat and hearing no calls or responses from the housekeeper, the canary frantically rushes for his life around the house, attempting to create more noise and havoc in order to awaken and alert the housekeeper. To make the frisky scenes appear more tangible, the canary flies around various objects of the house, such as turning on the stove for the kettle to boil, or the alertness of a cuckoo clock, or even a simple alarm clocks. Those are great devices to help emphasise the panic represented in these scenes. Maltese would use those devices for a similar sort of sequence in later cartoons like Kit for Cat.

Tex Avery stages the majority of the action-chase sequence to capture the frantic chase surrounded in a domestic matter. The angle is staged at an extreme down-shot of the cat and the canary chasing, who in design from the angle look more dynamic from previously. It's a great piece of staging that adds to the rather claustrophobic look of the house, and making the chase appear more frantic.

Just as the cat is chances away from capturing the canary, his luck all collapses once he skids with a frantic take, from off-screen which from an audience's perspective is a negative connotation. The camera pans to reveal the canary has removed the earmuffs from the housekeeper's ears, and thus leaving the cat in the high jump.

The cat quickly zips out of the door,l leaving his mark through the front door before the housekeeper can punish him. The canary, sweeping with hands with a sorted relief, finds however he is no longer wanted from the housekeeper, who from her ankles taps her foot consistently with disgust.

Feeling afraid, the canary zips through the house leaving another mark from the front door. Outside in the pouring rain, the cat and the canary both shelter inside a barrel. Feeling rejected, the canary walls out of the barrel, advertising to the audience in a forth-wall crack, "Ladies and gentleman, would any of you in the audience be interested in a homeless cat and canary?". It's a great send-off to the entire cartoon, and plus Mel Blanc adds to the charm of that forth-wall making the canary's voice more masculine compared to his appearance.

Though this is considered to be a Tex/Clampett short, I'd like to give this cartoon to Mike Maltese whose brilliant gag sensibilities and unique plot devices, dominate the entire short. I'd still consider the short to be Tex Avery, when you're looking at it from an animated perspective, but its plausible Clampett finished off whatever was leftover for him. Maltese has the knack of centring on a straightforward formula idea, and yet combing that into an all-round excellent cartoon. The formula would go on to become several series of various characters, most notably Sylvester & Tweety, which showed the cartoon short met with great expectations. It's an all-round delightful cartoon which is very well executed in term of its story and climax, as well as for the inventive gags Maltese conceived himself. The only small problems with the short, are that it drags slightly in some sequences, but the brilliant sequences pay off those minor flaws.

Rating: 4/5.

Monday, 18 August 2014

347. Saddle Silly (1941)

Warner cartoon no. 346.
Release date: November 08, 1941.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Chuck Jones.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Dispatcher / Express Rider).
Animation: Phil DeLara.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Trivia: The cartoon centers on a Pony Express rider who is assigned to fight his way through the Indian county in order to deliver mail across the area.

Perhaps from this point onwards in Chuck's directing career, you tend to notice that his cartoons are gradually beginning to build up at at a steadier, as well as edgier pace in terms of timing and speed his cartoons are travelling at. He finally made it with The Draft Horse, in terms of brilliant timing and humour executed together brilliantly.

At trying to achieve better comedy and timing, Chuck had attempted several times but the results were mainly hit-and-miss if you look at the likes of Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur or Elmer's Pet Rabbit.

At this stage of his career, Chuck has abandoned on directing several Sniffles or Curious dogs shorts, and at least shows attempts at pursuing better pacing to the standards of Clampett, Freleng and Tex Avery. This short, in terms of design and execution, shows the potential of being an all-round cartoon, but the down side is it contains a lot of Chuck's quirky tastes such as long-paced sequences that begin to drag, as well as gags that feel somewhat forced.

From watching the opening of the cartoon, the short shows some potential of a satisfying all-round cartoon. The gist of the entire plot centers on a Pony Express rider who is delivering a package to the next station. And so, you'd expect some great gags along the way. Maybe not great, but at least giving Chuck credit of trying to create some inventive gag ideas.

The opening sequence featuring the delivery boy who is taking a call to a radio transmitter features a charming little forth-wall gag that's passable.

With his cap covering his eyes and visibility, he records towards the transmission data information which would be received if he were on a plane, such as the "no visibility" comment. The dispatcher responds with a forth wall comment replying, "Put your hat off your eyes, you big jerk!", and the take following afterwards is a charming send off. After the delivery boy is arriving at a pony express station, the dispatcher dispatches another horse to continue his part of the journey.

As for Chuck's pacing going at a steadier pace, it is evident throughout the cartoon during the scenes of the Pony Express rider riding through the desert. Note the use of dry brush effects, which would become standard for a lot of the 1940s Warner shorts. Even though it had been experimented beforehand, it's fitting to see Chuck used the effect in order to get a more satisfactory pace to the speed of their journey, and thus this does outcome some comical situations, such as the force they are travelling with junk succumbed to the speed.

Another striking example of Chuck's wackier deliveries in animation standards, in other words, Chuck becoming more liberals with the animation rules: would be some of the climatical scenes of the Moe Hican (get it?) injun riding after the Pony Express rider. Watch the final scene of the injun as he skids his horse to a halt. The skid, which is as common as what you'd expect from Warners and other studios, grounds to a heavy halt that the horse ends up digging up a lot of soil from the ground to the point where his skid has stopped deep enough. Though the gag may be formulaic, watching the pacing as well as comical outcome: this is as worthy as how Clampett or Friz would've done it.

Instances where Chuck expresses a lot of animation potential, not only in timing but also for inattentive gag ideas too. As the Pony Express rider rides falls from the cliff rapidly, with no sense of coordination and focus, he drops down a river and the camera pans downwards from a large, canyon area.

The Express rider and his horse are pretty deep from their end, and the express rider shouts out from underwater, but the outcome shows only bubbles flowing out of his mouth.

The following shot, focusing on the surface shows the large bubbles from his mouth rising upwards which burst out with the Express rider's voice bellowing "GIDDYAP!". The first take on the bubble gag was inventive as well as amusing from the Blanc rant, as well as coming down to execution. The following scene shows the Express rider and his pony riding through the river underwater, but as they reach the surface, they fall at another edge, resulting in bigger bubbles which burst out with splash effects, and the execution of the bubble gag in that scene was a lot more incoherent and flimsy.

Other aspects where Chuck's sense of timing and climax build-up are in the right place also centers around the climax involving the injun Moe Hican who is on the run. The characteristic walk of the injun and the horse's gallop features some charming pieces of animation which makes the climax all-round mostly enjoyable.

It does drag, however, to avoid lack of criticism, though the scenes where it drags will be discussed shortly after. Cases where the climax itself is enjoyable is not only by the use of comic deliveries or timing, such as the exaggerated skid gag: but also Chuck's own comedic style adds to the bag.

Jones, infamous for his use of his exaggerated, expressions he gives to his characters that make him somewhat human, adds that great effect in a scene around the climax. After the Express rider attempts to hide behind the horse, both the rider and Moe Hican come staring at each other face-to-face.

The staging is dynamic, but it progresses further is a brilliant sheepish grin which Jones would've drawn from layouts. The sheepish grin may be another device used frequently by Warner directors, but Chuck without doubt was the master of such expressions that may seen uncharacteristic of a character, but the audience empathise with them. Scenes focused on the little Moe Hican character also express charming little personality traits such as his small height, and he has to use a stepladder to help climb up his horse.

As for scenes that do drag for several periods of time, unnecessary time speaking, the Disney-like timing you'd expect out of Pluto hasn't yet died away from a formula Chuck had used consistently for the past three years. One sequence of slow, unnecessary timing centers on the horse who rides outside from the pony express station, waiting to take over riding from the other pony.

As he waits outside, he starts off with a couple of stretches, to prepare himself for what would be a long journey. Treg Brown adds to the touch to make the back sound effects comical, but its the animation that centers between each stretches that really drags the sequences down, that it makes the stretches just seem like a pointless execution.

Other scenes which does drag on, is also the climatic chase with the injun rider. The Pony Express rider has found himself cornered as he is prevented by a WPA (Works Progress Association) sign from crossing the cliff, due to "warpath under construction". This, of course, would be another early reference of the U.S. preparing for World War II.

As he is blocked from crossing, he attempts to corner himself from behind the horse, and the horse unwilling to shield consistently exchanges positions with the rider boy that they quarrel over who is shielding. Not to mention, this is all done through pantomime, like the most of the entire cartoon, this makes the sequence drag for the sequence is barely amusing or comical enough to show for its purpose.

From other aspects of Chuck's artistic standpoints, he does allow the audience to have a taster of enjoying and believing the Western environment in order to make the cartoon appear more adventurous. The opening establishing shot of the rider crossing from cliff to cliff is a little formulaic from how it was executed, though the background and layout work by John McGrew makes the scenery stand out more than the animation.

The use of camera pans to show off the canyon work is also evident, too. Chuck doesn't experiment too much with the use of camera angles in the short, but the high angle shot of the Injun's back watching the express rider is a wonderful piece of staging, as well as a great staging of the scenery.

Last but not least to mention in the review would be the recurring gag that is also focused in scenes here and there in the cartoon. The scene features an isolated hitchhiker who is dressed fully in a coat, and hat and he attempts to hitchhike a ride from the Pony Express rider, directly.

Each recurring gag becomes more climatic than the other: first he starts off with the simple hitchhiker's thumb, to indicate he wants a lift. The rider zips past the hitchhiker unnoticeably.

The following gag, he holds a small sign attached to his coat reading: "How about a lift bud?". The signs are typical of Chuck Jones, and its the perfect excuse for written communication in a pantomime cartoon. The following gag features the same hitchhiker but attempts to deliver the message with a billboard. This all ends up in the final shot of the cartoon, where the hitchhiker making it to his destination, unknowingly discovers the hitchhiker made it into the rider's bag. He walks out with a sign reading: "Thanks for the ride, bud." This is a great way to pay-off the recurring gag as well as how each recurring gag would be presented: with every gag peaking higher than the other.

And so, concluding the review of Saddle Silly, this is more of a transition short, where you could say Chuck is on a "journey" of exploring and seeking further talents he hadn't yet recognised. A lot of his talents he's known for are combined in this short: such as the unique use of expressions for his characters or the use of signs for pantomiming purposes, this is all inventive ideas from Chuck and it works well in the short. The timing of the cartoon is a lot more slicker, as well the animation becoming more liberal and less tight from Chuck's layouts. Despite all the greatness that does appear in the short, Chuck hadn't yet got a writer or even the writing standards to produce an all-round great, comedic short. Rich Hogan, who was Chuck's regular writer in this period, left Warners for MGM in 1941, and for a couple of shorts afterwards Chuck was left with no writer, with the likely possibility that Chuck wrote the cartoons himself, hence why the shorts are still flat in terms of plot and gag consequences. Overall, the short still shows potential, as well as a good bracer for what's to come.

Rating: 2.5/5.

Friday, 15 August 2014

346. Rookie Revue (1941)

Warner cartoon no. 345.
Release date: October 25, 1941.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Various voices), Reid Kilpatrick (Narrator), Billy Bletcher (General).
Story: Dave Monahan.
Animation: Richard Bickenbach.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Blackout gag short which centers on the everyday life of a military trainee.

Sports Chumpions turned out to be a passable spot-gag cartoon Friz Freleng, which had a neat combination of charming animation timing, as well as some great satire on sporting events. Perhaps confident, Freleng attempts another spot-gag short: this time its theme is set in an army training camp.

For a spot-gag cartoon, this short is full of passable gags, either with Friz's brilliant timing or just how well Monahan anticipated the gag, but the majority of the gags blended in together outcomes into a mess.

The opening scenes of the short, are at least passable and occasionally humorous when comparing the nature of the gag, as well as how well executed it was, and to an extent the short isn't interpreted as a spot-gag cartoon. The latter half of the cartoon, acts more like a typical spot-gag cartoon, with more hit-and-miss material blended in together.

Let's start with the positivity of the cartoon, from what the opening of the short has to offer: the first few minutes of the cartoon feels unlike a spot-gag. It doesn't rely on fade-outs, or just simple sequences each gag. From hearing the Reveille call, as well as the roll-call sequence: you'd get the impression it's a one-shot cartoon themed on military life, much like how Bars and Stripes Forever centred on prison life, with a main character.

From the start of the cartoon, the narrator gives the audience a taster of military life in army training camps. The opening establishing shot of the army barracks is a great scene when watching Friz's humorous nature, as well as an alternate piece of comic timing that relies on no animation, a very unusual approach to a gag. The horizontal pan scene features rows of tents of off-screen sleeping soldiers who all snore in synchronisation to You're in the Army Now.

However, was responsible for supplying the snores for the gag, (probably Treg Brown); produces the snoring effects to an amusing standard, as well as the timing to synchronisation to the traditional army song. The pan ends with the
tent identified as "BUGLER".

Another great sequence which is complex when planning the gag, but also meets with a great outcome would be the opening scene of the roll call sequence.

The scene begins with the camera focused on the soldier's legs marching, and the scene suggests they're busy training for the day. The camera pans upwards to find the sleepy soldier's resting their heads on each other's soldier, whilst marching at the same time.

It's a cleverly produced gag, showing how it was no easy picnic when laying out the scene. The march cycle of the men marching looked torturous to animate, as the scene had to be animated with the legs facing the camera, rather than the standard, and less challenging angle of a character walking sideways. The gag works in every justified way. And so, the sergeant orders "Attention!", and this builds up to another wonderful, comical scene of the character's head waking up, but hitting each other's heads one at a time like a pair of dominos. The sergeant's reaction to the bashing effects is also wonderful, as well as Treg Brown's sounds to go with it. The sour sound effect of the last head being bashed is also very funny, just because of how subtle it is. It possibly suggests the last soldier got hit in the head by an object that wasn't a human head.

Perhaps the sequence that sounds out throughout the entire cartoon would be the mess hall sequence, which occurs after the roll call scene. As the scene is established, each recruiter are positioned in a table to the ranking they're assigned to: such as "infantry", "machine gunners", etc. The gag is, that based on the army occupations they're assigned to; their position would match their alternate ways of eating.

To start off with, the "infantry" table are at first seen eating sloppily, but until they're caught on camera (great subtle scene too), they begin to eat more well-postered and eating their food politely, which again is a little lame pun but it feels somewhat suitable.

Note the men at the table are caricatures of the staff at Warners, Henry Binder is seated in the middle, Tubby Millar is a possible caricature seated on the left, and I think the caricature on the right might be animator Phil Monroe.

The next table, featuring a group of "Machine gunners" eat the meals on their plates with the action of their hands moving upwards very hastily, like the speed of a gun firing. The timing is very decent, and the double-hand effect has a great touch in terms of emphasis on the speed of their hands matching the firing gun effect. The next table, for the "bombers", comes the most cheesiest gag in the whole short, but the Treg Brown sound effect for the apple dumpling falling, as well as how it was executed, makes the gag amusing in its juvenile ways. It's a complex scene to stage, and Dick Bickenbach who animated the scene himself (its his animation style), twins a lot of the poses for each soldier on the table to make the gag consistent and straightforward, and he does a good job at doing so.

The following scene, however, is a very dark turn, compared to the previous lighthearted, soft gags. The table centers on the "suicide squad" table. The soldiers are sitting there with a melancholy expression of their faces, as they are eating hash on their plates. The atmosphere of the scene, such as Stalling's mood piece as well as the emphasis of hash being served to them.

Another cynical, dark gag occurs during the parachuting sequence, where at this point the short sort of moved into more gag-to-gag sequences. The gag itself is more subtle for the scene would need to fade-out in order to make it appropriate for viewing, especially for younger viewers, but the nature of the gag is just cold stuff.

During the parachuting sequence, a trainee jumps off the plane as he is trialling for diving. Just as he is falls from the sky, he releases the parachute, supposedly inside his bag. The bag unleashes a small banner reading "parachute" and the scene fades off-screen to the soldier supposedly falling to his death.

Sequences which feature some dated material, I'll go over some scenes. Following the great opening scene of the roll call, the sergeant orders for the group of men to count repeatedly and routinely "1, 2, 3, 4".

As the scene pans towards a dumb, looking soldier, he struggles to figure the next number following three, a soldier attempting to give him the answer, is prevented by the sergeant who responds "No coaching please".

The whole scene is mostly nonsense, as there is a little out-of-focus reference of the game show Take it or Leave It. Once the dumb soldier figures out the next number, the sergeant asks "Would you like to try for the $32 dollar question?".

The dumb soldier is hesitant, with a supposedly off-screen audience member responding, "YOU'LL BE SOR-REE!" which was also referenced from a show, where audience members would be allowed to shout out towards contestants. Overall, it seemed a pointless sequence as there was no satire when comparing it to military life, unless this is dated satire.

Another dated reference (at least the billboard), is this time more humorous and justified would be during the soldier's march sequence. The horizontal pan as well as the staging of the layout emphasises on the painstaking journey they have to face. As the pan reaches a stop, a group of fatigued soldiers walk past a billboard reading "Next time try the train" which was an infamous billboard for its time, and notably seen in the Hal Roach adaptation of Of Mice and Men. The billboard, in this scene is rather biased which is a personification when looking down towards military soldiers, but thats the purpose of the gag.

Gags which feel rather out-of-place when looking at how the gag was performed is centered at the calvary sequence. The narrator explains in this section, "One of the most colourful sights, is the well-trained calvary...".

The sergeant, off-screen makes a roll call for the calvary to get in position when ordered to, and as the sergeant orders "Forward march" the horses then begin their march.

What was the purpose of that gag? Was it that you'd expect the horses to gallop but instead their marching? Or was it that they're marching in an odd, human-like position? It isn't well explained in this sequence. Other instances of corny-developed gags would be the cannon testing sequence. The army are testing out one of their new pieces of artillery. As they place the bullet inside the cannon, the cannon fires but a giant fork pops out of the cannon. As corny as well as anticipated the gag was, it sort of pays off well in the scene, and you've got to appreciate the timing of the build-up and the firing.

On the positive side, some of the gags in the spot-gag sequence do benefit a little. The "camouflage" scene isn't too much of a gag, as its a tad lame a pun but watching it from an animated perspective is also mind-bottling. The horse hoofs itself looks very challenging, as well as subtle when you watch it on the screen. I won't overanalyse of how I believe the scene was likely animated.

Another great little scene, which is reliant on effects animation, but its a cute little gag. The sequence focuses on war planes practicing manoeuvres for combat, and this "manoeuvre" turns into a soft gag of the planes playing naughts and crosses, with the yellow game winning the game.

The final sequence, the finale, occurs at an army headquarters base. The narrator explains and shows the audience a huge piece of artillery, which as he explains must be delicately coordinated at the army headquarters, "many miles behind the lines". The entire sequence is led up to a buildup, in order to create a big punchline to pay off a minute of meticulous working.

The general, is seen in his army headquarters, and he is busy calculating the bearings of where the giant cannon should be correctly coordinated. He reads out the instructions through a technical jargon, as he reads out the following: "Elevation: 45 degrees. Direction: 30 degrees north-by-east".

A military operator reports the following information towards the original station where the giant machine gun is based. After a series of coordinatings given from the general, they are ready to fire the cannon, but the testing backfires as the cannon fires at the "army headquarters".

Freleng timing for the cannon firing towards the headquarters is incredibly odd in how it was executed, and somewhat mysterious. After the cannon fires, it cuts to a shot of just a blank shot of the sky, and then an explosion of the army headquarters. After the army headquarters collapses in ruins, the battered general pops up from the pile of bricks as he mocks the Abbot and Costello quote, "I'm a baaaad general".

And so, in conclusion to reviewing Rookie Revue, the short feels like two different themes of military life. From the first act of the cartoon: you'd get the impression this was a one-shot parody of army training, but the latter half is merely a string of gags that range mainly hit or miss, but mostly miss. There were a couple of gags that do benefit such as the gag at the mess hall, or the horizontal pan of the tents snoring. They're all passable stuff, but it seems a somewhat confusing short as it doesn't run entirely as a spot-gag short the entire time, or at least not to my impression. It was a pretty clumsy short in terms of how it was constructed, and it was a little out of focus, but all I personally have to say.

Rating: 2/5.