Ladies and gentlemen, here's a cartoon usually regarded as the worst thing that Bob Clampett has ever done at Warners. So often I've seen the opinion that "The Sour Puss" represents a real nadir, a big stinky blot in an almost faultless filmography of a great director. I've also seen it mentioned on various lists of the worst classic cartoons of all time... and I wonder why? What's the matter with you, people?!?
Maybe I'm crazy, but I love this cartoon, and I'm going to dedicate next 90 screenshots to it, whether you like it or not. Maybe some of the naysayers will change their mind in the end.
To be honest, "The Sour Puss" isn't on the level of Clampett's best 30s b&w cartoons, or his later color masterpieces: the gags are not particularly great or memorable, the story structure is sloppy, and the ending isn't too hot either. However, it IS a funny and enjoyable cartoon that has so much to offer. I'm going to list some of its numerous virtues:
Atmospheric use of black & white. Many scenes in Porky's apartment have wonderful noir-ish quality.
Shameless exhibitionism. I wonder how this cartoon passed the Hays code :)
Is this the most bare-butted classic cartoon ever (not counting Disney's "Water Babies")?
Funny drawings and expressions. This cartoon is filled with them.
An enjoyable, funny and goofy spirit permeates every frame of this cartoon. If there is a cartoon that succeeds purely on spirit, this is the one!
A terrific suicide scene!
Hysterical, explosive characters who can barely contain their emotions - that's one of Clampett's trade marks. His characters are not ashamed to express the most extreme joy and happiness. The cat in this cartoon is hilarious!
Big silly grins on the faces of the characters (and the audience who watches them). This is an enjoyable element present in so many early Clampett's cartoons.
Even before Rod Scribner, there were wonderful, distorted and highly original drawings in Clampett's cartoons. This cartoon, like nearly all of Clampett's black & white Looney Tunes was animated by his first unit. None of the strongest Warner animators worked with Clampett at that time (no Scribner, McKimson or Gould), yet the animation quality here is top notch.
An extremely obnoxious heckler that somehow manages to be very funny.
Another moment of indecent exposure from Porky. According to some legends, Ernest Hemingway was often fishing without his pants, so why can't Porky do the same.
"Look fellas, I'm a yo-yo!"
This is an excellent scene that reminds me of Jim Tyer's animation. Does anybody know who's the animator responsible for this? The animation credits on early Warner cartoons are often misleading. I've included many frames from this brief scene, for all of you aspiring animators to study it.
"Pussycats is da cwaziest peoples!". Lew Lehr caricature at the end. Many people criticized this as a cop-out ending, but I like it.
T-t-t-that's all folks!
Somebody should try a drinking game with this cartoon. Every time the word "pussy" is mentioned, drink a glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage (or lemon juice for you kids below the legal drinking age).
Cheers from Hammerson (who was not drunk when he wrote this post)
Labels: bob clampett, bw looney tunes, porky pig