#51 Pinocchio

Watched: October 02 2016

Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen

Starring: Dickie Jones, Cliff Edwards, Christian Rub, Mel Blanc, and various other creatures

Year: 1940

Runtime: 1h 28min

pinocchio1940

Source

Geppetto is a lonely toy maker/inventor who lives with his cat and fish somewhere in Italy (we presume). After finishing a wooden marionette, he wishes upon a star that Pinocchio (the dummy) would be a real boy. Somehow, this does not come across as creepy. Well done, Disney! Lo and behold – in the night a blue fairy visits and brings Pinocchio to life, promising him he’ll be a real boy if he proves himself to be brave, truthful, and unselfish. Jiminy Cricket, a cricket(!), is assigned to be the newborn boy’s conscience and is tasked with keeping him out of trouble.

pinocchio
The first thing he does is light himself on fire. So much for staying out of trouble.

Source

Geppetto is delighted to wake up and find his new “son,” but like many parents before him, he is equally delighted to send the kid off to school the next day so as to have a few hours of peace. Despite the fact that he was literally born yesterday. We feel you, Geppetto!

pinocchio2
“Give this apple to your teacher, and oh – take these school books I have lying around for no discernible reason…”

Source

Of course, Pinocchio, being both a dummy and born yesterday, gets into trouble right away. He is lured away from his path by a couple of scammers who promise him a career in show biz.

pinocchio-4
He’s also promised ladies

Source

pinocchio3
Lots and lots of ladies

Source

Of course, the glamorous life in show business isn’t at all that it’s cracked up to be. Pinocchio is kidnapped and the blue fairy has to show up and help him out one last time. One would then presume the marionette had learned his lesson, but he is a young simpleton and promptly gets himself into even more trouble.

jiminy-cricket-45
“Seriously, pull yourself together or I’m gonna find myself a new job!”

Source

Pinocchio is once more kidnapped (sort of) with a bunch of other young boys who are skipping school and are generally up to no good. They are brought to “Pleasure Island” from where boys never return… At least not as boys. We won’t even begin to comment on the connotations here… Meanwhile, poor Geppetto, the world’s most irresponsible parent, is wondering what on earth has happened to his son.

pinocchio5
Luckily for the boys, they’re only turned into jackasses and don’t become victim of some horrible child prostitution ring. Just slave labour. It’s a Disney film after all.

Source

We’re prepared to bet most of you have seen this Disney classic and learned your lessons from it. Thus you are all responsible, honest and caring people. Well done!

We really liked Pinocchio, particularly Jiminy Cricket and Figaro the cat. The clock scene in Geppetto’s work shop in the beginning is magical, and despite the fact that he sends his newborn son alone to school on day two, we like Geppetto as well. Pinocchio is slightly annoying, but being a puppet we can (mostly) forgive him. Growing up, “There Are No Strings on Me” was on TV every Christmas but we realised watching this that we’ve never really seen the entire film! So it was about time.

What we learned: a conscience is that small voice people just won’t listen to. But clearly should. Also, you shouldn’t send your kid to school when he’s only a day old, no matter what!

Next time: The Bank Dick (1940)

#28 Duck Soup

Watched: August 27 2016

Director: Leo McCarey

Starring: The Marx Brothers

Year: 1933

Runtime: 1h 8min

Duck Soup

Source

There’s very little we can say about this comedy classic that hasn’t already been said. The Marx Brothers are back with more zany antics, political intrigue and comedy gold, and we loved it.

Annex - Marx Brothers (Duck Soup)_NRFPT_04
“Zeppo, show some skin, or you won’t be in this one!”

Source

The country of Freedonia is in dire financial trouble and its main backer, Mrs. Teasdale, will only help if the government appoints Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) their new leader. The ambassador of neighbouring Sylvania is trying to take over Freedonia, and sends in spies Chicolini and Pinky (Chico and Harpo, respectively) to get information on Firefly.

ducksoup1933_73717_678x380_06022015113633
“Sir, we couldn’t find a lot of dirt on him on account of our incompetence, but his dancing is surely criminal. Can you work with that?”

Source

After a series of insults between Firefly and ambassador Trentino, the two countries declare war and Freedonia gears up with a musical number.

Hail Freedonia
You can’t have a good war unless it kicks off with a musical number

Source

The film is hilarious throughout, but worthy of special mention are a few scenes. Most notable is the mirror bit where Harpo, dressed as Groucho, has to mirror his movements after shattering the actual mirror. It’s wonderfully funny and very impressive. Other great scenes include the rallying of the troops during the battle, where stock footage is used to show fire engines and elephants, among others, coming to their aid, and the doghouse tattoo including a live, barking dog.

duck-soup-91
“Damn! I’m even more handsome than I thought!”

Source

What we learned: Incorporate more musical numbers into our daily lives.

Next time: Footlight Parade (1933)