Sunday, April 23, 2006

Friz Vs. Clampett on Timing (Pt. 2)

Today's post compares two shorts of a similar nature... Both being musical Warner shorts from the same year, but by different directors and with different musical themes. They're PIGS IN A POLKA by Freleng (set to Brahmm's Hungarian Dances) and CORNY CONCERTO by Clampett (the first piece set to Johann Strauss'Tales from the Vienna Woods) , both from 1943.

Friz's timing was superb in his musicals. Every movement is synchronized perfectly with the soundtrack. I don't think any other musicals (WB or otherwise) got timing down as good as his, save the Swing Symphonies and Musical Minatures at Lantz, which are good contendors. Friz was the master of musical cartoons as far as I'm concerned.

I believe Gerry Chiniquy animated most of this scene, because the pigs tend to jerk from pose to pose, which allowed for quicker movement, and therefore easier to time with the music. The rest of the cartoon is just as great.

Clampett said in later years he was not happy with the timing in CORNY CONCERTO. I like the animation overall in this film better than PIGS IN A POLKA, and the timing is also quite decent. But for some reason it doesn't come off as 'perfection' in Clampett's short. Music tended to call for more 'refined' and polished timing, which doesn't seem to be Clampett's specialty (not that there's anything wrong with that!). For the record, I think the Deems Taylor FANTASIA parody is funnier in Clampett's than in Friz's.

Bob McKimson animated Elmer's entrance, and Rod Scribner picks up at the close-up of him. He handles the rest of the scene until Bugs pops out of his rabbit hole, which is then handled by Virgil Ross.

CORNY CONCERTO is great, sure, but it's nowhere near the top of my list of favorite Clampett shorts. Jon Cooke tells me that when he went to see Bugs Bunny on Broadway, this short got the least applause from an audience of all ages. HIGH NOTE didn't get much applause either so they weren't stupid. There is some great emotion and acting in this film... It just doesn't do it for me like a lot of Clampett's other superior films.

PIGS IN A POLKA, on the other hand, IS at the top of my list of Friz films, so I like his short better. I did notice something for the first time watching this cartoon... It suddenly turns into a ten-story house by the end of it! I love the lack of continuity... It's one of the things that makes animation great! Must be that great timing that made me forget about it all the other dozens of times I've seen this cartoon (as well as 'Concerto', both being public domain shorts).

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