Tuesday, 23 August 2016

410. Porky Pig's Feat (1943)

Warner cartoon no. 409.
Release date: July 17, 1943.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Frank Tashlin.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig / Daffy Duck / Hotel Manager / Bugs Bunny).
Story: Melvin Millar.
Animation: Phil Monroe.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky and Daffy attempts to escape from paying a huge hotel bill is thwarted by the hotel manager.

Frank "Tish Tash" Tashlin
In September 1942, not only had the Schlesinger studio finally achieved an identity for their innovative style of humour in their cartoons; but it also marked the return of another influential force at the Schlesinger studio. Arguably one of the greatest and most diverse cartoon directors, Frank Tashlin returns to the studio for the third time, as a story director - after a four year stint at Disney and Columbia's Screen Gems.

Frank Tashlin, as witnessed previously in this blog during his first tenure as director, was best known for his cinematic style to animated cartoons. Not only had he achieved sharper timing within the studio; but gave his cartoons a streamline design. Tashlin, like Chuck Jones, loved to experiment and did so to his full extent. His experiments would pay off, as he still maintained the spirit and energy that the studio's reputation prided with.

Not long afterwards, Frank Tashlin would return to his former directing position by succeeding Norm McCabe's black-and-white unit. Since his last directorial effort at Warners in 1938; the Warner Bros. animation studio had enhanced significantly in style and pace. Since his return, Frank Tashlin shows no struggles of adapting to the change, although felt he lost a lot of seniority by then, as recollected in Michael Barrier's interview: "I had to come up from the cellar again". In the wake of his four-and-a-half year absence, his first released short Porky Pig's Feat provides an excellent comeback for the director.

If there was a layout artist with the ability to meet with the complex demands of Tashlin's directing; Dave Hilberman is the right candidate. Layout is relied upon heavily throughout the cartoon, and Hilberman's pivotal work on the short is sublime. Like Tashlin, Hilberman was an innovator; and his avant-garde approach to layout and designs create a fitting match for the maestro.

Melvin "Tubby" Millar's narrative is kept simple and to the point: Porky and Daffy attempt to avoid payment on a huge bill, and pull off various escape attempts from a tenacious hotel manager, who stops at nothing, to ensure their bill is paid. Millar splits the narrative structure.

The first half of the short is all exposition, as seen in the opening scenes. After Porky observes an unfair hotel bill (for which he and Daffy are charged for every luxury including breathing and goodwill), the following scene dissolves to Daffy Duck gambling away during a game of craps in the elevator.

The sequence is beautiful not only in direction, but in suspense and atmosphere. Tashlin utilises his cinematic techniques in making the craps game ambiguous - only Daffy's silhouetted hand and cry for luck inform the audience of the situation. Once Daffy rolls the dice, an unseen croupier (impersonating Eddie Anderson) shouts, "Uh-oh. Snake eyes. Too bad! You is a dead duck, duck!". The elevator door slides open revealing a dejected Daffy walking away in sombre, after blowing his entire money on gambling; meaning there's no other alternative to paying the bill. Daffy's pose is beautifully staged in capturing the melancholy mood, and Carl Stalling's use of Blues in the Night underplayed fits the locale effectively.

An interrogation so intense, in a
few frames, Daffy's mouth appears
Offended by the manager's sceptical response concerning Daffy Duck, he busts in on his face, glaring and dominating him threateningly. Another marvellous Tashlin trait was his ability to pose characters in exaggerated positions, and enforce the poses far longer than the other directors would anticipate. This is largely showcased in the scene as described. Daffy presses the manager's face the point his face sinks inside; in unparalleled Art Davis animation.

He interrogates him in an unforgettable speech written by Tubby Millar: "Insulting my integrity, eh, fatso? Insinuating I'd flee this flea-bitten dump, eh, fatso?" Intimating I'd abscond with your financial remunerations, eh fatso?". Once he's finished, Daffy slides his head away from the manager's squished face. Amused by the outcome, he remarks: "Hey, look! A Dick Tracy character. Pruneface!". It's a remarkable piece of staging that indicates Tashlin's fearlessness as a director - by attempting what other directors wouldn't try, and all for a marvellous effect. After exchanging some violent outbursts from each other; Porky and Daffy begin their greatest escape plan had they succeeded.

While Frank Tashlin relied heavily on filmmaking techniques in his approach to cartoon directing; a lot of his camera work was used for comedic purposes. After Daffy's little altercation with the hotel manager; he prepares to slap Daffy with his glove. A close-up of Daffy Duck ready to anticipate his slap; and then camera pans over to Porky. As the slap is interpreted by Porky's reaction, the camera pans back to Daffy Duck, revealing a severe sting on his face from the glove. It works effectively in depicting cartoon violence in a satirical way, and to some extent, it pokes fun at the Production Code's restrictions on violence portrayed in film.

Not only does Tashlin pay homage to the use of mise en scene for filmmaking; he also pulls off complex camera techniques only effectively in cartoons. While Schlesinger stalwarts like Friz Freleng and Tex Avery were masters in fulfilling difficult camera actions successfully; Tashlin takes the feat beyond.

A striking example occurs in Daffy and Porky's first attempt in escaping from the elevator. The camera trucks in to the elevator clock sliding, and then damaged on impact. The elevator door arises to find Porky and Daffy backing away from a menacing hotel manager (with flypaper still attached to his face from earlier), and end up back where they originally started. And so, the angry manager protests: "And you don't get out until you pay up!"

It's a remarkably complex piece of work, requiring the effort of Hilberman's layouts and Johnny Burton's department. The staging and planning is incredibly inventive and outlandish in depicting a failed attempt of escaping down an elevator. On a plus note, the grimace expressions on the manager (as well as Porky and Daffy's awkward poses) are priceless and intimidating.

Animation by Cal Dalton.
Tashlin's filmmaking approach is incredibly diverse in the cartoon; not just in camera techniques or timing, but also in composition and scale. For the hotel manager; Tashlin exploits the character's size to make him appear larger than normal. It's utilised effectively in the opening scene; where he daunts Porky about the bill, "You will, of course, pay the bill now before you leave, no?".

The camera pans down to an intimidated Porky who bluffs, "My partner Daffy Duck will be right back. He's out cashing a check!". The size of the manager works effectively to carry out an intimidating appearance.

Frank Tashlin's love for cinematic camera angles doesn't go missed in this cartoon. For the sequence where Porky and Daffy attempt to slide down the hotel building from a rope made from bed sheets; he uses the camera angles for timing purposes.

Tashlin uses low-angle shots of Porky Pig at the ground, stuttering and yelling, "Hurry up, Daffy, don't dilly-dally! Time's a wastin'!". Little does Porky realise as he's standing on top of a drain cover; that the manager is hiding underneath the sewer, and planting matchsticks underneath Porky's feet to give him the ol' hotfoot.

The depiction of only featuring the manager's hands enhances the suspense of the action further; and it's paid off as Porky zips upwards, as he reacts to the hotfoot. Also, Tashlin still remains true to the spirit of the Warners humour; as Daffy lustfully whistles at an open hotel window, implying he's staring at an attractive woman undressing. The next shot reveals, however, an illustration of a female model in a magazine.

Perhaps the most memorable technique Tashlin employed in this short is the elaborate seqeunce of the hotel manager falling down the staircase. In the sequence, Porky and Daffy lock themselves in their hotel room, and the manager tries to break down the door. And so, Porky and Daffy pull down the rug; causing the manager to crash and bump down the spiral staircase.

The camera pans down to reveal the complex layout work; seen as a simulated tilt shot. Hilberman's genius layout technique emphasises the infinite journey the manager has to endure, along with Mel Blanc's delivery on the yells. In the following scenes; extreme close-ups of Porky and Daffy's eyes watch the manager stumbling down the stairs. The manager's bumps are reflections from their pupils. Speaking of reflections, Tashlin uses it in the short sporadically; particularly in the shot of Daffy Duck's reflection seen through the hotel manager's monocle, as he's about to give Daffy "the field of honour."

Frank Tashlin also experiments and makes effective use of his timing skills. For fast-paced scenes like Porky's reaction to the hot-pot; he uses streaks and fast cutting (which he used primarily on earlier efforts like Porky in the North Woods and Porky's Romance) to depict the action. To create impact and weight in animation action; Tashlin's timing works effectively for scenes like Daffy yanking the flypaper off the manager's face - portrayed with a controlled and yet exaggerated use of squash and stretch.

While the pacing is quintessential of Tashlin's work, he also uses elements of subtlety that portrays humorous situations beautifully; particularly evident in the sequence ready for discussion. Once Porky and Daffy's plan of causing the manager to stumble down the stairs has supposedly worked; a recovered manager zips up the stairs in a flash; causing the pair to lock themselves in their rooms once more and pull off the stunt once more.

However, the manager has learnt from his mistakes and deceives Porky and Daffy into thinking he's fallen by imitating the agonising yells outside their door. The pair step outside to listen out for the yells; without realising he's right beside them. His yells turn calmer, causing Porky to double-take and crack Daffy's neck forward. The cracking action is a beautiful, subtle piece of timing - excelled from Phil Monroe's character animation and Treg Brown's virtuoso sound effects.

To create definitive cartoon timing and comedy; Carl Stalling is the reliable candidate in enhancing the effect. Infamous for his usage of Raymond Scott's Powerhouse, Stalling takes advantage of the frantic, episodic music by turning it into an innovative cue for wild cartoony action - like the hotel manager frantically ramming at the door in frustration.

While Scott's piece has been heard previously for the climatic sequence in the Snafu short, Gripes, this is the first usage of the piece in a Warner Bros. cartoon - as well as the start of a great legacy.

As far as gags and humour goes; Tashlin was not much different compared to Bob Clampett or Tex Avery, as the standard Termite Terrace humour remained intact in his shorts. A gag popularised by Tex Avery is borrowed in this short; but used in an unpredictable, spontaneous fashion. The hotel manager crashes into a hotel door; flattening door. Once he's recovered; he opens the door, but finds another door. He continuously opens an endless number of doors, until he finds one with a sign attached, reading: "Monotonous, isn't it?"

After one final attempt of escaping the crutches of the hotel manager; Porky and Daffy swing across the rope to another building; only to be cornered once again by the manager. The manager wins the battle and imprisons the pair in a hotel room for evading their bill.

Months past, Porky and Daffy are still imprisoned and full of despair. Bugs hopelessly stutters, "Gosh, if Bugs Bunny were only here". The following sequence is fitting reference to the character; as Porky and Daffy represent the majority of people who admire his mischievous antics - and the pair reminisce a scene from a non-existent cartoon. Porky's fourth wall crack, "I saw him in a Leon Schlesinger cartoon once" must've been an amusing reaction from Schlesinger's viewing of the short.

Feeling hopeful and optimistic of escaping the macabre hotel room, Daffy advances towards the telephone box to call Bugs Bunny. For the first time in Warner Bros. cartoon filmography; Daffy Duck converses with Bugs Bunny. Not as an enemy as how he's been immortalised and marketed today; but as an ally.

"What's up, duck?" Animation by
Izzy Ellis.
Daffy explains the predicament of his and Porky's situation, and consults Bugs on the phone on some pointers of escaping. Bugs suggested all the stunts they attempted earlier in the cartoon: like the elevator, throwing the manager down the stairs, using the sheets to swing across on the rope.

A sample of the abrupt "jump cut"
technique, popularised in Goddard's
Breathless (1959).
For Daffy's phone call to Bugs; Tashlin establishes a technique that was almost unheard of in Hollywood filmmaking. Tashlin uses jump cuts to bring the camera closer and closer to Daffy's face. It's used ironically to create dynamics and suspense in an otherwise casual phone call.

Animation by Phil Monroe.
The" jump cut" technique wasn't used extensively until Jean-Luc Goddard's French New Wave film Breathless (1959) (a sample of the technique can be viewed here). From a film history perspective; it's fascinating to see how ahead of his time Frank Tashlin was, and the liberties he took during Hollywood's studio system era.

And so, Daffy comes to the point in the phone call: "We've tried all those ways". Then, a door to the next room opens up to reveal Bugs Bunny (in his only black-and-white appearance in a Warner cartoon), also in the same situation as Porky and Daffy, with shackles attached to his legs. He munches on a carrot and remarks, "Ehh, don't work, do they?". It's a hilarious piece of tragedy that exemplifies the hopelessness of escaping a hotel bill, and from the hotel manager.

Although Frank Tashlin would go on to produce a handful more funny, memorable cartoons at the studio, Porky Pig's Feat is perhaps, his cartoon masterpiece and one of my all-time favourite Warner Bros. shorts. Tashlin adjusts to the changes of the studio's style of filmmaking from his departure in 1938 effortlessly, and invests a lot of his talent and abilities into one cartoon flawlessly. Tashlin's cinematic, avant-garde approach to cartoon directing gives the cartoon's action more excitement and fulfilment for the viewer. Humour-wise, Tashlin keeps true to the spirit of the Warner style, as well as understanding characterisation. While Frank Tashlin's 1930s cartoons were mostly hit-and-miss, perhaps due to the material he was given, there's no denying he's returned an improved director. Although one might argue the techniques might've been overused in the cartoon, most importantly - Tashlin never loses sight of the narrative and the importance of keeping the audience motivated; a huge "feat" indeed!

Rating: 5/5.

Monday, 8 August 2016

409. Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943)

Warner cartoon no. 408.
Release date: July 17, 1943.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Bob Clampett.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Harland C. Evans (Fats Waller cat), Leo Watson (Scat singing), Clifford Holland (preacher), Eddie Beal, Carl Jones, Audrey Flowers, Eddie Lynn (singers), Mel Blanc (Rubber band). (Thanks to Keith Scott).
Story: Warren Foster.
Animation: Rod Scribner.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A Fats Waller-caricatured cat is led to temptation in a jazz nightclub, followed by a surreal

Animation by Bob McKimson
While the cartoon is suppressed underneath the Censored Eleven package and is today remembered for its racial stereotypes; I feel a disclaimer is always necessary. The short indeed contains racist imagery, although as a reviewer I understand the context, and always intend on writing an unbiased review. As to why the characters are portrayed as cats, I don't know. Now, onto the review!

While Bob Clampett's Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs primarily celebrated the African-American jazz culture; Tin Pan Alley Cats appears to demoralise it. The short is depicted as a moralising tale on clean living, with the protagonist being a Fats Waller caricatured cat - and Waller, in reality, is infamous for his upbeat lifestyle.

The moral is enforced in the short's opening sequence where the Waller caricature is being warned by a street preacher from entering the jazz nightclub. The preacher warns him he'll be tempted with "wine, women, and song" should he enter the nightclub. As far as historical context goes, today it would be considered a lifestyle; especially since the rule-of-three phrase has been modernised today as "sex, drugs, and rock n'roll".

Bob Clampett was notorious for sometimes missing deadlines and going over-budget; and the cartoon appears to be a prime example of that (which shall be discussed further shortly). Nevertheless, the short utilises some of Clampett's quality in an economic factor.

For example, the opening overlay shot depicting the docks at night is alluring in atmosphere, whilst cutting corners as far as animation footage goes. An off-screen chorus singing By the Light of the Silvery Moon enhances the mood elegantly.

Then, the scene cuts to the Waller cat's introduction in a cocky walk cycle beautifully animated by Bob McKimson. McKimson uses the keeps the action entertaining in an economical way. He uses clever cycles such as the cat's eye on an attractive womanly-figure feline (perhaps a design counterpart of So White), only to be discouraged by an intimidating, broad boyfriend.

The establishing shot of a street featuring the nightclub and the mission not only contrast each other in atmosphere, but in colour, too. Michael Sasanoff, who was likely painting backgrounds for Clampett at this point, paints the scenario inventively to create a juxtaposition in mood. The emphasis of fiery colours for the nightclub brings spirit and excitement; whilst the mission uses moody colours to create a more macabre look.

Whether the cartoon was a casualty of Clampett falling behind schedule or going over-budget; we'll likely never know. Animation re-use was a common practice amongst many directors from several animation studios; especially if it saved dollars during the Great Depression. Sometimes, re-use worked if it was subtle, or otherwise, practical (like crowd scenes). Clampett, however, uses re-use animation here in a sloppy fashion.

Once the Fats Waller cat enters the nightclub - he engages in some razzmatazz as he performs the popular song, Nagasaki, in an almost entire sequence complete with retraced animation and a reused soundtrack from Friz Freleng's, September in the Rain (1937).

The staging and animation is an
almost spot-on match. 
Some scenes scattered around the sequence is replaced with new animation; like the shot of a roast chicken frightening the customer by coming alive and doing the jitterbug. A short I'd nominate as the most unsettling stereotype in the cartoon.

True, 1943 audiences wouldn't have had the slightest notion the sequence was lifted from a 1930s Depression-era cartoon, but as far as continuity goes: it's very inconsistent. As both cartoons were produced six years apart; the Schlesinger studio had a very different style to producing cartoons compared to 1943. The policy of featuring popular songs in a Merrie Melodies was still enforced, even if it had toned down; but the animation style and timing were more conservative. And so, the recycled sequence reappearing during Clampett's energy driven era as a director feels very out of place.

Re-use animation is enhanced further in a surrealistic sequence taken from Clampett's earlier masterpiece, Porky in Wackyland. Since then, Bob Clampett has extended his talent as a director further, and whether or not this was Clampett's intention; he has many missed opportunities. The thought of Clampett enhancing surrealism further than what he'd accomplished in Wackyland, would've been a fulfilling experience.

Anyhow, the Fats Waller cat falls into a hallucination where he enters a surrealistic fantasy that has taken him "out of his world", literally. The cat's first exposure to the fantasy is indistinguishable to Porky's experience. The character spends most of the time exclaiming in his animated counterpart's phrase, "Wot's the matter?", which isn't enough to save the sequence entirely.

Many unusual creatures reappear, from the critter's tender flute playing of William Tell Overture to the Al Jolson duck shouting, "Mammy", across the scene. Michael Sasanoff at least attempts to revitalise the sequence with some altered background designs, and the use of colour to utilise the surrealism effectively.

Again, occasional new animation resurfaces around the sequence; like the Waller cat exclaiming, "Wot's da matter wiv 'im?" as he watches a critter chopping car tires with an axe. The gag itself fits in with the short's historical context; considering the World War II tire rations.

Animation by Rod Scribner.
However, the re-used animation of the surrealistic world wasn't a total loss of opportunity. Clampett makes room for innovative gags that is freshly animated to make up ground - and that fits in the style of Clampett's energy. This is evident in the first scene of the surrealistic world.

The Fats Waller cat exclaims, "Where is I at?", in which a giant lip emerges and responds, "You is out of dis world!". As the cat turns and shouts, "Was that you?"; the use of the Kitzel reference: "Hmm, could be" and flipping its lips was certainly not unknown of Clampett in that present era.

For the climax of the Waller cat's surrealistic episode; Clampett also blends in some more original material that's fitting to his style. Whether Clampett had no alternative but to recycle animation from his earlier cartoon due to budget constraints is still unknown; but the finale itself is inventive and, indeed, far more surreal.

The Fats Waller cat watching a parade of rubber bands is a prime example of Clampett's charming use of corny puns. Mel Blanc adds to the delivery hilariously with his infamous 'armpit' sound effects - adding a dimension to the eccentricity of the surreal concept.

The concept gets even stranger as the Fats Waller cat encounters his national enemies, Tojo and Hitler in odd proportions, bumping each other's asses. This is soon followed by Stalin dancing the Cossack, whilst giving Hitler's rear and shouting "'Ay!" the right delivery of the dance. It's a great portrayal of emphasising the Fats Waller cat's desperation of escaping the fantasy with the addition of fearsome dictatorships.

Clampett also has his moments of brilliance as a visionary. In a sequence where the Fats Waller cat scats with another jazz musician, he declares, "Send me out of this world!". The Fats Waller cat floats in mid-air, as the trumpet blows around him - causing the size to increase on impact.

This is beautiful visualisation of the cat's entrancement of the music empowering him - and the result of a metaphor of the cat being, literally, "out of this world".

The innovative concept comes into play again, as the Fats Waller cat returns to reality. And so, the Fats Waller cat rapidly exits the nightclub, completely reformed from his traumatising hallucination. He joins the street preachers as he pounds on the drums to Give Me That Old Time Religion. With his catchphrase being a running joke of the cartoon; the street preachers use the catchphrase "What's the matter wiv 'im?", in unison, as a response to the apparently-reformed cat as the short ends.

Not only has the cartoon not aged well because of the stereotypes and suppressed distribution - but also the heavy re-use of animation. Without going too much in depth about the stereotype, what I find the most baffling is that the characters were all turned into cat form (corrected: see comments below), which feels uncalled for, and doesn't desensitise the caricature. The lacks the vitality of what made Coal Black a Bob Clampett tour-de-force. Although it remains uncertain whether the short was a punishment for Clampett's budget problems; it's a high possibility Clampett hadn't that intention. Whatever opportunity Clampett made use of in the short - he uses it well; especially the new material for the hallucination sequence. With directing issues asides; the short has some fun elements to it, but overall, could've been a lot more superior.

Rating: 2/5.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

SNAFU: Gripes (1943)

Director: Friz Freleng.
Release date: July 1943.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Snafu / Technical Fairy).
Music: Carl Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown.

Synopsis: With help from the Technical Fairy, Private Snafu attempts to change the regulations of the army base under his supervision.

While Coming: Snafu!! was presented in the form of a trailer to set the standards of the series; Gripes is the first to make use the formula based around morals. The short represents as a satirical element on soldiers living away from their comfort zones. During their service in the army, the soldiers don't have the luxuries they once had in an easier life, and instead, complain about army life and its conditions.

Private Snafu is a prime example of those soldiers; by refusing to take his service patriotically and moaning about how unfair the army is to his human rights. The opening scenes are primarily exposition in illustrating Snafu's gripes on military life - and a satire on astonished soldiers enlisted in the army realising doesn't entirely consist of combat and action.

An effective layout depicting
the line / griping and moaning is
not a good sign!
This is evident in the opening scene of Snafu peeling potatoes, as part of his KP (abbreviated for 'kitchen patrol'). His multitasking efforts are nicely exaggerated as a gag. Theodore Geisel (known to many as the infamous Dr. Seuss), utilises the dialogue with his rhyming trait that emphasises Snafu's irrational perspective effectively.

Snafu gripes: "Ahh, I joined this here army to join in the fun / of jabbing the Jap and huntin' the Hun! / and look at the job they handed to me / KP! KP! KP! KP! KP!" Dr. Seuss' usage of the rhyme scheme to create informal, distasteful dialogue to an illiterate crowd is somewhat surreal; considering his reputation as a children's author.

In a sequence where Snafu is confined to a sickbay; Snafu expresses idealistic fantasies, as quoted: "If I ran this army, boy I'm telling you / I'd make a few changes, that's what I'd do!". At that moment; marks the first appearance of the side character: Technical Fairy, First Class.

Although stereotyped as a thuggish G.I. look; Technical Fairy plays a pivotal role in the Snafu series; as he grants utopian wishes for Snafu; only to deliberately wound up in disaster - to teach Snafu a lesson in the long run. To some extent, represents the unconscious mind of Snafu.

The grants his wish, "I heard ya say it, that everything stank / that you'd run things different if you had more rank / so as Technical Fairy, I gotta good notion / to give ya a chance, pal. Here's a promotion!". And so, Technical Fairy uses his wand to cast a spell on Snafu by promoting him as master sergeant ("The boss of the woiks!"). To add the right touch, Technical adds a high-ranking military insignia to adorn the sleeve.

The Schlesinger staff continue to take advantage of certain liberties by adding touches of risque humour that goes beyond the Production Code's control. Gripes has elements of scatological humour, as seen in the vaccination sequence, although it is kept in good taste.

The iron determination to entertain military soldiers is evident as the doctors give Snafu a jab directly on his tattoo of a burlesque woman's rear end. In reaction, the inanimate figure springs to motion as she yells in pain. The gag is successful in spontaneity and timing combined.

Psychology is used inventively and hysterically to deceive Snafu in getting his vaccination. A doctor hands Snafu a document to grant him a three-day pass. The doctor's hand deliberately drops it in front of Snafu, and as he bends down to retrieve it: a giant booster pricks his rear end. Freleng's comic timing blends well for the anticipation and reaction to the booster shot.

The use of risque imagery on women is also there; especially in a scene to emphasise Snafu's utopian fantasy. Snafu is seen treated with royalty as he's being comforted by the company of women dressed semi-naked. While the scenario has been depicted in animated cartoons beforehand, the girls' clothing is incredibly racy. Not only is this seen through the feature of the navel; but one girl is wearing a see-through veil around her naked body.

Snafu exploits his power and authority over the army; as he allows his privates to loathe around with women - without consideration on enhancing military training. His fun is other as he is warned by a sudden appearance of Technical Fairy, who warns him of an incoming German raid.

Thanks to Snafu's incompetence, he discovers his troops have become undisciplined for combat - leaving his predicament in turmoil. This builds to a suspenseful climax, as a German plane releases a bomb, targeting the army base.

Snafu turns to cowardice as he digs a hole in the ground and buries himself underneath, leaving his rear end sticking out. This marks the earliest use of Raymond Scott's Powerhouse, which has since been popularised in capturing the energy and spirit during Warners' golden era.

The gag escalates, as the Nazi bomb abruptly halts in anticipation; by pinning a target poster on Snafu's rear end and then, creating destruction all round. The impact cross-dissolves back to reality; where Snafu awakens from the nightmare his sickbed. And so, the morale is enforced on Snafu; who becomes even more motivated in performing his duties. The Technical Fairy appears in the last shot, informing him: "The morale, Snafu, is the harder you woik, the sooner we gonna beat Hitler, that joik!"

Gripes presents an exaggerated, yet believable representation of desires and idealism. Snafu's fantasy is visually well expressed in emphasising the sense of escapism that is otherwise not practical. The moral built around the short is very encouraging and patriotic, as well as a rare moment in Snafu not "fouling up" in reality. Friz Freleng's take on Snafu is sublime, as more depth is given to his personality, instead of a mere typical portrayal of a buffoon. The introduction of the Technical Fairy is a great addition; as the character adds some scope built around the series' environment.