A Broken Leghorn

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

Busybodies mock as poor Prissy makes her daily attempt to lay an egg. H.C. Andersen’s “The Neighbours”? Brian de Palma’s take on Stephen King’s Carrie? Mr. F. Leghorn decides to help, by means of a surreptitious switcheroo. He refers to Prissy so tenderly. “Now to slip this egg under old square britches.”

A boy child is born, and Leghorn gets more than he bargained for. Now it’s Oedipus, or the Oedipus complex! It turns out that this infant crows more potently than the fading adult rooster. This isn’t just Oedipus, but an explicit tale about fading virility, and the superannuation of the alpha male.

Now, as F.L. tries to maintain the upper hand, the picture really effectively explores patterns of adult oppression—“you’re not looking at me boy”—and also of childish contrariness. Sometimes kids are disobedient and naughty. Sometimes, it would seem, they’re right to take our heads off.

“Yay-us.” Such an imperishable line reading!

That chicken crossing the road ploy is awfully violent, and nicely reversed by the youngster. “I don’t think I did that right.  You show me.” This is pretty ancient, even if it is fabulous wish fulfillment. The bully can’t concentrate, and the deceiver can’t keep track of his chicaneries. The dynamite gag is great. “Hardy-har-har.” Just a great vocal performance. Leghorn is banished in a very satisfying ending.