Canned Feud

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

Here’s another admirably simple scenario. They forgot to put out the cat before they went on holiday, locking the door behind him. He’s going to starve. But wait. Here is salvation, in the form of endless cans of cat food and tuna. “All I need now is the can opener…” And of course, every possible utensil is on hand except for that one. Sisyphus! With reassuring modern accoutrements.

Very cruel, very funny. What a lot of good jokes are here. The axe head and the letter slot! The advent of the mouse really helps move the story along, or provide for a multiplication of comic possibility. The electrocution sound effects are terrific. (Again, always, don’t these films sound wholesome?) The saw gag is a nice variation of the Marx Brothers at the mirror routine. (Also undertaken by Max Linder, Charley Chase, everyone else in the vaudevillian and music hall world.) Note the vacuum and coals sequence—beautifully planned and executed. The mouse, like Tweety, is utterly unthreatened. Interesting to note that in this case we identify with the cat. I did anyway. Is it because he speaks? I do, anyway.

How’s this conclusion for a bit of exquisite, infernal cruelty? He’s found the opener. But not the key! Now two fun options open up. Either this is the initiation of an eternal entropic spiral, or it’s progress, little by little, toward a goal. Sequel, please!