Kitty Cornered

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 13, 2015

Great open. It’s 9 o’clock of a winter evening, and everyone is tossing their cats out of the door. Porky expels three Sylvester-like felines, and then a fourth, tiny kitten throws him out. This is a Bob Clampett film all over the place. It’s really manic, really energetic, chock-full of jokes. In this case—sometimes Clampett’s films have/are too much of a good thing—the jokes are pretty well all successful. For instance the room that becomes a billiard table, or the part where they pull on that moose bust and the whole moose body pops out. There’s much of surrealism here, with happy impossibilities, and a lot of the gags that feature physics and plausibility-defying transformations and metamorphoses. There’s a fun War of the Worlds (Welles) bit, and at one point the cats turn into four Teddy Roosevelts. Over on the commentary track, animation historian Michael Barrier expresses appreciation for that, and for this whole fine film. Think about it. Imagine achieving a feeling of spontaneity when subject to such a belaboured process as animation! Even the most middling of animated programs deserve at the very least our logistical respect. But when they’re this good? Wow!