Old Glory

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 13, 2015

Porky doesn’t know why he has to learn the Pledge of Allegiance. Uncle Sam shows up to put him straight. You don’t appreciate it, Porky, but the colonists did! Porky Pig is usually an adult, more or less. They infantilize him here, the better to make their patriotic/didactic point, as well as to hint at the real attitude that someone—not Jones, surely!—had toward the perceived audience for these pictures. When this kind of communication goes wrong it can be oppressively sanctimonious, as in this case.

Horribly exaggerated titles. We’ve got Fleischer-like rotoscoping (Patrick Henry, who gets freeze-framed at the moment when he turns into a L. Chaney’s Phantom-looking Paul Revere). Here’s the Declaration, a big 1776 title, and those three marching guys. There’s the Constitution, George Washington, a vast movement west—somewhat inaptly characterized by the beating of those infernal Indian drums. The message is completely, uncritically manifest destiny, as one might expect. At Mr. Lincoln’s appearance Porky awakes, reproved and repentant. The times have changed, and this wasn’t even meant for the likes of me. That said, and so explained, I respond. What horrible propaganda! And not a single joke either.