One Froggy Evening

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 13, 2015

Surely this is their greatest one-off. Greatest one-off by anyone. Greatest thing by anyone, maybe. This concept is surpassing ridiculous. Except that that frog really does give it his all! There are a lot of great faces here, especially our promoter, with his broken nose. Note also the very crafty use of silence. This is basically like Chaplin’s Modern Times: a very carefully arranged and executed musical score, with only the musical numbers being synchronized. There it was historical; here it sets the frog apart, and also isolates that poor guy from the rest of humanity. It isolates us too—we’ve seen the frog do it, but it doesn’t do the guy, or us, any good. There’s something very zoological going on here; in the prospective agent’s office that creature is profoundly, physiologically, floppily, a frog.

The Irish song! Note the foreground/background in the I’m Just Wild… sequence/shot. This song selection is actually very significant, very interesting in a specific historical sense. Between these lines is a huge industrial and cultural shift, with sheet music about to give way to sound recording. The period songs are really wonderfully, really admiringly selected. Each piece evokes a particular period, each one is funny, and each is, when you consider, a touching triumph of the popular songwriter’s art. And they’re an emblem of what these animators are up to.

More superb joke construction, of course. This is theater of cruelty, or the objective correlative (the humiliation and absurdity of sales, or of the entrepreneurial?), or the universal nightmare/reality of the talent or invention or boy/girlfriend that just doesn’t show in public. Psychopathic Hospital, eh? There’s a bit of Duck Dodgers in the epilogue.