Putty Tat Trouble

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

This is a really super setting/situation, with little Tweety like some avian pillar saint perched in the cold between those two very urban apartment buildings. It’s Beckett-like, elemental, primordial. How vulnerable are the little ones! Except that, once again, this particular little one isn’t actually very vulnerable at all. Here we see the meek inheriting the earth, maybe because those appearances are actually pretty deceptive. Maybe that’s how that one will actually play out, at least a little bit.

Putty Tat Trouble is not very consistent with its setting, nor with the urban naturalism that tended to emerge from it. In this way, I guess, it’s like some of WB’s fun and friendly domestications of the horror genre and its anxious preoccupations (Water, Water Every Hare, etc.). That’s similar to some of the archetypal hard things found in the standard fairy tales, subsequently and quite antically de-fanged/clawed by the likes of Sesame Street. This is a good process, and an important one. Here are the realities, kids. They’re very real, in fact. It won’t always be easy. But you’ll be all right.

Ever notice? Tweety is never scared!

This second cat provides real possibilities, on which the production ensemble follows through quite admirably. In a strange way he takes Sylvester out of antagonism and into a purer, more abstract kind of grappling. Striving is all, so much that what what you strive for doesn’t really matter. Or, war impulses are raised to the point of absurdity by the miniscule objective over which they’re all battling. You can use these films to illustrate whatever thesis you might happen to be urging!

There’s a really great stair shot. The fine dippy bird sequence is accompanied by some really effective music, a particular hallmark of the Freleng films. Sound effects are also terrific. (That would be Treg Brown, one of film history’s most unheralded stalwarts.) They import sounds that you wouldn’t quite expect, giving flesh in ways you would never have imagined. Right there is one of the roots of comedy, or, if you concentrate a bit, of wonder.

What a conclusion, on the ice there. Exemplary construction, all for the sake and enhancement of a pretty powerful set of ideas, or implications. So good!