Scaredy Cat

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

The first of an eventual trio of Porky/Sylvester Gothics. That’s some shot, when Sylvester bounces down the stairs there. It’s probably easy to forget how well timed and composed and calculated these films are, and all with the added difficulty of this agonizing process of animation.

This is an important story type, isn’t it? And a frustrating one too. One character knows that something is wrong, to the point of that something being quite direly wrong. The audience, seeing the situation through that character’s eyes, knows it as well. And no one else believes it! This motif has a number of uses or advantages. First, simply, it enhances our interest in the situation, and in the character too. It could deepen our sense of sympathy for the person confronting a moral challenge, or a necessary but difficult moral task. It tells us how important it is to do what’s right, but that it is also, often quite difficult to do so.

Further, it’s actually connected to one of the most fundamental tropes in children’s literature.Do you remember why Mordecai Richler gave the protagonist of those three kids’ books of his the name Jacob Two Two? It’s because he said everything twice. That’s not the most important thing though. Why did he do that? Because adults never listen to children! In that lies the frustration, the truth and, potentially, the appeal of this otherwise aggravating situation.

A last reason to use it is more simply sadistic. It bugs people! As Mr. Hitchcock used to say, it’s fun to put the audience through it.

There’s a little homily at the end here, as Sylvester, who might actually be justified if he were to throw up his hands and leave, does the difficult right thing. And gets brained for it.