Three Little Bops

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 13, 2015

Great title graphics! They’ve recruited the Shorty Rogers ensemble for this jazzy update of Disney’s Three Little Pigs. They’re performing in another idiom, obviously, but what they produce is very much on par with WB’s customarily outstanding musical accompaniments.

This time the wolf just wants to join the pigs’ band. The pigs do that perforated outline of a square that you’ll often see around this period. Nothing doing! The wolf is persistent. This time there’s no straw, sticks or bricks, but rather three different, succeeding jazz clubs. It’s a fun idea, allowing for some fun design variations as they lay out these separate spaces. For some reason we always enjoy it when they include that Liberace “I wish my brother George were here” joke. There’s a record of Billy Barty doing that for a Spike Jones TV show, in the ’50s I think. It was funny!

Anyway, I wonder what exactly this cartoon is saying or doing, here in 1957. A satire on squares? Anti-old people, even? Pandering, or maybe just trying to appeal to youth culture? Or to a perception, or a sub-section of youth culture? Is it actually a serious reflection on the travails of fittin’ in? Intention is often and maybe always hard to pin down. As for reception though, or the way we feel as spectators, it’s up to us!

Unexpectedly—though Tex Avery’s Blitz Wolf preceded him—this wolf ends up in hell. “You gotta get hot to play real cool,” he says. Nice punch line, actually.