Silly Symphonies

film 49 of 61

Three Little Wolves

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

The wide world enters into what had previously, mostly, been a pretty protected, insular institutional space. Three Little Wolves¬†begins with the wolf family planning an attack, setting forth their plan by means of a call-and-response song performed in pastiche German. Hitler parallels abound, while other possible parallels confound, or contradict, in interesting ways. Do the very American Practical Pig’s resolute efforts mean that he intends to oppose what would eventually become the Axis? Way back in 1936?

There are a couple of comic constructions here that are pursued with great insistence, and fervour. The part where Big Bad is arrayed in Bo-Peep drag, for instance, or the elaborate excess of the wolf pacifying machine. It is a buzzsaw, a head-basher, a flying of boots and boxing gloves, a tar-and-feather machine (!), and a cannon. Any questions? It’s an entertaining concoction, but it’s messy too. It strains, what with the times, a desire to say something meaningful about them, and the overriding imperative to sell a product. Will it be cuteness, comedy, or moral meaning? All. Or none. Despite all that, because of all that, this film is still very much worth your while.