Tweetie Pie

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 13, 2015

The first film in which Tweety and Sylvester appear together, and the first WB cartoon to receive an Oscar. And Tom and Jerry were the inspiration. Some start: a freezing, snow-filled yard at night, and Tweety trying to warm himself over a cigar butt. Sylvester/ Thomas is hiding in that snowman—a nice combination of lurking monster (vulnerable little protagonist) and silliness. Here’s the first iteration of that evolutionary inevitability. Granny makes the cat kiss the bird. He eats it instead. Take note, moralists: this is what happens when Sunday School meets naturalism. It gets annihilated! Unless it has a sense of smell, that is, a sense of the way things really run. Or, Granny. Note the pizzicati strings, and the comic business occurring just outside of the frame.

Tweetie Pie features lots of really good jokes, and some really striking things. That pile of modernist/industrial furniture. To which Tweety takes a blow torch. Note the direct address. The helicopter, the fishing rod winch, the great part with Tweety unsuccessfully trying to make some noise under that glass. With reassuring predictability, he pulls a pin out from somewhere. Chimneys and firewood, and a gas explosion. Near the end we have a crazy Coyote-like contraption, which leads, somehow inevitably, to its inventor having his head crunched by a bowling ball. At the end Sylvester saws a hole in the floor, and the room falls down (High Diving Hare, etc.). Gregg Ford finds this to contain the template for the rest, an authority figure trying to handle two bickering brothers. One great things about the genre pictures (as opposed to one-offs) is that they can take that template and work in little, pleasing repetitions. So, like the Roadrunner, though not.