Archive for February 6th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(USA 1952 6m) DVD2 (France only)

Hey, Figaro!

p  Fred Quimby  d  Tex Avery  w  Rich Hogan  md  Scott Bradley  m  “The Barber of Seville” by Giaocchino Rossini

What is it about cartoons and classical music?  Not just the epic Fantasia, but even in short subjects.  Library music as they called it provided cheap musical backing to their pieces, but in the cartoon world nothing is played straight.  Think of Tom & Jerry sabotaging Liszt in The Cat Concerto, or of Bugs et al causing carnage in arguably their finest hour, What’s Opera Doc?  How would Tex Avery approach the formality of classical music?  No surprises which composer he chose, that most breathless of operatic masters, Rossini, and his most breathless of all arias, “Largo al Factotum”.  In actual fact, there had been cartoons starring both Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker featuring this piece (The Rabbit of Seville and The Barber of Seville respectively) but neither come close to Tex.  It may not quite have been his greatest cartoon, but it’s still one of his masterpieces, and the last to hit those heights.

            Like so many cartoons it’s set in an anthropomorphic world populated by dogs.  On opening night of Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’ starring renowned baritone Poochini (an ironic pun if ever there was one) an unemployed magician comes to the stage entrance of the theatre thinking it a regular theatre.  Interrupting Poochini’s preparing for the night’s performance, he proceeds to demonstrate his abilities, only to be kicked out on his ear.  Waving his wand he makes a flowerpot and two white rabbits appear, then comes up with a devilish plan to substitute himself for the conductor and proceed to ruin Poochini’s big night.  (more…)

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