Inaccurate Junk and Disgraceful to the Original Animators
Jon | NY | 02/11/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I found this dvd terribly overpriced, yet I finally bit the bullet and shelled out.
What a mistake - the narration is inane and misleading in terms of Betty's history (it is made to sound like "Snow White" was an effort by the studio to get Betty back on track and woo the movie-going public - it is in fact one of the earlier Jazz efforts when her skirt was still short) and very little of the narration or interviews provides insight into what made Betty popular in the first place: namely the risque, jazz, "acid" and spooky elements that make up the first few years of her series and appearances in 'Talkartoons'.
The man who should have been interviewed for this special (indeed, should have narrated it)was Leslie Cabarga, who wrote a wonderful book titled "The Fleischer Story" in the early 1970's - a remarkably well researched book, full of enthusiasm, love and respect for the material.
I suspect Richard Fleischer's (son of Max) inclusion in this special was incumbent on Mr.Cabarga's absence, as bickering factions of the Fleischer clan had previously chosen sides over whether to cooperate with Cabarga's research or not.
But the real slap in the face, which affects all viewers and not just those scholarly types, is that more than two thirds of the animation portrayed during this special are re-"black and whited" versions of colorised copies made in the 1980's of the original black and white cartoons.
Worse still, characters in motion are virtually re-drawn and animated at a lower frame rate, making the originally beautiful smooth animation now jerky and awkward - a disgrace to the work of the animators who put so much love and soul into these amazing cartoons, since the work here portrayed is supposed to be of a "historical" and "scholarly" bent.
I've never met a Fleischer fan who claimed that the later, "tame", long skirted, unfunny domestic Betty was an improvement, yet here we are presented with veteran animator Myron Waldman (may he rest in Peace) informing us that he always hated those peripheral elements in Betty's cartoons like the character Bimbo - who I think, along with Ko Ko, only aided Betty's appearances.
Pudgy vs Bimbo? No contest. Perhaps they might have found a Fleischer Studios animator whose opinion of the elements that made Betty's cartoons so popular in the first place was a little higher and not at odds with the lessons of history: namely, that turning Betty into Mrs.Cleaver is what spelled the series' demise, and not, as this special suggests, because her former Flapper looks was somehow out of style with late Thirties America.
Betty and the Fleischer studios animators who created her deserved better."
Betty Boop: Technique-Focused
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 10/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The usual Biography installment has approximately 5 interviewees and you can see the narrator at the beginning and end of the work. This work on Betty Boop had two interviewees and the narrator is never seen. I really think this work was intended to focus on the technical aspects of this cartoon, rather than anything else.
You learn stuff here. Betty Boop was originally a dog-like cartoon. Cartoons were meant for all ages, not just children, and thus they had many double entendres. Cartoons were made by young, American men. In the autobiography of Bart's voice, she said the Simpsons are drawn and painted in Korea. So much has changed in animation.
This film had modern people raving about Betty Boop. However, her popularity could have been proven by showing some famous person from the 1930 raving about her. The narrator says, "Betty Boop offered a female lead character at a time when feminism was unheard-of." WRONG! First-wave feminists organized to get women the right to vote 10 years before Betty's creation. Further, Betty's depiction takes from the 1920s New Woman and a bit from flappers. This work really could have benefited from an interviewee with a academic knowledgeable about feminism and media studies. They say she launched Popeye's career, but I wonder if Olive Oyl were drawn in response/opposite to her.
This work says Betty is still popular. However, it says nothing of her guest appearance in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" It says nothing about the 1990s dance song "Betty Boo just doin' the doo." It seem truncated and incomplete at times."