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Bacall to Arms
Bacall to Arms
Directed By: Bob Clampett (planned)
Arthur Davis (finished)
Friz Freleng (animation from She Was an Acrobat's Daughter
Produced By: Eddie Selzer
Released: August 3, 1946
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story:
Animation: Rod Scribner
Don Williams
Manny Gould
I. Ellis
Layouts: Thomas McKimson
Philip DeGuard
Backgrounds: Thomas McKimson
Philip DeGuard
Film Editor: Treg Brown (uncredited)
Voiced By: Mel Blanc (uncredited)
June Foray (uncredited)
Dave Barry (uncredited)
Robert C. Bruce (uncredited)
Music: Carl Stalling
Starring: Bogey Gocart
Laurie Be-Cool
Mother in Law
Wolf
Fat Theater Patron
Henpecked Husband
Lion
Duckling
Rochester Soundalike
Newsreel Narrator
Preceded By: The Great Piggy Bank Robbery
Succeeded By: Of Thee I Sting


Bacall to Arms is a 1946 Merrie Melodies short directed by Bob Clampett. Neither Clampett (he was left uncredited because he had left the studio before the cartoon was released) nor voice characterizations are credited. Mel Blanc's voice is recognizable as a fat theater patron (the hippo from She Was An Acrobat's Daughter) and the Elmer Fudd-looking, Sylvester the Cat-sounding man in the newsreel story about how war radios can be used to detect when a mother-in-law is coming to stay at a married man's house. Impressionest Dave Barry portrays the voice of Humphrey Bogart.

This is notable for being the first film directed by Arthur Davis (even though there is no director credit present).

Title

The title refers both to Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and the late actress Lauren Bacall, whose acclaimed film debut was in To Have and Have Not, based on another Hemingway novel.

Plot

The cartoon is set in a movie theater. Various random gags occur before the film, such as one patron moving to another seat another patron taking the vacated seat, and so on, accelerating into a free-for-all. While the theater is in color, the films-within-the-film are black-and-white. A short "newsreel" is narrated by Robert C. Bruce.

The main feature is a film called To Have- To Have- To Have- ..., a parody on To Have and Have Not. It includes reasonably realistic, possibly rotoscoped images of Bogie and Bacall, who are credited as "Bogey Gocart and Laurie Becool". In addition to recreating a few well-known scenes from that film (the kissing scene; the "put your lips together and blow" scene), the players sometimes lapse into slapstick (Bacall lighting her cigarette with a blowtorch, à la Harpo Marx; or letting loose with a loud, shrill whistle after her famous sultry comment) and interact with the theater audience.

Although the theater was initially full, it is eventually seen to be empty except for one patron: a lone wolf in a zoot suit who goes ga-ga over Bacall. The final gag has the wolf grabbing a cigarette that was dropped in the film and jumps off the screen, and Bogie shoots him. He hands it to Bogie and it explodes, covering him with "blackface". Bogie suddenly adopts a "Rochester" voice, and says, "My, oh my! I can work for Mr. Benny now!"

Availability

Censorship

  • The entire ending where the Tex Avery-esque wolf happily puffs on Laurie Be-Cool's cigarette, only to get shot by Bogey Go-Cart, who retrieves the cigarette and smokes it (only to get blown up and turn blackfaced, replying, "My, oh, my! I can work for Mr. Benny now!" à la Rochester) was cut when shown on TNT.[1]
  • According to Jerry Beck's DVD commentary on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 5, this cartoon's choppy, incomplete feel was a result of Bob Clampett never completing the cartoon due to his departure from Warner Brothers Studios and most of the missing scenes are said to be lost to time.

Notes

  • The credits for the fictitious film "To Have...etc" are:
  • Thief.............Oph Bagdad
  • Doctor...........Jekyll
  • Lawyer...........Ima Shyster
  • Beggar Man....Kismet
  • Poor Man........John Dough

Gallery

References

  1. http://satamhangover.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/episode-2-cut-and-drawn-9-to-1

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