Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taken For A Ride Pt.4

No-one re-used themes like Joe De Nat. As late as 1937 (and probably after) De Nat was still reusing themes he had composed for the Toby the Pup series in 1930. Evidently Columbia had no music library to draw on (as did Paramount and Warner Bros.) thus most of the Mintz scores were fairly nondescript workings of public domain songs and and a few original themes which were repeated with alarming frequency throughout the 30's Scrappy and Krazy Kat series. If the Mintz cartoons in their prime (1930-1935) ever had an achilles heel this would surely come at  (or very near to) the top of the list. Regardless the cartoons themselves were good and De Nat's basic scoring could be surprisingly effective. 'Taken For A Ride' is one such example. In the film De Nat underscores the action much the way a silent film organist might with liberal doses of famailliar themes (in this case the funeral march) and basic musical motifs to describe  the action. Intentional or (likely) not, De Nat's minimalist approach gives 'Taken For A Ride' a true sense of foreboding. In fact, the long breaks between scoring remind me of the effective opening reel of 'Dracula' following 'Swan Lake': the conspicuous lack of music creating a great deal of the tension. When TFAR does have music it lurks quietly beneath the action rather than determining it - at least until the very very end. That will be covered in Part 5.

As Krazy descends the stairs, and the threat returns from ghosts back to gangsters, we are reintroduced to our lead villain of indiscriminate species (I've always presumed gorilla) as he fondles a bag of coins. Kitty waves to Krazy. The tense, almost noir,  lighting reminds me a little of another scene with gangsters: 'Showdown' (Famous Studios Superman, 1942).

Unaware of Krazy's presence, the gorilla scowls at Kitty. Note that he has retained his bandage from the earlier sequence (although his feet are now white).
Kitty placates the big oaf.

He slaps his cheeks like a retard.

He roars like a lion.

Krazy reaches for his 'piece'.

Krazy's dialog is unintelligible to me here. Can anybody out there make it out?
Big smile.

Two words: Pistol Mouth! Krazy's barrel goes flaccid. Words escape me on scenes like this.

Krazy's realizes he's in trouble as two goons (one with a very threatening musket) surround him from behind. Check Kitty's expression.

"No, not that"

He notices the box on the floor. I knew it was there for some reason.

... to hold the roller skates of course!

They ... are going ... to ... take him ... for ... a ... ride ...

Part 5 Coming Soon!

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