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Red-Headed Baby (1931) - Merrie Melodies musical short from Warner Brothers. This is one of those hallucinatory early cartoons with a lot of big-eyed characters moving in unsettling unison as they sing a creaky number. A bunch of toys come to life, and a toy soldier woos the doll of the title until a spider shows up.  Sober: 6/10...Intoxicated: 8/10

 

Source: Warners DVD, extra on the 1931 Cimarron.

 

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Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (1931) - The first Merrie Melodies cartoon. A motley assortment of animals in a Mexican cantina sing and dance. The title song had been a big pop hit. It's not just the animals dancing, as even the building itself and the surrounding foliage get into the act.  7/10

 

Source: Warners DVD, an extra on Little Caesar.

 

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Smile, Darn Ya, Smile! (1931) - Merrie Melodies muscial cartoon featuring Foxy, here working as a trolley car engineer running into all sorts of problems, like a fat hippo lady. Silly but amusing in its creaky way.   6/10

 

Source: Warners DVD, an extra on The Public Enemy.

 

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Yesterday, as a continued part of 2017 catchup, I watched a Japanese animated film called Your Name., which debuted in Japan in 2016, but was only widely shown here in 2017. It was a big hit in its native country, one of the biggest films ever there. Its a hypnotic, dreamlike film that even though the storyline is very tangled and confusing, it does not matter when it is done with so much originality, sincerity, sympathy, and wonder. The film, a fantasy, gets off to a misguidingly simple start, two teenagers, a boy and a girl, switch bodies mysteriously ala Freaky Friday time and again. But that is only the tip of the iceburg here, as the story eventually becomes a story of young love against all odds including matters of life, death, time travel, time warps, and fading memories. Yes, the story is jumbled, but the emotional impact is tremendous. Well worth a watch.

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