Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Short Subject: Figaro and Cleo (1943)

Not a very creative title, but the title card itself looks great.

Not only is the title bland, but it only describes about half the short.  The opening and ending song say it’s a tale about a kitty and a fish, but we also spend time seeing Figaro attack knitting and bothering the house keeper while she is sweeping the stairs.

And oh yes the housekeeper.  She gives the short the issue of having a stereotypical portly black woman being a maid.  The voice work is clearly meant to reinforce that and the part where she takes a nap bothers me, because I don’t know it’s supposed to be a jab about black people being lazy.  It’s possible considering she is also shown sweeping dirt under a rug, and that if the story people wanted her out of the way so Figaro could attack Cleo she could have just been in another room doing something else as Minnie was in ‘Figaro and Frankie’.

So for me this short was just okay.  Most of the short had nothing to do with Cleo, and almost all of her animation is reused from Pinocchio.  The song is nice though, Figaro is fun to watch as always, and the housekeeper stuff is not completely cringeworthily, because at least she helps Figaro at the end when he falls into Cleo’s bowl and rewards him with milk when he promises not to try and eat Cleo anymore.

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