Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cartoon a Day: Musical Moments from Chopin

Musical Moments from Chopin
Directed by Duck Lundy
Available on: Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection.

There is a long and strange tradition of cartoon characters having the hidden talent of being concert pianists. I can think of other shorts in which Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry display such skills, but in today's cartoon it's Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda who tickle the ivories.

he short begins with Andy playing for a barnyard crowd. Soon, Woody comes along with a pail of Piano Polish to clean the piano. However, he soon joins in and eventually pulls another piano over to play along with Andy. These are the sequences of the film that work best. There is some great interaction between the two characters. The abrasive (both in character and design) Woody plays off of the cuddly Andy Panda very well.

As the film progresses, however, it gets too caught up in the antics of the members of the audience. Focusing on the two main characters would've been much more interesting. Luckily, one of the audiences members accidentally causes a fire to break out which gives the short a strong finish as Andy and Woody fight off the flames as they try to play.

Cartoons that are pretty much "choreographed" to music are often some of my favorites. Whether it's "The Skeleton Dance," "Fantasia" or somewhere in between, these type of cartoons are fascinating. This particular short would've been stronger if it had focused more on the two piano players, but is still a strong musical short.

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