Uncle Tom's Cabaña (1947)
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Naturally, this cartoon is loosely based on "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with Uncle Tom telling the "real story" of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Uncle is about to lose his "little cabin" (smack dab in the middle of a big city no less!) to the evil Simon LeGree. So he calls his friend "Little Nell", a beautiful southern belle, to help him. They come up with the idea of making the cabin into a night club to raise money to pay the mortgage. Of course Simon tries to steal the money, until he sees the beautiful Nell!
The reason you will never see this cartoon today on t.v. because it is not 'politically correct' because the way that Uncle Tom is portrayed, which was typical of the day. There are also sexual overtones that some people today might find offensive. The suggestive sexual overtones were a Tex Avery hallmark, remember Red Hot Riding Hood? Tex felt that Disney had the kid audience locked up, so he went after the teen agers, and young adults. Ironically, the little kids saw his cartoons and laughed just as hard as everybody else, not having a clue on what some of the gags were about.
If you like Tex Avery cartoons, and have yet to see this one, keep looking, it's worth it!
It is "banned" because of its pretty offensive racist stereotypes.
So if you watch this today, you could be in several different minds at once. You could see it the way it was intended, an amusement with jokes about cartooning. You could see the abstraction involved. The bad guy is a smarmy white stereotype with distinct prejudices. (I will not mention them.). The "girl" is a performing object. The "little guy" is a fat, boastful black.
You could see it as yet another drop in the ocean of oppression of an entire people. But then the unintended brilliance of the story comes into play: abstraction, exaggerated storytelling, money, class.
Whether something is worth watching has to do with the state you watch it in.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
Checking on Youtube for the film,I was disappointed to only find 30 second clips from the short,with comments underneath saying that Youtube have "banned" the full thing from being put loaded up,due to some of the racist nature of the movie.
Struggleing to find any sign of the full film,I started to do an extensive video search online,until I thankfully ended up finding the movie,being kept in the corner,hidden from view.
Sitting down with a group of children outside his cabin,Uncle Tom begins to tell them about how his cabin almost got knocked down.
Finding him and his small cabin stuck between the skyscrapers of New York,Tom decides that no matter how much money is offered to him the sell the land,he is going to stay firm and keep his home safe.
Furious over Tom not selling the land,businessmen Simon Legree visits the cabin,and tells Tom that if he is unable to pay his mortgage by tomorrow,he will be chucked straight out of his beloved cabin.
Upset over not having a single penny on him,Tom phones his friend Little Eva to tell her his woes.Sadden by hearing Tom so upset,Eva gives Tom the lifeline he needs,when she tells him that they may just about be able to save his cabin,if they turn it into a cabana.
View on the film:
Being made 67 years ago,the animation designs by Tex Avery are unsurprisingly not that pc,with Avery giving Legree pointed ears and a hooked nose,whilst Uncle Tom is given greatly exaggerated lips.
Despite the designs of the characters in the movie (which is a follow-up to Avery's still banned 1937 (!) Uncle Tom's Cabin) being off putting,director Avery and writer Heck Allen are impressively able to make a short that is still zany,very funny and also a little ahead of its time.Mocking Harriet Beecher stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin novel,Avery make this cigar-chomping Uncle Tom one who is real feisty,who also makes the woman who helped him out, (little Eva) his co-business partner and treats her as an equal!.
Along with the paring of Tom and Eva,Avery's makes Legree's reaction to catching an eyeful of Eva as something particularly funny in this great short which has sadly been left to fade into history.
This short kind of has a racist look on black people, although it means well, I guess. It is one thing I don't like about it, but even if you are not bothered by that, it is not very funny anyway. I had no real laughs here and that is a strange thing with a Tex Avery short. Personally I think there are better shorts to watch.
Also have much admiration for Tex Avery, an animation genius whose best cartoons are animated masterpieces and some of the best ever made by anybody. 'Uncle Tom's Cabana' is very stereotypical, especially in its portrayal of Uncle Tom, and the stereotypes in design, speech and behaviour are not for the faint hearted or easily offended (even for a decade where racism and stereotypes were rife). Can see why, they are not particularly flattering and very unsubtle for Avery. It's not one of Avery's funniest or most inventive cartoons.
Having said that, it is the better one of his Uncle Tom cartoons and oddly enough there are more offensive cartoons, especially 'Angel Puss', 'Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat' and the human Tom and Jerry cartoon 'Plane Dumb'.
Character designs apart, the animation is rich in detail, has handsome background art and lush colours. Scott Bradley's music score is as ever superb, lushly and cleverly orchestrated, with lively and energetic rhythms, it's also beautifully synchronised with the action and gestures/expressions and even enhances the impact.
There are fun moments, a less flimsy story than one would expect, lively timing and excellent voice acting from particularly Paul Frees.
Overall, not for all tastes but while not always my cup of tea it was interesting and fun enough. 7/10 Bethany Cox