A scene from A CLOSE CALL, directed by Harry Bailey and John Foster for Pathé.

A Close Call (1929, Harry Bailey and John Foster)

A Close Call is a very strange little cartoon.

First, it’s an early talkie, so everyone’s very excited about synchronized sound. So much so, in fact, a church choir breaks out into “You’re In The Army Now.” It’s a very odd song choice.

But not as odd as the rest of Call.

The cartoon concerns two mice in love. The boy gets into some trouble when he pulls off his sweetie’s skirt to use it as an accordion. In nothing but her bloomers, she’s not happy with him and neither notice the big evil cat arrive and kidnap her.

Now, the cat’s not trying to eat her. Oh, no, not at all. He’s an amorous vicious psychopath. While making goo goo eyes at the girl mouse, he’s trying to torture the male one.

The drawing is often rough and the animation’s bad, but the strangeness makes the cartoon undeniably compelling.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Harry Bailey and John Foster; produced by Paul Terry and Amadee J. Van Beuren; released by Pathé.

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