blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Iron Man (1931, Harry Bailey and John Foster)

A scene from THE IRON MAN, directed by Harry Bailey and John Foster for RKO-Pathé Distributing Corp.

The Iron Man‘s protagonist is not the Iron Man itself (himself?), which shows up after the halfway point. The protagonist is a cantankerous old man with some magic powers. He lives amongst all the adorable cartoon animals who sing and dance happily and he does what he can to ruin their days.

He’s a bad guy. He also doesn’t show up for the first two minutes, which seems long in a seven minute cartoon, but the unlikable aspect is more interesting. He’s not a lovable jerk, he’s not even funny. He probably would kick a kitten.

The cartoon is beautifully animated. Even in black and white, the backgrounds are lush with feeling. Not a lot of detail, but directors Bailey and Foster know what’s important to include.

It could go on longer. The final gag is way too brief.

Man‘s oddly thought provoking, especially how it handles narrative structure.



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


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