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    Betty Boop the Essential Collection 2013

    • 1937-11-26T05:00:00+00:00
    • 2013-08-20T08:00:00+01:00
    • 85 mins
    • 17 hours, 0 mins
    • Animation, Children
    When Betty Boop made her debut in "Dizzy Dishes" in 1930, she had something no other cartoon character did: a genuine female anatomy and believably feminine style of movement. In "Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle" (1932), she danced a hula wearing only a lei and a grass skirt. Her comic sex appeal attracted not only her regular costars Bimbo and Koko, but every male in the vicinity, down to the king on a chessboard. Walt Disney pushed his artists to greater realism and believability; Fleischer Studios took the "rubber house" animation of the 1920s to its logical conclusion: an elastic, metamorphic, often surreal style. The characters bend and stretch like so much Silly Putty; plants and inanimate objects grow limbs and faces to comment on the action. (A flower is so scandalized by Betty's hula, it buries its head in the sand, leaving its roots in the air.) In contrast to the lush Technicolor beauty of Disney's Silly Symphonies, the Betty Boop cartoons have an urban, black-and-white edginess that fits the jazz soundtracks. Despite the character's continuing popularity, there's never been a satisfactory set of Betty shorts on disc--until now. The prints in the Essential Collection are clean, clear, and free from dirt and scratches. The black on the characters seems a bit intense in places, but the delicate ink-wash backgrounds have been lovingly preserved. In addition to "Bamboo Isle," high points include Betty's impressions of Fanny Brice and Maurice Chevalier in "Betty Boop's Rise to Fame" (1934) and her comic politics in "Betty Boop for President" (1932). Oddly, this first volume doesn't include "Dizzy Dishes" or the three cartoons set to Cab Calloway songs that are the high point of the series. Presumably they'll be included in later installments. The Essential Collection is the set Betty's fans have been waiting for. (Unrated; suitable for ages 8 and older: cartoon violence, risqué humor, ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon

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