Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Snow White" with Betty Boop (1933)

One of the most remarkable things in this cartoon is the performance by Cab Calloway of “St. James Infirmary Blues.” The story is about Betty; who finds herself having to deal with her evil step-mom, the Queen. The Queen spends her time gazing into a looking glass, assuring herself that she is the most beautiful woman around. That is, until Betty shows up.

When the Queen’s magic mirror, along with all of the servants, declare that Betty is the “fairest in the land”, the Queen is horrified and orders Betty put to death. But the royal subjects all have other plans for Betty, and they fake her execution and burial, much to the delight of the Queen. But where has Betty really gone?

With the help of the Queen’s knights, and even the tree to which she is bound in a snowstorm, Betty is frozen into a block of ice and placed in a coffin constructed by the Seven Dwarfs. But the Queen grows wise to the deception and goes after the culprits, which now include her mirror, which has turned against her. KoKo and Bimbo accompany her on her journey to find Betty, and destroy her for good, to the tune of “St. James Infirmary”, swung by Cab Calloway and his famous orchestra. (That's a pun, not a typo.)

A very imaginative cartoon like this, with a fantastic performance of the old blues standard by one of the greatest jazz musicians of his time, make this one worth watching; or even listening to; a real treat.

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