Fox and Crow in “Be Patient, Patient” (1944)

The Fox and Crow are brought to you this week in a title-free form, courtesy of an otherwise pretty good original 35mm Technicolor nitrate print!

But first, a little news from the Thunderbean corner:

We’ve been busy around here — but that’s not so unusual. Four more of the Thunderbean ‘special sets’ are nearly done, with three on the immediate path to being finished as well. A scanning trip is in order to get these all ready and scan some things for other new sets; we’re aiming to have this batch out in June. Keep checking The Thunderbean Shop for further updates.

On the ‘official’ sets, Technicolor Rainbow Parades are taking over my summer for a little bit here; I’m hoping we can get through the set soon but it’s taking some time to clean them up to the level we like. We’re using the resources we have to get this title and the Bunin title finished, along with getting the already finished Mid Century Modern 3 to replication as soon as we can. I’m really chomping at the bit to move everything forward faster than always possible, and am eternally an optimist despite anything getting in the way, so we’ll get them all done!

Now — today’s cartoon!

Be Patient, Patient (1944) is a well designed and decently animated little short. In this sort of bizarrely written film, the Fox is stuck at home in his mansion with a note from the doctor to limit his diet. Upon seeing an ad from “Black’s Market”, he decides to go on a dining adventure, delivered by armored truck. Of course, the crow, living in a telephone pole, has tapped the Fox’s phone, so once the food is delivered, he dresses as a doctor, pontificating nonsense while sampling the Fox’s large dining room spread. He manages to knock the Fox out cold with a loud drum solo, and as he’s loading up the entire contents of the table into a wheelbarrow, the Crow changes his plans, dressing like an angel to fool the Fox into thinking he’s died. In the process, the Fox falls into wet cement dressed as an angel. He pulls the Crow (also dressed as an angel) into the cement. They both jump out, and in the process of the Fox chasing the Crow, they both harden into statues. The film ends with them being displayed as a statue (are they dead?) with a description on the platform that reads “Vice Vs. Virtue”

I wish I could say this cartoon lived up to its absolutely bizarre story, but it doesn’t really reach levels of great comedy. At times, the animation is beautifully done, and the voice work is pretty great throughout. The direction, despite lots of possibilities just doesn’t have the timing or design to pull off the best gags in a funnier way. By the end you can smile at some of the funny situations and definitely recognize the well-drawn and animated parts that are especially entertaining, but it just never reaches potential.

Over the years, I’ve found I’m enjoying the Fox and Crow cartoons more. I think part of it is that I’m enjoying specific aspects of the production rather than the film as a whole being the overarching reason to watch. In this particular cartoon, I find the layout and animation to be the strong suits.

I always wondered what the staff at Columbia that worked on Fox and Crow’s thought of the Tom and Jerry or other really great cartoons coming out at the same time; perhaps because they had characters that were largely dialogue driven they didn’t visualize the comical possibilities of the visual humor as much. Perhaps the comic book versions of the characters drove some of this, perhaps just the studio’s tendency to over dialogue their films is to blame.

This print, sadly, doesn’t have the titles or end title, but it’s an otherwise pretty decent 35mm IB Technicolor nitrate print. I really love how beautiful these look big, so watch this as big as you are able, and make sure you have it set for HD.

Have a good week everyone!