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Bacall to Arms (1946)

This is the follow-up cartoon to the previous video I've posted called She was an Acrobat's daughter- Bacall to Arms is a 1946 Warner Bros. cartoon in the Merrie Melodies series, directed by Bob Clampett, in his second-to-last cartoon at Warner Bros. (The Big Snooze would be the last). Neither Clampett (he was left uncredited because he had left the studio before the cartoon was released) nor voice characterizations are credited. Mel Blanc's voice is recognizable as a fat theater patron. Impressionest Dave Barry portrays the voice of Humphrey Bogart. The title refers both to Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and actress Lauren Bacall, whose acclaimed film debut was in To Have and Have Not, based on another Hemingway novel.

The cartoon is set in a movie theater. Various random gags occur before the film, such as one patron moving to another seat another patron taking the vacated seat, and so on, accelerating into a free-for-all. While the theater is in color, the films-within-the film are black-and-white. A short "newsreel" is narrated by voice actor Robert C. Bruce.

The main feature is a film called To Have- To Have- To Have- ..., a parody on To Have and Have Not. It includes reasonably realistic, possibly rotoscoped images of Bogie and Bacall, who are credited as "Bogey Gocart and Laurie Becool". In addition to recreating a few well-known scenes from that film (the kissing scene; the "put your lips together and blow" scene), the players sometimes lapse into slapstick (Bacall lighting her cigarette with a blowtorch, à la Harpo Marx; or letting loose with a loud, shrill whistle after her famous sultry comment) and interact with the theater audience.

Although the theater was initially full, it is eventually seen to be empty except for one patron: a lone wolf in a zoot suit who goes ga-ga over Bacall. The final gag has the wolf grabbing a cigarette that was dropped in the film and jumps off the screen, and Bogie shoots him. He hands it to Bogie and it explodes, covering him with "blackface". Bogie suddenly adopts a "Rochester" voice, and says, "My, oh my! I can work for Mr. Benny now!" A few interesting facts worth mentioning:

a)The entire ending where the Tex Avery-esque wolf happily puffs on Laurie Be-Cool's cigarette, only to get shot by Bogey GoCart who retrieves the cigarette and smokes it (only to get blown up and turn blackfaced, replying, "My, oh, my! I can work for Mr. Benny now!" à la Rochester) was cut when shown on TNT. b)According to Jerry Beck's DVD commentary on the fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set, this cartoon's choppy, incomplete feel was a result of Bob Clampett never completing the cartoon due to his departure from Warner Brothers Studios and most of the missing scenes are said to be lost to time; and finally c) Bacall to Arms is available, uncensored and uncut, on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 5 Disc 3 as well as being available via bonus feature on the DVD issue of To Have and Have Not; released by Warner Brothers on August 3rd, 1946 in its USA premiere.

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