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Bacall to Arms is a 1946 Merrie Melodies short planned by Bob Clampett and finished by Arthur Davis.

Title

The title refers both to the phrase, "call to arms," and the late actress Lauren Bacall.

Plot

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 Robert C. Bruce.

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

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

Caricatures

Availability

Censorship

  • The entire ending, where the Tex Avery-esque wolf happily puffs on Laurie Bee 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.[1] Cartoon Network and its sister channel Boomerang, despite editing out a similar Rochester blackface scene from "Goofy Groceries", left this ending scene uncut, though only in The Bob Clampett Show; it didn't appear in any other compilation show on either network.
  • According to Jerry Beck's DVD commentary on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 5, this cartoon's choppy, incomplete feel was a result of Bob Clampett never completing the cartoon due to his departure from Warner Bros. Cartoons studio and most of the missing scenes are said to be lost to time.

Notes

  • This is the first film to be directed by Arthur Davis, though there is no director credit present.
  • Neither Clampett, 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 the wolf, the fat theater patron, the hippo from "She Was an Acrobat's Daughter", and the Elmer Fudd-looking, Sylvester the Cat-sounding man in the newsreel story about how war radios can be used to detect when a mother-in-law is coming to stay at a married man's house. Impressionist Dave Barry did the voice of Humphrey Bogart.
  • The credits for the fictitious film "To Have...etc" are:
    • Thief.............Oph Bagdad
    • Doctor...........Jekyll
    • Lawyer...........Ima Shyster
    • Beggar Man....Kismet
    • Poor Man........John Dough
  • The house in the newsreel segment is the same house used in the Private Snafu short "Payday", where Snafu keeps wasting his money on souvenirs, drinks, prostitutes, and gambling and his post-war home and family disappear piece by piece.

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References



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