The Fleischers had been producing sound cartoons since 1924 by this point, almost always efforts that would evolve into their Screen Songs when they did this very late Ko-Ko silent. In fact, they would make only half a dozen more and end the series after a dozen years.
I suspect this had been planned for the last of the series a a sentimental effort. It does not even star Max in the role of Ko-Ko’s artist, but Dave Fleischer — who was also the model for Ko-Ko. Dave shows off a model and tells Ko-Ko he got it for saving a town from a flood, and Ko-Ko winds up in a melodramatic situation in which, with Fitz’s connivance he saves a beautiful blonde girl from a melodramatic captor. There are the usual surrealistic gags, including a very nice one in which the villain throws knives at him into a wall, and Ko-Ko escapes by climbing them like a ladder.
Ko-Ko was the most successful silent cartoon character after Felix the Cat. Neither would survive the coming of sound, although the Fleischers would use him occasionally over the next decade. Their future lay with characters like Betty Boop and Popeye. Still, it’s good to see Ko-Ko go out with a fine effort like this.
by boblipton (New York City)
Director: Dave Fleischer
Star: Dave Fleischer
Koko the Clown and his dog Fitz walk into a building where levers that control various aspects of the Earth are located. After Fitz presses a particular lever, the world goes topsy-turvy and out-of-control.
Director: Max & Dave Fleischer
Max Fleischer was a Polish-American animator, inventor, film director and producer. Fleischer was a pioneer in the development of the animated cartoon and served as the head of Fleischer Studios.
Fleischer’s cartoons were very different from the Disney product, both in concept and in execution. They were rough, rather than refined. The Fleischer approach was sophisticated, focused on surrealism, dark humor, adult psychological elements, and sexuality. The Fleischer environments were grittier and urbane, often set in squalid surroundings—a reflection of the Depression as well as German Expressionism which Max embraced.
Construction processes and machinery were found in some stories, mirroring Max’s view of mechanics as the art form of the 20th Century. But most of all, Fleischer saw animation as “the cartoonist’s cartoon” and in his earlier works avoided the literal approach that Disney was taking. As Fleischer stated, “if it can be done in real life, it isn’t animation.”
On a Polynesian island, Dr. Matthew Lloyd (Monte Blue) is disgusted by the way trader Sebastian (Robert Anderson) exploits the natives, and he’s cast off the island for his views. He finds himself on another isle of the South Seas, where an isolated tribe welcomes him into their harmonious community. But, in this paradise of simplicity, Lloyd discovers a wealth of pearls. He gathers the treasure and, overtaken by greed, sends rescue signals. Unfortunately, Sebastian and his men answer….
Directors: W. S. Van Dyke, Robert J. Flaherty
Cast: Raquel Torres, Monte Blue, Bob Anderson
Awards: Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
Screenplay: John Colton, Jack Cunningham, Ray Doyle
Music composed by: William Axt, David Mendoza
Stars: Monte Blue, Raquel Torres, Robert Anderson
A young woman finds herself trapped by a bandit gang. Rather than be raped by the gang, she commits suicide. When her brother finds out what happened, he turns to a life of banditry, hoping to find the gang responsible for his sister’s death.
– Written by firstname.lastname@example.org
Director: Edmund Mortimer
Writers: Robert Dillon (adaptation) (as Anthony Dillon), W.C. Tuttle (story “The Yellow Seal”)
Stars: Harry Carey, Trilby Clark, Lloyd Whitlock
Harry leaves home to become a doctor, but winds up with “Doc” Healy’s Medicine Show.
Director: Harry Edwards
Writers: Frank Capra, Al Giebler (titles)
Stars: Harry Langdon, Natalie Kingston, Vernon Dent
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Also Known as Tangled Trails
Corporal Jack Borden, of the Northwest Mounted Police, trails the man who killed his partner to New York City. The killer is an unscrupulous promoter who is selling worthless stock in a gold mine. Borden, with the help of Blanche Hall, locates the man in a Bowery dive, but he escapes and Borden tracks him back to Canada. Along the way, he discovers that Blanche and his sweetheart, Milly, are long-separated sisters and brings about a reconciliation.
– Written by Les Adams <email@example.com>
Director: Charles Bartlett
Writers: Charles Bartlett (story)
Stars: Neal Hart, Violet Palmer, Gladys Hampton
An ambitious coat-room checker impersonates an English nobleman.
Director: Fred C. Newmeyer
Music composed by: Robert Israel
Screenplay: Hal Roach, Sam Taylor, H. M. Walker
Story by: Hal Roach, Sam Taylor
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, James T. Kelley