Thursday, May 27, 2010


Sylvester has a conscience. Do you?

I love this cartoon, and not just for the moral, which is great in of itself. I love the noir feel -- the shadows, the light, the action taking place off the screen while the reaction appears on-screen, especially in the beginning. Plus the slapstick of the stairs being slow squeaky on the ascent but fast squeaky on the descent.

Here's the best line, also very slap-sticky: "I'll give myself up. I'll throw myself up . . . on their mercy." Mel Blanc adds that lice little pause to emphasize the possibility that Sylvester feels like barfing, a good description of a conscience in the throes of guilt as I've ever heard.

This episode is actually a parody of Alfred Hitchcock's 1929 film Blackmail, which has a history of its own. It's considered the first full-length "talkie" made in England. The story is basically the same: A woman commits a crime and tries to conceal it, but at the end is driven to confess. Her confessees, however, don't believe her, so she is set free -- although her boyfriend, a Scotland Yard inspector, knows the truth. Quite a good film.

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