Raggedy Ann And Raggedy Andy
Posted: November 26, 2001
Raggedy Ann And Raggedy Andy
This two reeler is the animated feature Fleischer Studios should have made. And alhough they had the rights to two more RAGGEDY ANN stories, this was they only one they produced. It contains many of the elements that were part of its brand of animation where inanimate objects come to life.
It's too bad that more time and money wasn't given to this vehicle, as it seems to race by without allowing enough time to establish the characters and plot. One also longs to see the dimensional backgournds made famous in the Fleischer shorts of the 1930s. But budget restrictions seemed to prevent this.
We see the garment factory presented in a flat art pan, where Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy are made. When they come alive, they realize that they have no names. This leads to perhaps the best song of the three in the film, "You're a Nobody Without a Name." They must go to the King at the Castle of names before sunset or they will be nothing but rags for the rest of their lives. They bump into the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, who offers them a ride. How he knows they are going to the Castle of Names is not explained. While running along, his sawdust shifts, and his legs give out. Ann and Andy carry him over to a nearby "filling station" where the gas pump is a power saw and a log that produces sawdust. Andy notices a cute Spanish doll sitting on a nearby balcony, and is lured away. Ann is broken hearted and climbs onto the camel, continuing on to the castle without Andy. Once in the throne room, Ann collapses. The doctors place a florescope on her chest which reveals a broken candy heart. Suddenly the camel has a realization, and rushes out.
In the meantime, Andy is wondering down "Glover's Lane" with the cute Spanish doll. When the Spanish doll learns that Andy has no name, she rejects him, saying "You're just a nobody wihtout a name." This snaps Andy back to reality, and he rushes to the castle realizing it is almost sunset. Without explanation, Andy rides into Ann's hospital room with certificates for their names. He then sings the quasi-sentimental title song, "Raggedy Ann," and she wakes up, heart beating, and hugs Andy. They skip down a sort of wedding aisle and are sewn together at their right hands so that they can never be separated.
Besides the underdeveloped story material, the voices with the exception of the Camel, by Pinto Colvig and the Paint Brush, by Jack Mercer are dull and ordinary. Even the Spanish doll sounds to mature, low registered, and worldly for such a child-like character.
One of the elements that made Fleischer animation was its use of music. It is hard to imagine after a decade of experience how the quality of the music has fallen as in this cartoon. Not only are the other two songs, "Calico Millionare" and "Raggedy Ann" dull, but the orchestrations for
the background score are not particularly good. Some of the horns seem out of tune, and the violins are recorded in a very screechy manner.There is almost a circus band quality about the recordings from this period, and an atmospheric cartoon featurette such as this deserved better care in this area.
In short, "Raggedy Ann" is an example of a rough diamond without polish. It has charm, but it's entertainment potential is not fully realized because of these deficiencies.
(See Famous Studios for SUDDENLY IT'S SPRING and THE ENCHANTED SQUARE)
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