Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Swing You Sinners!

More wonderful Fleischer madness, this time from 1930. Swing You Sinners is based around a reworking of a popular gospel song of the time called Sing You Sinners, which it jazzifies and scats to great effect. Once again an ordinary situation, dog tries to steal chicken, quickly evolves into a surreal, nightmarish tour de force like nothing you've ever seen before. The Fleischer world is alive with the mutability of forms, booby-trapped with malevolent or mischievous intent, everything in danger of changing at a moment's notice. It's like what would've happened if Salvador Dali had secretly replaced Walt Disney, except it has a primitive power closer to the superstitions of folk art or the medieval biomorphic weirdness of Hieronymus Bosch than to Dali's arid dreamscapes. In fact the latter stages of Swing You Sinners are Bosch-like in spirit, with all the demented Dutch master's hellish glee in the damnation of sinners. Unlike Bosch though, it also has gallows humour, slapstick charm and the swinging rhythm of the music. A strange little masterpiece.

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