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Uncle Tom's Bungalow (1937) Online

Uncle Tom's Bungalow (1937) Online
Original Title :
Uncle Tomu0027s Bungalow
Genre :
Movie / Animation / Family / Short / Comedy
Year :
1937
Directror :
Tex Avery
Cast :
Tex Avery,Mel Blanc,Billy Bletcher
Type :
Movie
Time :
8min
Rating :
5.5/10
Uncle Tom's Bungalow (1937) Online

In this parody of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Little Eva and Topsy try to rescue old Uncle Tom from the clutches of the evil slave-dealer Simon Simon [sic] Legree. {locallinks-homepage}
Uncredited cast:
Tex Avery Tex Avery - Uncle Tom (voice) (uncredited)
Mel Blanc Mel Blanc - Hound (voice) (uncredited)
Billy Bletcher Billy Bletcher - Simon Simon Legree (voice) (uncredited)
Bernice Hansen Bernice Hansen - Little Eva (voice) (uncredited)
Tedd Pierce Tedd Pierce - Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Lillian Randolph Lillian Randolph - Topsy / Eliza (voice) (uncredited)

One of the "Censored 11" banned from T.V. syndication by United Artists in 1968 (then the owners of the Looney Tunes film library) for alleged racism. Ted Turner continued the ban when he was hired and stated that these films will not be re-issued and will not be put on Home Video. These cartoons will probably never air on television again, and only non-Warner Bros. licensed public domain video tapes will probably ever have these cartoons on them.


User reviews

Small Black

Small Black

This short is a fairly typical Tex Avery short that is one of two spoofs he did of the book Uncle Tom's Cabin (the other was Uncle Tom's Cabana for MGM) and while this short really is rather innocuous and there isn't anything that bad here, it would probably offend some sensibilities and is consequently rarely seen in this day and age. Which is too bad, as it is a very good cartoon. Placed in context, it could probably be shown, but the reaction would be loud and immediate enough that it likely won't happen. Worth seeking out. Recommended.
Maridor

Maridor

Was honestly expecting something much more offensive, considering that it's a "Censored 11" cartoon.

Admittedly not everything is in good taste and not for the easily offended, but there are far worse examples of racism and offensive elements in other "Censored 11". Especially 'Angel Puss' (by far the worst of the lot) and 'Jungle Jitters', also to a lesser extent 'All This and Rabbit Stew'.

Not all the gags, the dancing "pickininnes" and the shooting dice agreed won't go down well and were not very tasteful at all, to a lesser extent same with the trading colours moment in Legree's reprimanding of Eva and Topsy. Some of the character designs are very exaggerated and not that attractive to look at. Bernice Hansen and the character of Eva are also pretty annoying and shrill.

However, most of the animation is great, very vibrant and fluidly drawn with meticulously detailed backgrounds. Even better is the amazing soundtrack, which sizzles in energy and delights in its lushness, the use of pre-existing adds a lot as well. 'Uncle Tom's Bungalow' also has a fair few laugh-worthy moments, due to the smart wit and energetic pacing, even if it's not consistently funny or what this reviewer calls hilarious.

Like very much the fun characters and their equally fun chemistry between them, the antics with them are sort of ridiculous but not in a way that's repetitive and annoying. Apart from Hansen, the voice acting is very good, Mel Blanc, Tedd Pierce and Avery especially particularly worthy of praise.

Overall, decent enough cartoon and not for all tastes, but there are far worse and more offensive cartoons forming the "Censored 11". 6/10 Bethany Cox
PC-rider

PC-rider

. . . that director Tex Avery, born in Taylor, TX, had a best friend (Jefferson Beauregard Longstreet III) whose dad had once owned an Edison Manufacturing Co. Peepshow Emporium. One of the most notable anecdotes concerning Tex's boyhood concerns his frequent visits to Jeff's home on "movie night," where Thomas Alva "Mr. Lightbulb" Edison's 1903 version of UNCLE TOM'S CABIN made a particularly strong impression upon the young Tex. Edison's 19-minute travesty is cluttered with extraneous characters, such as Misters Phineas, St. Clair, and Marks. It's also pockmarked by Racist Dancing Slaves scenes, as this is the only waking activity performed by Edison's Happy Black Cotton Pickers when they are not picking white fluff balls or being flogged. To make matters worse, Edison throws in a tacky steamboat race between two toy vessels (one of which "explodes" and burns mid-river for two weeks!) and a couple hokey "Angels in America" chintzy "Death Tableaux." Given this background, Director Avery's UNCLE TOM'S BUNGALOW was an effort to "set the record straight" (and he must have done a pretty good job, because original author Harriet Beecher Stowe's great-granddaughter Henrietta said BUNGALOW was twice as entertaining and only half as Racist as Edison's CABIN travesty). When you view Avery's BUNGALOW, mercifully clocking in at less than nine minutes, you won't find Little Eva and Topsy goose-stepping like Nazi Storm Troopers, parasols held high in the air as they endlessly circle the St. Clair Plantation courtyard. Nor will you see Angels of Death flitting about here and there, or suffer through tawdry toy steamboat races. In fact, Tex eliminates the boring bits with Phineas, St. Clair, and Marks, putting the focus back where it belongs: on Uncle Tom.
Ariseym

Ariseym

Merrie Melodies short, directed by Tex Avery, notable today for being one of the Censored Eleven. For those who don't know, the Censored Eleven are cartoons that were withheld from syndication because they were considered to be too offensive due to their use of racial stereotypes and imagery. This one is a parody of Uncle Tom's Cabin, which is a bad idea to begin with. The story has two little girls, Eva (white) and Topsy (black), who purchase an old slave named Uncle Tom in order to stop his being whipped by evil Simon Simon Legree (a pun on French actress Simone Simon, I assume). When they fall behind on payments, Legree comes looking to reclaim Tom. As with all of the Censored Eleven cartoons, this one does have some things that are going to make modern viewers uncomfortable or even angry. But I have to admit I like this better than most of the other censored cartoons I've seen so far. The animation is very nice, despite the exaggerated features on black characters like the lips. The humor shines through in this one, even if it's not always in good taste. Avery's gags mostly work and I found myself laughing several times. However, there are some moments, mostly those related to slavery or Legree using a whip that just pull you out of the cartoon and have you shaking your head in disapproval. I don't think any of the humor here is mean-spirited but it does come across as ignorant and offensive at times. Still, I'm going to rate it higher than the ones I've seen so far because I do think there is a good cartoon underneath the cringeworthy parts. Avery would revisit Uncle Tom's Cabin again at MGM when he did Uncle Tom's Cabaña. That cartoon is also considered offensive by today's standards but is not part of the Censored Eleven, which are all Warner Bros. cartoons.
Ricep

Ricep

Even if this cartoon had been made well (which it wasn't), it seems like an impossible task to make the sad and sentimental story of Uncle Tom's Cabin funny!! It's sort of like laughing at physical disabilities or cancer--they are sure laugh destroyers! In many ways, the film almost makes it seem like the whole slavery and Simon Legree elements of the book are funny! Go figure! And, then having Liza crossing the ice flow in the dead of winter be FUNNY?!?! Huh?! In general, the cartoon isn't particularly funny, though its racist elements (such as dancing "pickininnies" and having Uncle Tom shooting dice) aren't as bad as some of the more notorious Warner Brothers banned cartoons--but it still is understandably offensive. The film IS worth watching for its historical interest, but only a maniac would try to get a copy of this film for their kids!!
Chillhunter

Chillhunter

This cartoon short, Uncle Tom's Bungalow, is the fourth (chronologically) of the "Censored 11" Warner Bros. films that doesn't show on commercial TV anymore. Directed by Tex Avery, this cartoon gets some points for the beginning frames bouncing up and down to the music score, some nice visual touches with an ice machine making various ice floes, the title character appearing with a limousine, and same character telling Simon Legree: "My body may belong to you, but my soul belongs to Warner Bros.!" Otherwise, there's not much funny here and there's a bit more racist stuff then there were in the earlier ones I reviewed (though I was highly amused when the two little girls, Topsy and Eva, switched colors when showing fright to Legree). Worth a look for fans of animation especially of Tex Avery. Everyone else should just avoid.
Fenrinos

Fenrinos

One of the many Warner Bros. cartoons out of circulation due to extremely racist content, Tex Avery's "Uncle Tom's Bunglow" pushes every stereotype of African-Americans common to the era. Truth be told, this one isn't particularly funny, though I will admit that the ice scene made me laugh.

Still, if WB decides to bring this short - and the rest of the Censored 11 - to DVD, they'll have to create a special section for them and specifically identify that they contain some of the most atrocious images of non-white people imaginable (even if the cartoons portray the characters positively, as is the case with "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs").

All in all, this one is worth seeing as a historical reference, but I don't recommend it in any other respect.
Stan

Stan

Tex Avery's 1937 toon 'Uncle Tom's Bungalow' is arguably a rehearsal for his more elaborate rehash 'Uncle Tom's Cabana' made ten years later for a different studio. However, I found 'Uncle Tom's Cabana' completely unfunny in addition to being racist. 'Uncle Tom's Bungalow' is just as racist (or maybe even more so) but is actually funny.

Both toons are, of course, parodies of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin': not so much the original Stowe novel as the various theatrical productions based on it. In 1937, it was very probable that audiences who saw this toon were familiar with 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' from its stage adaptations. Rosetta and Vivian Duncan were still performing their hugely popular 'Topsy and Eva' turn onstage at this point. Ten years later, Stowe's characters were much less a mainstay on the stage, so audiences who sat through 'Uncle Tom's Cabana' were much less familiar with the original material.

The single funniest gag here will be lost on modern audiences: villain Simon Legree is billed as Simon Simon Legree, with a screen caption helpfully telling us to pronounce this "See-MOAN". I recognised the reference to Simone Simon, a French screen personality (I'd rather not call her an 'actress') who was briefly notorious in 1937 but lacked the talent or presence to achieve genuine stardom. The very funny gag here (well, it was funny in 1937) is made even funnier because director Tex Avery frames and lights the Simon Legree character in a manner that parodies the elaborate treatment given to Simone Simon by her Hollywood directors during her attempt to achieve American movie fame.

Apart from that, we basically just get some ridiculous antics from Little Eva, Topsy, Eliza and Uncle Tom. Little Eva's antics had the potential to be funny -- she flashes her frilly pantalettes until the narrator reprimands her -- except that Little Eva's voice is supplied by Bernice Hansen, doing exactly the same annoying little-girl voice which she used in so many other Warners toons.

SLIGHT SPOILERS NOW. One racial gag is so outrageous that it's funny: when Legree is threatening white girl Little Eva and black girl Topsy, he intimidates both of them so much that Topsy blanches and Little Eva darkens ... until they've traded colours! Elsewhere, Eliza has one funny and non-racist gag when attempting to cross the river.

At the end of the toon, Uncle Tom shows up with enough cash to buy his own freedom from Legree. How did Uncle Tom get rich? The narrator speculates that maybe Uncle Tom cashed in his Social Security. This might have been a funny joke in 1937: FDR's Social Security scheme was still fairly new, and American citizens -- who didn't know what to expect -- thought it really might bring them financial comfort. Now we know better, of course. But, sadly, Avery's script has to step on even this joke. It turns out that Uncle Tom got rich the same stupid way that stereotyped black characters usually get rich in dumb cartoons: he got lucky in a crap game. I'll rate this cartoon only 2 out of 10 ... and it's still a lot funnier than 'Uncle Tom's Cabana', which isn't remotely amusing.