Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Magical Maestro

Magical Maestro; animated comedy short; USA, 1952; D: Tex Avery, S: Daws Butler, Carlos Ramirez

A opera singer rejects a magician just minutes before his performance in the opera "The Barber of Seville". As a revenge, the magician disguises himself as the conductor and teases the singer by constantly transforming him in all kinds of inappropriate clothes, ranging from a Chinese, through a cowboy up to a child, while he is singing the opera in front of the audience. The singer eventually recognises the magician and puts him through all that what he did on the stage.

The best Tex Avery animated short, a small comic masterpiece, "Magical Maestro" is an insanely inspired 6 minute one-note story that also covertly "smuggled" an artistic piece of work, Rossini's opera "The Barber of Seville", into the mainstream medium and made it seem natural and fun - which is another reason to admire the comic timing and animation which had to be entirely synchronised-aligned towards those lyrics. Creating humor out of a simple use of a collision between elevated-serious delivery of the opera and sudden switching to the opposite absurd-silly transformations of the singer, Avery channelled his insane energy not on pointless grimaces but on a rare kind of genius silliness with style: the lines "A tisket a tasket, I lost my little basket" and "Oh my darling Clementine" will forever be howlingly funny for those viewers who saw it, with the Hawaii dance scene reaching a 'tour-de-force' level of quality, whereas unlike heavy handed cartoons like "South Park" or "Family Guy", here even the 'politically incorrect' jokes seem sophisticated.


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