Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Mae Questel, Cab Calloway, Bonnie Poe, Jack Mercer, Billy Murray, Margie Hines, Rose Marie
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Dave Fleischer
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 81
Date: 03/31/1933

Betty Boop: The Essential Collection Volume 4 (1933)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Fairest

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In my reviews of Betty Boop: The Essential Collection Volume 1, Betty Boop: The Essential Collection Volume 2, and Betty Boop: The Essential Collection Volume 3, even while praising the high quality of the release, I griped about the exclusion of one of the most essential Boop shorts, Snow White (1933). Here it is, finally, in Betty Boop: The Essential Collection Volume 4. It's just as magnificent as ever, a surreal, funny, nightmarish, sexy fairy tale, with the great Cab Calloway singing as Koko the Clown.

Another highlight is the gloriously beautiful Poor Cinderella (1934), shot in Cinecolor (and apparently Betty's only appearance in color). Director Dave Fleischer clearly put in some extra work on the backgrounds in this one, using he and his brother Max's patented "Rotoscope," which gave a special dimension of depth and allowed backgrounds to move by with different perspectives.

These two shorts makes the 13-cartoon Blu-ray -- released, as always, by Olive Films -- worth having, although the overall disc is the weakest of the four. The Blu-ray restoration quality is still excellent, but the majority of cartoons on this disc come from Betty's later period, when things became a lot safer, less sexy, less surreal, and concentrating more on simple, kid-friendly jokes. The last few cartoons, from 1938, focus on Betty's dog Pudgy, with Betty as a supporting character.

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