Rembrandt [1936]

Rembrandt Films was a small studio that produced more than 50 cartoons between 1959 and 1970. Its main director was Gene Deitch, a veteran of UPA and Terrytoons, where he worked on the minimal Tom Terrific. Those influences can clearly be seen in Deitch's short films. In The Frozen Logger, he attempts to re-create Rooty-Toot-Toot, John Hubley's brilliant retelling of the story of Frankie and Johnnie (UPA, 1952). But the animation is too limited and the timing too slow to give the film much appeal. The Oscar-winning Munro, based on Jules Feiffer's cartoon story about a 4-year-old boy inadvertently drafted into the U.S. Army, also shows the influences of Hubley and UPA. But Feiffer's send-up of the military and government bureaucracies retains its sting. The four "Self Help" cartoons are modeled after Disney's How To series for Goofy and the Mr. Know-It-All segments on Rocky and His Friends. Arthur Treacher supplies a properly snooty narration, but the visuals lack the punch needed to provide an effective foil for such useful lessons as How to Avoid Friendship. The remainder of the films are more interesting as examples of '60s-style humor and design than as entertainment. Suitable for all ages. --Charles Solomon

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