The cartoon clips, "Ending to 'The Bullwinkle Show'" and the Dudley Do-Right episode "The Disloyal Canadians," are portrayals of the themes present in the silent films "FLICKER FLASH BACKS SILENT FILM HIGHLIGHTS" and "Vintage Women Tied to Railroad Tracks." Most importantly, the themes include heroes and villains, a vulnerable character (usually a lady) in trouble, and the idea that "good always conquers evil."
These silent films and cartoons were created in different periods, with different ideals and cultures: the earlier of the two had a culture that depicts a more dichotomous split between good and evil, with little middle ground. Ironically, the earlier silent films were also in black and white - another factor contributing to the separation of good and evil. The cartoons however are in many colors and touch on how there can be a mix of good and evil.
In the cartoons, there is more room for overlaps of good and bad. For example, in Dudley Do-Right, he must have his position of service revoked by doing something 'bad' so that he can ultimately destroy his reputation as a man who can do no wrong/no bad, and so that he can gain the trust of and join the antagonist Snidely Whiplash. However, Do-Right struggles to do something bad after his first few attempts (again, highlighting how good he is). Eventually, in order to fulfill the commander's wish, as well as impress Nell, Do-Right must commit an evil deed and succeeds. Also, in the Bullwinkle episode, as Rocky and Bullwinkle are walking away with the coins, the evil-doers already having been beaten, Bullwinkle says, “Sure, in a cartoon we always have a happy ending you know,” prior to accidentally walking off a cliff. This is ironic in that what happens contradicts what Bullwinkle expects. It is also worth noting that the dialogue that follows goes a little deeper. Rocky says to Bullwinkle, “Gee, an unhappy ending.” Bullwinkle replies, “Yuh, this must be one of those adult cartoons!”
The cartoons are a satirical recreation of the films (with some twists), because even though the classic themes are apparent, the cartoons play around with these stereotypes in order to create a humorous reaction.
For example, the cartoons include lots of exaggerated facial and body expressions. The cartoons put more emphasis and importance on emotion - this is similar to how stage plays can convey emotion as well because audiences often tend to care a lot/more about the characters than the overall plot line / message. Stage plays directly communicate with the audience, while silent films use may different mediums, such as subtitles (captions) or narration to clarify a scene. In the same way the audience is to observe the actions and expressions of the characters in a stage play, they must observe characters' interactions and expressions as well as between characters and setting in cartoons, in order to comprehend the scene.
The situations in both cartoons are ironical and this is what brings out the satire. Additionally, their respective ideas show a dynamic change in the common ways of thinking. Dudley Do-Right is forced to do something wrong in order to do right, and Bullwinkle displays how the victor does not simply walk away untouched. The satire of the cartoons is there to display how one-dimensional the mindsets of the silent films were, mindsets that shaped the world into the 19th-20th century wars as well as other world-wide atrocities. These cartoon ideas showed how ideas became advanced and far more mature, in accordance with Bullwinkle's last statement, referring to his own plot as “adult.”