Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Satire and a Comment on the Times

Clips from the earliest of short films and cartoons prove to parallel each other in many ways. Some of these similarities are more blatant than others, from the unique physical appearance and dress of the villain to the exclusively white-skinned characters in each story. But the cartoon, “Dudley Do Right,” also mirrors many underlying, not-so-obvious themes and ideas present in the black and white film. The women in both railroad clips prove to be completely helpless in defending themselves. While being tied down, the woman in the black and white film simply cooperates, flailing only slightly in an attempt to escape. This proves to reflect the time period when the film was created, a time in which woman were viewed as physically (and in many ways socially) inferior to men, unable to fend for themselves and completely subject to a fate imposed by a man.

The black-and-white film and the cartoon do use satire to poke fun at the role of men at the time. Both the man from the black-and-white film, who wakes up by falling in the mud, and Dudley from the cartoon prove to be quite futile in completing their mission. Right from the start, we see the man from the black-and-white film fall face first into the mud, while in “Dudley Do Right,” Dudley cannot seem to complete the simplest of tasks in order to get kicked out of town. While the man attempts to release the woman from her bondage, his dog alerts the train to slow down and eventually cut the chains. In a similar manner, throughout the entirety of “Dudley Do Right,” Dudley cannot seem to do anything right and is often dependent on his horse. The horse “takes one for the team” at the end of the episode, sacrificing himself during the explosion in order for Dudley to pursue the villain (who ultimately escapes). While the creators are not attempting to demonstrate the competence of a dog and a horse, per se, the use of animals is effective in portraying the men as incapable. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are restricted to course members only.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.