Show Synopsis

Based on a Broadway musical by Mel Brooks and Joe Darion, the animated feature Shinbone Alley is an adaptation of the Don Marquis stories. The film is about a love-struck cockroach named Archy (voiced by Eddie Bracken) and the object of his affections, a carefree cat named Mehitabel (Carol Channing). The movie is arranged as a series of episodic adventures and though it never quite gels into something cohesive, it has a number of fine moments, particularly when it sticks to the music. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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Charles G

Jun 9, 2012

Good Old Mehitabel!

I know why the critics panned this cartoon, but I like it anyhow. The problem is it isn't a kid's cartoon, but is done in a fairly cute, kid's style. But the subject matter matches anything in Fritz the Cat or the other Ralph Bakshi cartoons. Archy's a poet reincarnated in a bug's body, and he the combination of cynicism and emotionalism you expect from poets. Mehitabel is a real alley cat, with illigitimate litters, multiple boyfriends, and a complete disreguard for normal conventions and morality. The wicked old cat even considers letting her own kittens drown to get them out of the way (she stops short of that).
No wonder they don't want kids seeing this show.
But at the same time, the movie is pretty loyal to Don Marquis's poems. And with Carol Channing doing the voice of the bad old putty cat (I would not want to bet on Tweety or Jerry's odds if they ever tangled with her!), the feline is a memorable character. Put up with the songs and you have a pretty good, if unnerving adult cartoon.

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