Alice Helps the Romance
Studio: Disney Release Date : November 15, 1926 Series: Alice Comedy
  1. General Info

Cumulative rating: No Ratings Posted

Synopsis

When Julius' sweetheart is stolen by a rival, Alice arranges a devious plot to discredit his rival and bring them back together.

Characters

Alice and Julius

Credits

Director

Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

Animator

Ub Iwerks
Rollin "Ham" Hamilton
Rudolph Ising
Hugh Harman

Camera

Rudolph Ising

Live Action Actor

Margie Gay

Video Information

Technical Specifications

Running time: 9:12
Animation Type: Combined Live-Action and Standard Animation
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Color Type: Black and White
Sound Type: Silent
Print Type: 35mm
Negative Type: 35mm
Cinematographic Format: Spherical
Original Language: English
Original Country: United States

Reviews and Comments

From Toadette :

This cartoon is an anomaly in the Alice Comedies...and for the better, I must add. Not only is Julius the real star (Alice doesn't even show up until over two-thirds of the cartoon have passed), but actual personality animation of the characters is present to an extent unseen in the other Alice Comedies—a necessity, given the subject matter, which takes a truly twisted turn about halfway through.

The basis of the cartoon is the rivalry between Julius and a tall banjo-playing, baggy-pantsed cat for the love of a local girl cat. The cartoon begins with the tall cat singing and dancing (while playing his banjo, of course), on his way to the girl's house; meanwhile, Julius is preparing himself fancily (brushing his hair), planning to bring a pot of flowers up the girl.

When the two cats bump into each other at the entrance to the girl's property (her house is bordered by a fence), they at first try to feign walking away from the entrance, each cat keeping a close eye on the other; this is done twice before Julius decides to cling to the entrance. So the other cat seems to walk off...only to move the whole fence (while standing still) in his direction, thus pulling the entrance to his side!

The two cats race to the front door; the other cat, having rung the doorbell, laughs at Julius's flower pot, whereupon Julius turns away from the cat, holding the pot behind him. A terrible mistake, as the next few seconds will prove.

The next sequence perfectly establishes what a complete JERK the other cat is. Said cat, as Julius isn't looking, cuts the flowers from the pot; in turn, as the girl arrives at the door, Julius finds himself presenting a pot of soil with cut-off stems, resulting in the girl rejecting him in favor of the other cat who presents the stolen flowers! When Julius tries to follow the other two into the house, that other cat kicks him in the face and slams the door; enraged, Julius throws his pot up, only for it to land on his head.

Julius walks away heartbroken; his crying is depicted in a way that allows us to empathize with him, as he sniffs and even takes out a handkerchief. Suddenly, a drop of some fluid drops onto him; it turns out to be a tough crow on a tree branch spitting on him, much to his girlfriend's amusement. This tough crow then beckons his girlfriend to kiss him; at first, the girl crow clearly hesitates, but the tough crow shows a softer side, cuddling the girl, and then makes the first move in a long, beak-stretching kiss! The girl has enjoyed it, but the tough crow goes wild, flying around and dancing on the tree branch, even swinging in a loop around it with his feet!

Julius walks off, still thoroughly depressed...that's when he finds a shotgun leaning on a stump. Finding that no one is looking, and heartbroken, Julius begins to contemplate suicide—it is here that the cartoon descends into black comedy, as much of the remainder will be spent depicting Julius's failed attempts at suicide!

At first, Julius aims the gun right into his head (holding it completely wrong, like it's a handgun)...not finding this arrangement ideal, however, he then positions it a bit further away, still shaking in fear. Finally, however, he places the shotgun on a rock while he, facing away and quite a distance from it, stretches out his tail to pull the trigger (covering his ears and closing his eyes)...but it turns out to be a cork gun! Then a little feline brat riding (while sitting) on what seems to be a four-wheeled scooter (with a horse toy on wheels attached to it) comes by to claim his gun; Julius, angry at his failed self-shooting, storms off, tripping over the stump on which the gun had been found.

Julius comes across a lake, standing on a pier. Finding that next to him is a rope tied to a boulder, he tries to hang himself by tying the other end of the rope around his neck and jumping off the pier; this doesn't prove very productive, as he merely chokes, so he climbs back up and kicks the boulder, hurting his foot! He then gets the idea to drown himself, but as he throws the boulder out into the lake, the stretchy rope just causes the boulder to come back and hit Julius in the head and then fall into a shallow part of the lake, the other end of the rope snapping off of Julius's neck! Disgusted at more failed suicides, Julius rejects the lake and again walks off.

Outside a tall building, some folks are raising a safe high up, tying the long rope hoisting it to a hook on the building to keep it in place. As they enter the building, Julius enters the scene and, seeing a foolproof opportunity to end it all, cuts the rope with a knife (which he apparently held in his pocket all this time) and waits for the inevitable...only then does Alice finally enter the cartoon, gasping at what Julius is doing and running over and saving him just as the safe falls through the ground!

With less a third of the cartoon left, Julius, at first irritated at Alice, woefully explains the situation to her, even pulling a broken heart out of his chest. Alice then gets the idea to invite some short alley cats over to sabotage the relationship between the other cat and the girl cat, both of whom are now sitting under a tree; walking over, the alley cats pretend that they're the other cat's children! The cat tries to shoo them off, growing increasingly nervous, but to no avail; he finally sends them off by throwing a coin for them to fetch. Nonetheless, the damage has been done; the girl cat rejects him, even flipping her rear up in contempt!

That's when the other cat reveals his abusive nature, grabbing the girl cat as she walks away and trying to rape her! Encouraged by Alice, Julius steps in, the girl going to his side as the other cat begins to cower; he gives the other cat two good uppercuts! (He's already knocked out after the first one...only for Julius to stand him up and give him the second one—talk about overkill!)

The cartoon ends as Julius and the girl kiss; as Julius, noticing Alice watching, shoos her away, the kissing gets passionate (steam comes out!), such that Alice covers her eyes and turns away!

As I said, this is a unique entry in the Alice Comedies, and the film benefits all the more because of it. It focuses on Julius's own personal struggles rather than on him struggling to do something, and even Alice, for all her short screen time, isn't just there; she actually contributes to the plot by coming up with the devious scheme to ruin the rival cat's love life. The rival cat believably comes off as a jerk, and the short sequence with the crows seems to be an early attempt on part of Disney to depict both the subtle (the girl crow hesitating, only to be led into a kiss) and the extreme (the tough crow's wild reaction). Overall, definitely worth watching if you're interested in the Disney studio's early development.

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Submitted by eutychus


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History

11/26/2012

  • Poster added by eutychus

8/22/2014

  • Animation type added by eutychus
  • Sound type added by eutychus

3/7/2016

  • Comments added
  • Toadette

6/14/2019

    Sources

    Walter Elias "Walt" Disney: Director
    • Verified by "Walt in Wonderland" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Ub Iwerks: Animator
    • Verified by "Walt in Wonderland" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Rollin "Ham" Hamilton: Animator
    • Verified by "Walt in Wonderland" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Rudolph Ising: Camera
    • Verified by "Walt in Wonderland" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Margie Gay: Live Action Actor
    • Verified by "Walt in Wonderland" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Rudolph Ising: Animator
    • Verified by "Walt in Wonderland" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Hugh Harman: Animator
    • Verified by "Walt in Wonderland" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman