Felix the Cat Woos Whoopee (1928)

Article 5371 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 2-15-2017
Directed by Otto Messmer
No cast
Country: USA
What it is: Felix the Cat cartoon

Felix the Cat is having a high old time at the Whoopee Club, unaware that his wife is angrily waiting at home with a rolling pin. And soon Felix makes his way out of the club and heads home…

The plot of this cartoon sounds like a hoary old comic situation that’s been done many times, but plot isn’t really that important in a Felix the Cat cartoon; it’s what happens outside of the plot that’s entertaining. In this case, most of the fun happens while Felix is on his way home, and since he’s fairly lubricated, he finds himself at the mercy of his hallucinations, which include things like traffic cops who attack with their buttons and street lamps that turn into dragons. The twenties were not a great time for cartoons, but the Felix ones are my favorite from that era; his penchant for playing around with the unreality of animation is appealing. This isn’t one of his best, but it is fun; I particularly like some of the weird monsters he dreams up.


1 Comment

  1. I’m glad you reviewed “Felix Woos Whoopee”; it’s one of my favorites of his silent adventures. The plots may be simple out of the necessity of the form of the 7-8 minute long silent cartoon medium, but it allows Felix’s surrealism the opportunity to blossom. Otto Messmer and his team could really be creative with one of the tropes of the film—the mind affected by alcohol. The metamorphosis of the snake coming out of Felix’s bottle of liquor which then transforms itself into a car that he drives (!) is amazing! The animators did a good job out of subjectively portraying the mental state of being obliviated by drink. Looks like Felix put an awful lot of liquor away to hallucinate that much!

    The film is really great if you are lucky enough to see it with live accompaniment in front of an audience. Years ago in Los Angeles, the Nuart Theater had a screening of Felix Woos Whoopee paired with Buster Keaton’s “Sherlock Jr.” The Club Foot Orchestra played live to both films. In “Felix Woos Whoopee’s” opening scene where the building and the city lights move in time with the music, the Club Foot Orchestra had a jazzy swing music score which worked together with the animation to show that “the joint was jumping”— the audience went wild. This version exists on YouTube—YouTube channel “Vegan Pop Tarts” synced the Club Foot Orchestra’s score for “Felix Woos Whoopee” and it really brings the cartoon to life.

    Thanks for reviewing Felix—I look forward to your other reviews and watching the films you mention!

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