THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
August 27, 2015 posted by

Pvt. Snafu: “It’s Murder, She Says!” (1945)

murder-title600

This week, I’m happy to show one of the Private Snafu’s from the new Blu-ay!

First, on the Thunderbean front, the two newest sets are neck and neck with each other, racing towards the finishing line – it’s not clear what title will make it back here first from replication, but I would guess Willie Whopper will be available a week or two before. SNAFU is completely funded now, with much thanks to everyone who has helped out! If you’d still like the ‘Special’ set, it’s available for one more week.

Willie Whopper masters are completely finished (with cutting master done and DVD in production). It’s waiting for funds to finish the production run of the Blu-ray. They’re at the replicators now, with Snafu not far behind-in the final stages. I hope to have the Snafu master finished over the weekend at the latest (it’s in finishing touches as of tonight). Since the Thunderbean Snafu DVD was finished (nearly five years back now), some new bonus materials have become available, and well as a little better material on some of the films (with a little coaxing to borrow a generation or two earlier from the National Archives).

One of the last things to do on the disc to finish the new bonus features. Animation researcher David Gerstein unearthed some incredibly cool new materials, including scripts and storyboards for a handful of Snafu cartoons. One of these is It’s Murder, She Says!

The final approved script is dated November 5, 1944. The finished cartoon was part of Army/Navy Screen Magazine #52, released the second week of May, 1945. The script that appears here matches the final film fairly closely. (click to enlarge)

Murder-1Murder-2
Murder-3Murder-4

maleria-600

The storyboards are unusual in this packet, with about half by David Rose (working at the first motion picture unit) and many of the boards looking very close to their final layouts. My guess is that there is direct involvement with Chuck Jones unit at Scheslinger’s, or these are a revisions of earlier boards, using some from First Motion Picture Unit. Perhaps they were working in collaboration throughout the board process on these later films with the studio. The title card and other elements are basically identical to what appears in the final film, making the idea that this is a revision of the boards. It’s possible some of the drawings are Chuck Jones – can anyone identify them or another artist’s work?

Rose’s beautiful boards are especially nice (as are many of the boards from the other cartoons). Al Curry seems to have boarded a good part of many of the other films in the series, but I don’t see his work on this particular cartoon. (click to enlarge)

Murder 5 Murder 6Murder 7Murder 8
Murder 9Murder 10Murder 11Murder 12Murder 13Murder 14Murder 15Murder 16Murder 17-600

This is an unusual Snafu in that he barely appears in it. The character animation is especially nice in this entry, by Ken Harris, Ben Washam and Phil Monroe (does anyone recognize any shots by Bob Cannon?).

Here is the newly digitally cleaned up version, as it will appear on the upcoming ‘Private Snafu’ Blu-ray.

Have a good week everyone!

15 Comments

  • Really cool that the scripts and storyboards to these things survive, looking forward to the final Snafu set! The cleaned up cartoon looks great too, though there seems to be something funky going on with the “Murder” text in the title card.

  • Steve-
    I’m impressed by your hard work on the Snafu Blu-ray. Props to David G. for finding those scripts an’ storyboards for many of them. And I agree with DBear- there IS something cool about the “Murder” text on that title card there. That oughter be made into a font!

    • Perhaps someone on Fontspace could oblige.

  • Ooh, the more I hear material from this forthcoming set, the more I am eager to get my copy, and I hope I ordered the “special collectors’ edition”. I’m glad that some sort of end credit was stuck on this one. I always wondered why there were no end credits on any of these cartoons, but I figured all this time that it was the way they actually appeared throughout the SCREEN MAGAZINE issues. I’m expecting the extras to be magnificent! This and WIILLIE WHOPPER are going to be the big deals of the year! I’m glad that so many contributed to its creation. I was glad I could participate in that way, along with the forthcoming WILLIE collection. This is beautiful! Can’t say it enough!

  • I’m curious to know who did Annie’s voice. It’s vaguely familiar; definitely not Bea Benaderet, however.

    • I remember hearing that it’s actually character actress Marjorie Rambeau.

    • “Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel,” a biography that came out some years ago, specifically identifies the voice as that of Rambeau.

  • This puts the whole Script vs Storyboard thing into perspective.

  • Great news! Any word on the final pressed Van Beuren discs though Steve? 🙂

  • Chuck Jones also confirmed in a 1995 letter the presence of the fine stage and screen actress Marjorie Rambeau, describing her as giving “a marvellously boozy” reading. The other voices are Sara Berner, and Robert Bruce narrating…he recalled working with this “great gal” but couldn’t recall her name. That’s seems to indicate that this cartoon’s dialogue might have been recorded ensemble style, instead of the common practice of having each actor record lines at separate sessions. This entry wasn’t found by me at USC in the WB music department recording logs (from 1942-48), which makes me wonder if some of the Snafus were recorded elsewhere, maybe the Fox lot? I love this restoration.

  • Looks like a pristine copy! Great job!

    • YOUR handiwork, Mr. K?

      😉

  • Funny enough, I posted the *wrong* copy of the digital cleanup. The one on the final disc is steadied throughout (the wavering isn’t there on the final) and cleaner in the opening titles…. oops!

  • Steve

    Thanks for the update. The anticipation is killing me. Regarding Special Features, I hope we’ll be spared John K’s useless commentary from the previous DVD edition. I don’t know what he was paid for sitting there yelling “Bob Clampett” repeatedly, but if it was 2 cents he was overpaid.

  • Ken Harris animated the opening and closing with Annie, basically all the “character” animation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.