Dave Fleischer was responsible for many gems. Ones that were amusing and charming, though over-cuteness did come through in some efforts and the stories were always pretty thin, with appealing characters, outstanding music and visuals that were inventive and with innovative animation techniques.
'The Dandy Lion' is one of eleven cartoons forming Fleischer's "Animated Antics" from 1940-1941. None of the eleven being high points in the studio's output (a long way from that), the worst even being some of the weakest they and Fleischer himself did. To me and quite a few others Fleischer's overall quality declined quite a bit in the early 40s and that can be evident in the "Animated Antics" series, almost as much as the worst of the Gabby cartoons. 'The Dandy Lion', which kicked the series off, is not one of the worst but there is not much note worthy here.
Best asset of 'The Dandy Lion' is Sammy Timberg's music, which is outstanding. It's lush, cleverly orchestrated, energetic, full of character and not just adds a huge amount to the action it enhances it. The animation also comes over well, it's not elaborate or ground-breaking but there are some good detail in the backgrounds that don't seem to show limitations and fluid enough drawing, the black and white also being crisp.
Jack Mercer does a nice job with the voice work, or at least with what he has. The lion by far is the best character, still not very interesting but there is at least some personality.
Which is more than can be said for the bland support, where personality and likeability goes out the window. There is very little charm here, it tries far too hard to be cute and there is nothing remotely amusing let alone funny. There is a severe shortage of gags, or much worth investing in.
Furthermore, the story is paper thin and it does feel like 7 minutes over-stretched to breaking point that the pace is very dull, coming nowhere near close to matching the energy heard in the music.
Overall, very mediocre but not unwatchable. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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