Thursday, 9 April 2009

Vladimir Tarasov "Cowboy in the City"

Another of the Soyuzmultfilm films, the Russian studio with such a pedigree, Cowboy in the City (1973) is as it says on the pack. In fact, a compendium of four shorts on the cowboy theme, it has many traditional cowboy scenarios realised with a comic twist. Two gunfighters line up against each other, innocent onlookers - two men and a woman - get in the way of a stray bullet, one gets hit, woman steps over body and changes partner; guy smoking cigar loses half to another stray bullet, uses still hot gun to relight cigar; man in wheelchair gets in way of gunfighters, sprays the pair with a machine gun. Good wholesome fun and, as is all the work from Soyuzmultfilm, beautifully drawn and seamlessly animated. Cowboy in the City has some of the best opening and closing credits I've seen and a short comment in Russian that is immaterial to the action. Director Vladimir Tarasov is one of the stalwarts of Russian animation, with a varied output including work showcased in the 4 DVD collection Animated Soviet Propaganda: From the October Revolution to Perestroika, a monument to the extravagant skills of the Soyuzmultfilm artists and the rabidly anti-West politics of the Soviet era. I guess there might be some propaganda here but mostly it is played for laughs. See how many tunes you can almost recognise, they are not quite straight lifts from what was a most popular genre in the sixties and seventies before TV cops came on stream.

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