SUMMARY: A series of characters from books come to life after hours in a library.
WHY IT’S HERE: One of the books-come-to-life series of cartoons that peaked with Bob Clampett’s ‘Book Revue’, ‘Have You Got Any Castles?’ is a strong and extremely handsome piece of work. Much of the credit must go to underrated director Frank Tashlin whose work on this short is superb. At this early stage in their history, the Merrie Melodies cartoons were seen as prestige efforts attempting to rival the success of the bigger budget Disney Silly Symphony shorts, often by emulating them. The gorgeous look of ‘Have You Got Any Castles?’ owes something to Disney but Tashlin’s cartoon has much better gags than the average Disney short of this era. ‘Have You Got Any Castles?’ is essentially plotless yet Tashlin keeps us engaged throughout with some inspired gags (my favourite being the Heidi gag) and beautiful animation. As with most early Merrie Melodies, ‘Have You Got Any Castles?’ revolves around music which can often be a nail in the coffin of these early era cartoons. Fortunately, ‘Have You Got Any Castles?’ is deftly executed. It could hardly be more different from Clampett’s ‘Book Revue’ in terms of pacing and animation style but it’s worth noting that the Clampett cartoon does borrow some ideas from this one. ‘Have You Got Any Castles?’ is far from what would become the recognisable Warner Bros. style but it manages to be hugely entertaining on its own merits.