SUMMARY: Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda play a barnyard concert of extracts from Chopin, to an increasingly distracted audience of animals.
WHY IT’S HERE: While I’ve never been a huge fan of the Walter Lantz studio’s work as a whole, ‘Musical Moments from Chopin’ is one of the exceptions. Lantz casts his two biggest stars, Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda, as pianists in a barnyard concert but rather than focus on the musical performers, Lantz lets his stars provide the soundtrack to a series of balletic vignettes featuring the restless audience. I’m not a fan of Andy Panda (bland) or Woody Woodpecker (annoying and ugly) but ‘Musical Moments from Chopin’ uses the pair brilliantly. They are given an early skit together and then remain to provide star presence to bolster an inventive series of vignettes featuring other one-shot characters that culminate in a destructive finale. Piano based cartoons seemed to be in vogue this year, with both MGM’s ‘The Cat Concerto’ and Warner’s ‘Rhapsody Rabbit’ also released, but while those two cartoons resulted in a war over plagiarism, ‘Musical Moments from Chopin’ distinguishes itself completely from them by taking a different approach to the musical theme. The result is a far more prestige film than we’ve come to expect from Lantz and a cartoon I never tire of watching again.