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» » Bosko the Doughboy (1931)

Short summary

Bosko is a doughboy in the Great War. Bullets and bombs are everywhere. (A bomb even blows up the title card.) Bosko and his fellow infantrymen are hardly safe in their trench. Bosko is happily eating from a pan full of beans when a bomb hits the pan and destroys his meal. Bosko misses Honey; he pulls out her picture and kisses it. A cannonball tears through it, making her head a gaping hole. Now Bosko is angry. He vows revenge but the moment his helmet appears above the trench, it's hit with dozens of bullets, knocking him back down. Another soldier (a horse) briefly cheers him up with harmonica music. Bosko gets his chance to be a hero when his buddy (a hippo) swallows a cannonball.

Bosko's cry of "Mammy" is a reference to Al Jolson.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Hulis
    I'm writing a review on Bosko The Doughboy, a 7 minute long cartoon only because I think it's really really funny, and very anti-PC. It's definitely the funniest Bosko cartoon I've seen, and although I doubt I'm in the same critical league as my fellow reviewers here, I've seen enough Bosko to know what the usual humor level in one is. So what were my favorite parts? The violence for sure, that slaps you in the face, like a very early Popeye fight, only in this the cartoon characters croak! The part with the flea caught me totally unprepared and actually made me laugh out loud very loudly! The animation is really good, much better then I was expecting. It's on par with stuff Warner was doing in the 40's maybe even better there are a lot of details going on and movement. Highly recommend it for adult viewer's, for kids too if they are at least pre-teen. As far as one reviewers question about what war it was, Doughboy is a nickname for American soldiers in World War One so there you go. It is not going to demonize an enemy since it was made in 1931 and Germany was at peace with the world. The same things would happen after World War Two where cartoon characters may be in the war but the enemy is unseen. You don't want to ruin a countries market not only for that cartoon, but also all the movies you are making with bad press. You also see that happening in TV series where although you see the enemy, most times they are not demonized (unless SS or Gestapo) and their abilities are made more respectful so as not to offend that countries market from selling your TV shows and movies in it. For Bosko The Doughboy I rank it a 10 of 10 on the scale of all the Bosko episodes and a 9 of 10 for cartoons, I really liked it.
  • comment
    • Author: Linn
    Believe it or not, there were a few American cartoons from both the silent and early sound periods which used the Great War as fodder for comedy! Given the destructiveness of that particular conflict, it seems tasteless that these cartoons should treat the subject matter so lightly.

    But heck, I have to admit I thought Bokso the Doughboy (1931) was pretty amusing.

    I'm not a big fan of the early Looney Tunes; indeed, Disney and the Fleischers easily overshadowed them in the early 1930s. By no means is this Bosko short bucking that trend of mediocrity, but it is a lot of fun with its dark humor and mildly imaginative gags. Bosko himself is still a largely uninteresting character, but that is less noticeable than usual here.
  • comment
    • Author: Inth
    Bosko shorts generally have very good animation and there are some very nice visual sequences. I want to talk about some specifics here, so there are spoilers:

    This is the second war-oriented Bosko (after the earlier Dumb Patrol), both using World War I as the setting. While Bosko was an aviator in the first one and it was a good deal lighter in tone and mood, Bosko is an infantryman in the trenches in this one and some of the gags are actually a bit like "gallows" humor-characters get shot and collapse in comically exaggerated manners, weapons are hit and "die" just like the other characters. This being a Bosko short, he and other characters play music at odd times and in unusual ways.

    There are some very dark and somewhat serious animated bits here, mixed in with the comedic absurdities throughout the short. Bosko has a running bit with his helmet whenever he tries to get out of a trench. Some of the typical gags found regularly in Bosko shorts are here, of course-Bosko is eating from a can when we first see him, in the same exaggerated style the animators tended to use, for instance. There's also a gag involving a pair of long johns and the back flap in this one. That said, there are some stylistic flourishes here that aren't standard in a Bosko and this is a fairly good short which holds up well after roughly 75 years. Well worth seeing. Recommended.
  • comment
    • Author: Dilkree
    Bosko, in case you've never heard of him, was the original Warner Bros. cartoon star (before Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, etc). A feisty, black and white character of no discernible species - although he looks like a minstrel character - the Looney Tunes series would have him go through a litany of adventures representing common daily aspects of life.

    One entry was 1931's "Bosko the Doughboy". Hugh Harman's short casts Bosko as a soldier, presumably in World War I. Which brings up a discussion topic. You see, in Warner's WWII-themed cartoons, it was always very clear that it was WWII, and that Bugs or Daffy or whoever were fighting Nazis. Here, not only is the war never specifically identified, the enemy is never specifically identified. So how do we know who the enemy really is? One thing that we learned in "Catch-22" is that "...anyone with a gun is the enemy." Of course, I'm sure that the people behind the cartoon never intended for the cartoon to merit such a complex interpretation. I have no doubt that they envisioned it as pure entertainment. Not that it contains much in the way of entertainment. I believe that I speak for most Looney Tunes fans when I say that the Looney Tunes' golden age began with Porky Pig's debut in Friz Freleng's "I Haven't Got a Hat" in 1935.
  • comment
    • Author: Marilbine
    The Bosko cartoons may not be animation masterpieces, but they are fascinating as examples of Looney Tunes in their early days before the creation of more compelling characters and funnier and more creative cartoons. There are some good cartoons, as well as some average or less ones.

    'Bosko the Doughboy', one of the better Bosko cartoons by quite some way, is a welcome return to the war-oriented theme explored in 'Dumb Patrol', another one of the better Bosko cartoons. Again the story is slight and slightly flimsy and a couple of parts are not for the easily offended.

    On the other hand, the animation is good. Not exactly refined but fluid and crisp enough with some nice detail, it is especially good in the meticulous backgrounds and some remarkably flexible yet natural movements for Bosko. The music doesn't disappoint either, its infectious energy, rousing merriment, lush orchestration and how well it fits with the animation is just a joy.

    The gags are quite inventive and fun with a brave and successful attempt at being darker and grimmer than usual for a Bosko cartoon, Bosko while not a great character is more compelling than usual and the pacing is lively enough.

    In summary, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox
  • comment
    • Author: Tygokasa
    . . . over how a major American movie studio such as Warner Bros. could have released an animated short in such poor taste as BOSKO THE DOUGHBOY. The 21st Century audience of Today no doubt would reach a solid consensus that DOUGHBOY is Racist (the final "Mammy" Al Jolson-style Blackface "joke"), Misogynistic (when Bosko's gal gets beheaded by a mortar shell), Simplistic (DOUGHBOY's answer to guns is always MORE guns), and Infuriating (while our Brave Allies are fighting the Battle of Benghazi or something, Bosko and his hippo buddy Dell are playing MUSICAL APPRENTICE in the safety of the Trenches on a Tom Hanks BIG-style walk-on keyboard), just like Donald J. Trump. That's right, the always prophetic Looney Tuners carefully crafted DOUGHBOY to speak specifics for the first Major U.S. Presidential Candidate consistently refusing to speak them for himself, our Beloved Trumplestiltskin. With DOUGHBOY, Warner is warning Military Veterans in particular of what the ONLY American Game Show Host personally beholden to BOTH Russia and China for billions in secret "loans" has in store for the American Heroes of the Homeland: Oblivion. Just as Trump has gone on record for hating our Stalwart P.O.W.s because the U.S. Taxpayers (a group which apparently that does NOT include Donald J.) pay them for "featherbedding" while they are being detained by the Enemy, he's sure to hate our Purple Hearters with an even greater loathing, since there are so many MORE of them than ex-P.O.W.s eating up tax revenue through their Veterans Hospitals that Trumpenstein would rather divert to build Trump Towers in EVERY major U.S. city on the government dime. Therefore, the minute that Leader Trump evicts the Obamas, he plans on showing DOUGHBOY to ALL U.S. Veterans in an effort to raise their suicide rate to AT LEAST 90%. Just remember: Every vote for Bosko is a vote for Trump (and Vice Versa). As Donnie is always saying, What do you have to lose?
  • comment
    • Author: Chuynopana
    Considering that approximately 11,000,000 people were killed during WWI, you would think it would be a topic that was taboo in cartoons. Yet, inexplicably, this is the second Warner Brothers/Looney Tunes cartoon set during the war that I've seen in the last couple weeks (the other being "Boom Boom" from 1936). Both are set in the trenches and both show the rollicking good time that can be had in the war!! Call me a killjoy, but I just can't understand this sort of subject in a cartoon.

    The film has a big strike against it at the start--it was made during the Harmon-Ising era at Looney Tunes. I say this because their productions emphasized cute and their creation, Bosko, was rather cutesy and bland. But, at least there is no singing in this one! Overall, it's animated well but also a bit unsavory. Plus, some might raise an eyebrow at the ending with its cheap attempt at humor (Bosko is burnt to a crisp and does an Al Jolson imitation). Overall, better than most Harmon-Ising cartoons but that still isn't saying a lot.
  • comment
    • Author: Corgustari
    Bosko the Doughboy is a bit more grim than usual and since the previous reviewer discussed the short in much detail, I'll mention some gags that haven't been discussed yet. Like the one where the bullets take some of the body of another soldier to make him much smaller instead of killing him. Or the one where after a friend of Bosko's gets a cannonball stuck in his stomach, Bosko gets it out by simply zipping down his front part and taking the ball out of there! Or the one where the dog soldier has fleas so Bosko solves the problem by getting his metal hat riddled with bullets so with the holes filled in the dog uses it to scratch his back! Like I said, pretty grim with "gallows" humor abound. Still, worth a look for any early Warner Bros. animation enthusiast.
  • comment
    • Author: Manemanu
    On the Image Entertainment release of 'Uncensored Bosko, Volume One' Stephen Worth of "Storyboard Magazine" proclaims on the back cover that "One of the best cartoons ever produced is 'Bosko The Doughboy' (1931).'" Don't you think that's stretching it a tad? I can see his enthusiasm, the cartoon is well designed and well executed, but a story is non existent, and it lingers for about a minute before it Iris's out. If you want good cartoons see something like 'Wyken Blynken And Nod' or 'Somewhere In Dreamland' or 'Old McDonald Had A Farm'. I suppose if you are a die-hard animation fan and historian like myself, watch this one. The short is presented on 'Uncensored Bosko volume one', in fair condition, with a few scratches, and the film runs seven minutes.
  • Uncredited cast:
    Carman Maxwell Carman Maxwell - Bosko (uncredited)
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