Film: 6916

Animation | 1940 | Silent | Colour

Synopsis:

A delightful and cleverly funny little animation about girl platypus meeting boy platypus. Obviously a product of its time it has very clear stereo-typical male/female roles and human mating behaviour . It is also obvious that the animators are not familiar with the Australian landscape or native animals. But funny and clever animation.

Graphic of Australia with caricature animals. A water colour scene of bare trees blown sideways, mountains in the background. The Kangaroo. A caricature of a mother and joey kangaroo, they are eating and suddenly both look up at the camera, startled, the joey jumps into the mother's pouch and she leaps over the mountains in three giant leaps. Laughing Jackass Two kangaroos sit on the bough of a tree, they laugh hysterically together, pause then laugh again. And Strangest of All, the Platypus.

A platypus comes out of her little burrow, with her tail she flicks away a little pile of soil. She turns around at the edge of a river or lagoon, and her face is obviously female with big eyes and long curling lashes, she looks at her reflection in the water. The reflection twists and distorts her face. The platypus draws back, looks shy and goes to look at herself again but is afraid and runs into her burrow. From the water comes another platypus. He shakes each rear paw of water then twists his tail to wring it out. He looks about and proceeds to the little smooth earth cliff face on the bank. He does a handstand and with his tail scratches a big semi-circle in the cliff, then proceeds to dig out the semicircle with upward movements of his front paws. The soil flies over his head onto his broad tail, which he then flicks into the water. The hole gets deeper, and the pile of dirt on his tail is getting heavy. He flicks it sideways over a log. It lands in front of the female platypus' burrow, she is sitting in the entrance and is startled by dirt landing at her front door. She creeps over to the log and peeps over, and she smile in delight. The male platypus is doing a handstand and using his tale to masterfully shore up the newly dug burrow.

The female flutters her eyelashes and smiles to herself. She reaches for a dandelion flower and powders her face with its pollen, primps her hair and picks up some of the thrown soil and tosses it and confidently catches it again. Over on the other side, the male platypus admires his handiwork, he is very pleased with his new burrow, but a pile of soil flies over and hits him on the head, he falls to the ground and looks annoyed as he turns to see where if came from. On the other side of the log, the female puts her paw in her mouth, rolls her eyes wide and she turns her back to the log coquettishly, the male pops his head over, his eyes cross, red hearts fly around his head and he falls back behind the log, smitten. He is sitting slack-mouthed and splay-legged behind the log, he tries to hoist himself up but in a very funny scene he takes about five attempts to get enough strength in his body to stand on his feet, then he promptly falls on his face, red love-hearts again flutter around his head.

On the other side of the log, Miss Platypus wonders at the lack of response and turns and creeps towards the log. Meanwhile the male, weak with love, manages to hoist himself up against the log. Naturally, their faces meet inches from each other and the female takes off in horror, the male looks after her delightedly with open mouth. She flees into her burrow leaving swirling dust. The male, in the height of delirium, bounces around with utter pleasure on his rigid tail, which he is using like a pogo stick. Up above him, two kookaburras are laughing hysterically, one mimics the platypus by pretending his rigid legs are a pogo stick, he bounces up and down on his branch with exaggerated joy, he collapses and then he and his partner both fall about laughing again.

From the lagoon, a duck swims up to the bank, hoists herself up and flicks her tail to shake off the water. The duck waddles over to the log, and squats and goes to sleep, about the head she appears very much like the female platypus. On the other side of the log the male lays day dreaming and idly drawing love hearts and arrows in the soil with his pointed tail, he looks up and sees what he thinks is Miss Platypus' head. He creeps up the log and bashfully prepares to kiss her. From her burrow, Miss Platypus appears just to see what he is doing to the duck and looks horrified and furious. He has puckered his bill all ready to kiss the ducks head. Miss Platypus immediately changes from fury to flirtation and in a very provocative move, points her nose and her tail in the air and minces past the duck. The males attention is caught and he gazes in a stupor at her and then follows her as he minces past him on his side of the log. Weakly he returns to his task then realises what he has seen, his head twists back and forth and is horrified and bewildered. He looks right over the log sees he was about to kiss a duck, and falls over in fright on his side of the log, the duck wakes up somewhat perplexed. The male platypus runs to Miss Platypus. She stands haughtily, he desperately appealing to her, but she cold-heartedly brings up her tail and whacks him under the chin, she minces off and he looks forlorn, then he is distracted at something above his head and he gets red with embarrassment and fury. Over his head the kookaburras are mimicking the episode, with one playing the outraged female, the other the rejected and abused male, then they collapse laughing hysterically again.

Down below the little male covers his ears to block out the mocking laughter, then his attention is caught by the female swimming around the lagoon flirtingly. She peeps from behind a low branch to see if he has noticed, and she registers pleasure. The male is swiming towards her swiftly and manfully. She feigns indifference, puts her nose in the air, and swims away; he powers after her. She dives down into the water, he swims into a piece of vegetation which covers his face then he blindly hits his head on an almost submerged rock. He falls back with his eyes shut, and floats on his back, as if unconscious. The female surfaces and is horrified. She swims towards him frantically. He floats over to a waterfall, and disappears below the surface, she arrives and is greatly distracted as she cannot find him. She dives below to look for him, he is floating down to the bed of the lagoon slowly, his eyes are shut and he comes to rest on the sandy bottom, she follows and is distraught. The male sneakily opens one eye, then the other, to check her response, sees an underwater flower growing near him, he plucks it and puts it on his chest as if dead. She cries tears of grief and wrings her paws. She swims down and kisses him. Instantly, his eyes open and an air bubble escapes his mouth, as it floats upwards it turns into a heart-shape. It reaches the surface and becomes two bubbles on the top of the water, as they burst they turn into two heart-shaped rings on the surface which move outwards and converge and join into one!

The platypus rise to the surface and a mating game commences, a sequence of shots slows them frolicking on the surface and beneath the water, playing in rapids and in the water lilies. Eventually, they stand in their now heart-shaped burrow entrance which is surrounded by flowers, at their feet is a little baby platypus, and the male contentedly kisses the female in a picture of bliss; then they look startled and look up. The laughing jackasses are on their branch, looking horrified and harassed, they clutch each other. For on a nearby branch are four baby kookaburras all of them laughing in what must be a frightful cacophony. The kookaburras are alarmed and stressed. Down below the platypus family laugh.


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