Monday, October 05, 2009

Odd's Bodkins

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)
from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
directed by James Algar, Clyde Geronimi, and Jack Kinney
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

I remembered the last third of this thirty-minute short nearly moment for moment from my childhood. Those scenes begin with Katrina's father asking his guests for ghost stories of a windy, cloudy autumn night. Brom Bones, who can't keep up with the dances that Ichabod learned in other towns, takes the opportunity to spin the tale of the Headless Horseman. Jack o' lanterns grimace, the fireplace flares, and Ichabod begins his doomed ride home to a cacophony of bullfrogs, branches, and hands around the moon.

It made me want to watch the first three quarters of Sleepy Hollow, frankly, so true to the source does Tim Burton's adaptation initially stay. But the first twenty minutes of "Ichabod" are worth mentioning, if only for the odd eponymous schoolmaster himself. Ichabod dreams of Katrina Van Tassel more for her family's gold than her beauty; unlike Brom, a lustful, appealing, salt of the earth heavyweight, Crane's something of a deceitful dandy. He impresses the natives with his city-slicked graces much the same way an itinerant preacher would charm his girth into a seat at every table in the Hudson River Valley. Nor does narrator Bing Crosby even suggest that Brom had anything to do with the horseman himself. No, Bones is there to sweep Katrina to the altar, but for all intents and purposes, he deserves to.