The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad DVD CoverDespite being a Disney cartoon, this film is definitely not for children! Based on The Wind and the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the movie is about a talking toad who is mentally deranged and a horny guy with big feet lusting after some young hottie while he’s supposed to be teaching the town’s schoolchildren!

As it unfolds, we find Toad’s buddies concerned about his poor money management, even going so far as to appoint Angus MacBadger to act as Toad’s trustee. Even as Angus is attempting to get Toad’s books in order, Toad is out and about wreaking havoc with his new ride, a canary yellow horse drawn cart, pulled by his newest best buddy – a horse named Cyril Proudbottom.

Cyril and Toad enjoy tearing through the countryside, all the while singing some awful song that wasn’t as memorable as Disney was hoping it would be.

Even though Toad is gallivanting all over the county with Proudbottom, he is what we call an “early adopter.” Being an early adopter means that once some cool new gizmo arrives on the scene, it doesn’t matter how, but he’ll get his hands on whatever gadget no one else has. Even if Toad Hall is put at risk.

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So when Toad sees a sportscar go by, it is perhaps not too surprising that Toad is busted for stealing a car.

I’m not going to lie to you. I figured that Toad was probably one of those adrenaline junkies like in The Fast And The Furious or more likely was part of some elaborate car thief/chop shop operation à la Nick Cage in Gone In Sixty Seconds, so I immediately rushed to judgment and decided that Toad was no doubt guilty of this crime.

Therefore, I was surprised to see Toad strap on the powdered wig and represent himself with his star witness being one C. Proudbottom. (As a veteran of many courtroom proceedings, I would advise Toad not to wink at his witnesses when they take the witness stand.)

Toad’s version of events (and this is backed up by his horse-faced pal), is that he saw this sweet car at the local tavern, went in and made a deal with some weasels inside to trade Toad Hall for the car and that he didn’t know the car was stolen.

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Since Britain doesn’t have a constitution that guarantees guilty scumbags get to walk free, he is convicted and shipped off to prison for a very long time. While in prison, Toad cries and decides that he needs to reform and is determined to be a better person when he gets out on parole in 10 to 20.

Just when it seems like the system has finally broken Toad’s free spirited ways, Proudbottom shows up in drag and has Toad put on a dress, which probably wasn’t so alien to him, since he was no doubt someone’s toad-bitch in the joint, and they break out together, with Toad ultimately making his escape on a runaway train, wide-eyed and grinning as the coppers try try to pump him full of lead!

Without spoiling the ending, I will note that at one point during things, Toad takes a shotgun and tries to bust a cap in a weasel’s ass. That’s one talking toad I’d like to have in my posse!

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The other story of course features Ichabod Crane, a tall skinny goof who comes to teach school in the sleepy little town of Sleepy Hollow. While there, he runs into the way sexy daughter of the richest man in the county and sets about winning her heart and pocket book.

Along the way, he runs afoul of the local hunk, the catchily-named Brom Bones who doesn’t really do much to Ichabod except to tell him a spooky story about a headless horseman that appears to come true. (The movie hedges its bets by showing Ichabod married with loads of ugly kids – maybe that’s the true horror.)

It’s a diverting enough piece and manages to evoke an era where strange things could possibly happen in these out of the way hamlets, but I have to say it was a bit of a let down after the inspired lunacy of Toad and his compatriots.

My vote would have been for a full length flick devoted to Toad and all his mental problems and resulting adventures. I never felt like these two stories really had any reason to be stitched together (the framing device showing us a book being picked out from each country is indicative of how pointless the teaming of these two featurettes were), but they were both pretty funny.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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