Verwitterte Melodie (Weatherbeaten Melody) is a 1942 animated short film made in Nazi Germany by Hans Fischerkoesen.
A cheerful bee goes flitting about a meadow one sunny morning. After drinking some nectar and goofing around with a berry that it treats like a soccer ball, the bee happens on a wind-up phonograph that has been abandoned in the meadow. By accident, the bee discovers that it can use the stinger in its tail as a phonograph needle to play the record. An up-tempo jazz number rings out as the bee circles around the record, stinger down. Other bugs and assorted critters come out and dance to the music. When the bee starts to get tired out from spinning around the record, the other little critters work together to help the bee and keep the party going.
Fischerkoesen was a commercial animator who was pressed into making theatrical shorts by Joseph Goebbels after World War II cut off Germany's access to Disney cartoons. Fischerkoesen was anti-Nazi, and this cartoon is believed to contain subtle anti-Nazi elements. Beyond the political messaging, Veritterte Melodie contains some amazingly sophisticated "multiplane" animation, simulating depth of field in a way that was very innovative for the era.
- Ambiguously Gay: Two ladybugs are a couple.
- Anthropomorphic Animals: All of them, including the cheerful bee with a humanoid face.
- The End: The groove in the record that the bee is playing starts unspooling and forms "Ende".
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: This cartoon is regarded as containing a subtle anti-Nazi message.
- First, there's the record, a jazz tune. The Nazis, famously, hated jazz.
- Two of the bugs stumble across a broken garter strap, which is Getting Crap Past The Radar on one level—some vigorous sex was happening near that record player, apparently—and not very Nazi-friendly on another level, as bonking to jazz music in a meadow was hardly the thing that proper Nazi maidens were supposed to do.
- Two ladybugs dance and embrace. Lesbians?
- Then there's how all the various bugs and other small animals of the meadow—frogs, hedgehogs, etc—work together to play the music on the record. A multicultural group of people working together and living in harmony was not a Nazi-friendly message.
- Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: All the bugs and flowers dance to the jazz music record.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: The bee is a girl (of course!) and a couple of shots show visible cleavage.
- Orbital Shot: The phonograph is introduced with a fancy 360-degree camera pan all the way around it. This was very unusual for animation of the 1940s, a cutting-edge effect that even Disney would have had a hard time replicating.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: As the camera pans away two bugs are seen canoodling in a flower. The male bug pulls down a flower petal for privacy.
- Visual Pun: A caterpillar forms a chorus line all by himself by kicking his many legs.