Fleisher Studios was Walt Disney's biggest competition at the start of the early cartoon era. In the end, the two became friends but they were fierce rivals for years. In may ways, the Fleishers out Disney'd Disney with animation and new techniques. The had parallax shots and filmed cels over 3D models to get depth into the cartoons. They invented Popeye and Betty Boop and were in many ways a more adult focused company.
While many people remember Gulliver's' Travels as their full length feature animation, they did do another... Mr. Bug Goes to Town. Animation-wise its a tour deforce of smoothly moving characters and wonderful background pantings. It's close to 2 hours long... and eternity for even live action films of the time.
The story is of a grasshopper returning to his little home (bug) town which has been under siege by the humans who walk through it destroying everything and setting things on fire with their cigarettes and cigars. There is a complicated plot involving the grasshopper's girl friend being pursued by the local rich bug who lives on higher and more secure ground. In the end, none of them is safe as the lot they are on is about to be used for a skyscraper. The grasshopper eventually leads the town, after lots of pitfalls and misunderstandings, to a new garden on the top floor of the building where they can be in harmony with the human couple who live there.
In most ways the film is delightful... despite the racism that is sort of inevitable in a film, particularly animated ones, of this period. It's not close to worst ever seen, but it till does make one's teeth grind when you see it. Visually beautiful with endearing characters, I would say it's a bit too long and complicated, The Fleishers were ahead of Disney in many ways but story was a weak point and while never dull, it could move along a lot faster.
(Also called Hoppity goes to Town)