(I do not own pictures, videos, etc.)
Welcome Back! Today, we will watch The Academy Award Review of Walt Disney Cartoons. It isn’t really a real movie, but I thought it would be fun to include. I couldn’t find the actual movie to it, but I did find the shorts. And, I don’t really see the live-action part as being important. So, I shall just review the shorts.
The original film included these segments:
- Flowers and Trees (1932)
- Three Little Pigs (1933)
- The Tortoise and the Hare (1934)
- Three Orphan Kittens (1935)
- The Country Cousin (1936)
In 1966, the re-release included four more segments:
- The Old Mill (1937)
- Ferdinand the Bull (1938)
- The Ugly Duckling (1939)
- Lend a Paw (1941)
I will be doing all 9 of them.
The Academy Award was released in the US on May 19, 1937. It helped promote the upcoming release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was a collection of the five Oscar winning Silly Symphonies shorts. It included title cards and narrators. In 1966, it was released with four additional shorts, but no narration.
- Flowers and Trees came out on July 18, 1932 and was directed by Burt Gillett. It was the first to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process. It won the first Academy Award for Animated Short Subjects. Because of the success of Flowers and Trees, all of the Silly Symphonies after were in color.
- The Three Little Pigs was released on May 27, 1933 directed by Bill Gillett. It’s based on the Three Little Pigs fairytale (which I’m pretty sure everyone knows.) It won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. In 1994, it was voted #11 of 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time. In 2007, the National Film Registry selected it for preservation. The cartoon was so successful that when the theaters ran the cartoon for months after its debut, it still debuted great financial response. It’s considered to be the most successful animated short ever made and was on top of animation until Mickey’s popularity. The original song “Whose afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” was composed by Frank Churchill and it was a best-selling single.
- The Tortoise and the Hare was released on January 5, 1935 directed by Winifred Jackson. It was based on the Aesop Fable The Tortoise and the Hare (which again I’m pretty sure everyone knows.) It won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. This cartoon is believed to be one of the inspirations of Bugs Bunny.
- Three Orphan Kittens was released on October 26, 1935 directed by David Hand. It won the 1935 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons.)
- The Country Cousins was released on October 31, 1936 directed by Winifred Jackson. It won the 1936 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The Country Cousin was built around a musical score written by Leigh Harline. The story was based on Aesop’s Fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. (It’s a little similar to The Prince and the Pauper.)
- The Old Mill was released on November 5, 1937 directed by Winifred Jackson and scored by Leigh Harline. “The film depicts the natural community of animals populating an old abandoned windmill in the country, and how they deal with a severe summer thunderstorm that nearly destroys their habitat. It incorporates the song “One Day When We Were Young” from Johann Strauss II’s operetta The Gypsy Baron.” The Old Mill was testing for advanced animation techniques. It was the first use of Multiplane camera. All the lessons learned in The Old Mill are demonstrated in Snow White. In 2015, the Library of Congress selected the film for the National Film Registry. The Old Mill won the 1937 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. It is the 46th most popular cartoon on IMDB. In the book The 50 greatest Cartoons, it is #14. Also Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Nausicaa, etc.) called The Old Mill his favorite Disney film.
- Ferdinand the Bull was released on November 25, 1938 directed by Dick Richard. It is based on the book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf. Every year on Christmas Eve, it would broadcast as part of the annual Disney Christmas show From All of Us to All of You. It won the 1938 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons.)
- The Ugly Duckling was released on April 7, 1939 directed by Jack Cutting and Clyde Geronimi. It is based on the fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Anderson (which again I’m pretty sure everyone knows). Music was composed by Albert Hay Malotte. It won the 1939 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons.) It was the last entry for the Silly Symphony series.
- Lend a Paw was released on October 3, 1941 directed by Clyde Geronimi and original music by Leigh Harline. Walt Disney voiced Mickey and Pinto Colvig as Pluto. (Original voice of Goofy, Grumpy and Sleepy, etc.) The film won The Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1942.
If you look at previous cartoons of that generation you’ll see how much Disney exceeds them. Popular cartoons of the 1910s-1930s that are still popular today (besides Disney) include Looney Tunes (1930), Betty Boop (1932), and Felix the Cat (1919).
(Felix the Cat: 1919)
(Looney Tunes: 1930)
(Betty Boop: 1932)
Flowers and Trees:
We start off with a bird singing and waking everyone up. The trees and flowers wake up. Flowers washing “their faces,” a caterpillar taking a bath, flowers and mushrooms exercising, and the tree using flowers as perfume (Since the flowers are alive, does that mean the tree killed the flowers to smell good? Lol) The trees begin playing music, dancing, and falling in love. The Girl tree plays hard to get. The Evil tree likes the girl tree and takes her away. The Boy and Evil tree fight each other. (It’s very similar to the cartoons of that era like Popeye or Looney Tunes.) The Evil tree loses and plays dirty throwing fire at the other trees. The Boy tree tries to put it out. The fire chases all the trees. The Evil tree is happy until the fire catches him. The birds try to put out the fire, but to no avail. A numerous amount of birds fly high and hit the clouds making it rain putting out the fire. The Evil tree has been burned to death. The Boy tree using a caterpillar proposes to the Girl tree. We hear wedding bells, and the trees get married, and everyone lives happily ever after (besides the evil tree of course.)
The animation is breathtaking. The cartoon is only 7 minutes and 30 seconds, but what they did in that short amount of time is amazing. You are entertained the entire time. It starts off as a simple morning routine, to finding true love, and then experiencing death. It is a simple story, but it is charming nonetheless. I give it a A+.
Three Little Pigs:
We start off with the Straw Pig singing and building his house, then we meet the Stick Pig singing and building his house, and finally we are introduced to the Brick Pig singing and building his house. The Straw Pig finishes his house and plays the flute; Stick Pig finishes his house and joins his brother playing the fiddle. The Brick Pig is still building his house when his brothers arrive and insist on playing. Brick Pig isn’t having any of that though. He insists on work first, play later. The two brothers begin to sing, “Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” We are then introduced to The Big Bad Wolf. The two brothers basically brag on being able to beat up the wolf and continue to sing. They see the wolf salivating over them and freak out running inside of their houses.
The Big Bad Wolf starts with Straw Pig and demands to be let in. “Not by the hair of my chine chin chin,” exclaims Straw Pig. The wolf shouts, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in” which he succeeds in doing. Straw Pig runs to Stick Pig’s house, and is let in. The Wolf makes them believe that he is gone, and the Pigs begin to sing “Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” He wears sheep’s skin and attempts to trick the Pigs, but they do not believe him. He blows their house down and they run to Brick Pig’s house. Brick Pig tells them off, telling them they should’ve listened to him. He plays the piano and everyone sings “Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”
The Wolf tries to trick the Pigs again by dressing as the Brush Man. Brick Pig grabs a Brush, and the Wolf misses him. Brick Pig “beats him up.” The Big Bad Wolf gets mad and attempts to blow the house down, but fails. The Wolf goes down the Chimney, but falls down on a pot of boiling water, and goes back up. He screams in pain and runs away. The Three Little Pigs sing “Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” and live happily ever after.
The Three Little Pigs stays true to the original fairy tale. The animation is amazing and the song is brilliant. The moral of the story is basically to always work first and then play later, which is a lesson everyone must learn. The characters are one-dimensional, but that is how they are supposed to be, and I don’t find it to be bothersome. It is a cute tale. I give it an A+.
The Tortoise and the Hare:
We are introduced to the Hare who is popular and cocky and we meet the Tortoise who is friendly, but not as popular. They are going to race each other. The Tortoise wishes the Hare good luck, but the hare being as cocky as he is shuts him down. He makes fun of the Tortoise although the Tortoise continues to be nice to him. The Hare races along almost taking a house down and taking off the bird’s feathers. The Tortoise trots along while snails are alongside him. The Hare pretends to be asleep while the Tortoise sneaks past him. The Hare runs right past him, when little girl bunnies call him over. The Hare and bunnies flirt with each other. The Tortoise keeps on trotting along not stopping. The Hare plays with the Bunnies instead of continuing the race, confident he would win. The Tortoise nearly approaching the finish line, the hare still cocky as ever bids adieu to the ladies, and runs off. The Tortoise barely beats the Hare. Everyone picks up the Tortoise and cheers. The End
The moral of the story is perseverance beats speed. Never give up, and don’t become too confident or else you will lose. The Tortoise and the Hare also stays true to the Aesop Fable. The animation is not as good as its predecessors, but it is still very good. The cartoon sort of reminds me of Looney Tunes. I think it is the Hare, because he really reminds me of Bugs Bunny. The characters are good. It’s a good cartoon, but I prefer the other two. I give it an A-.
Three Orphan Kittens:
We are greeted to a cold sight. Snow everywhere and it’s obviously freezing when suddenly a car emerges, and throws a bag over the fence. The wind picks up the bag and out pops up three adorable kittens: Orange Cat, Grey Cat, and Black Cat. They are shivering and nearly buried in the snow when they see an opening to a window. The Black Cat meows them to follow its lead to go inside. The Cats climb onto the table when Grey Cat is bothered by a fly that lands on the pie. The Grey Cat tries to get the fly by jumping into the pie. The Orange Cat is licking an empty milk “bottle” and gets its head stuck inside. The Black Cat is playing with the pepper shaker when some pepper comes out, and the Cat sneezes sending it flying towards the Orange cat who ends up in the entire bottle.
The Black Cat determined to exact revenge on the Pepper Shaker, but fails and gets stuck in the bottle. He/she falls down and takes the dishes and Orange cat with it. They run away from the scene of the crime. They enter a little girl’s room and begin to play. Black Cat finds a feather and chases it all over the house. The cats start playing around with the piano. They end up accidently destroying the living room and the rest of the house. We are introduced to a lady who chases after them. She prepares to throw them outside when a little girl enters the room. She asks to take them, and the lady gives the cats to her. She treats the cats like babies and we assume that they live happily ever after. The End
The Three Orphan Kittens is charming, cute, and funny. You can’t tell me that those kittens aren’t absolutely adorable. I mean, look at them. The music is beautiful. The animation is beautiful. The story is really nice especially in such a short amount of time. In the beginning, you are sad and truly feel sorry for the kittens. Then you learn to love them and hope they have a good ending. Overall, I really like the cartoon. It gets an A+.
The Country Cousin:
We are shown a letter from the City Cousin to the Country Cousin to come visit him. (Side Note: The mice look like a mix between Jerry (Tom and Jerry) and Timothy Q. Mouse (Dumbo)) Country Cousin knock’s on City Cousin’s Door, or at least he thinks it’s his cousin’s door. City Cousin whistles for him to come over hoping to not have wakened anyone up. They see a great big feast, and begin to eat the food. The problem is Country Cousin is too loud for City Cousin, and he has to constantly remind Country Cousin to be quiet. Country Cousin eats some spicy mustard, and urgently tries to relieve it by drinking the first thing he sees which turns out to be alcohol. It tastes delicious and he drinks more. City Cousin is surprised by this and grows quite angry at his cousin’s lack of manners. Country Mouse is very drunk and can’t stand up or stop hiccuping. City Mouse shakes his head disapprovingly. Country Mouse fights with his reflection and ends up making a mess, and breaking things.
We are greeted to a sleeping cat. Country Mouse decides to get brave, but City Mouse pleads with him not to go. Country Mouse does not listen, and kicks the cat. City Mouse runs away into his mouse house. The cat chases him, and Country Mouse falls down into the street nearly getting stepped on in the process. He runs straight all the way home scared out of his little mind. The End.
The Country Cousin is good, but not as good as the others before it. The characters were cute, a little stereotypical, but not really a problem. The animation is pretty good. I’m not sure what the moral is, but it is a good laugh. It’s similar in a way to the Tom and Jerry cartoons. Overall, I liked it, but I didn’t love it, so it gets a B-.
The Old Mill:
The Old Mill is one I haven’t seen before. We are greeted by two lovey dovey blue birds- the mother nesting and the father feeding her. Then they “kiss.” Then we meet some other animals. Everyone is happy. We come across two frogs battling each other by croaking. (The animators are using the music to tell the story. It really reminds me of Fantasia. The frog song sounds like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice song in Fantasia.) Crickets and Fireflies join in. The frog eats one of the fireflies, but you can still see it glowing in the frog’s stomach. Then suddenly some spooky music appears, everyone gets scared, and the wind starts blowing. The rope on the mill breaks loose and the Mother Bird tries to protect her babies. They are all nearly crushed. The wind is blowing harder, its pouring rain, and the thunder and lightning are getting bad. Lightning hits the mill and it is nearly destroyed. The good news is everyone survived and is okay. The old mill welcomes three new baby birds.
The way they used the music to set the tone and tell the story was marvelous. I absolutely loved it. It was brilliant. The moral of the story is sometimes bad things happen, but in the end everything will work out, or at least that’s my interpretation of it. I liked how it was cute and charming, and then suddenly you’re scared that everyone is going to die. It reminded me of Bambi. The animation was beautiful. This was delightful. I loved it. Overall, another A+.
Ferdinand the Bull:
We are introduced to little Ferdinand who was a bull, but he wasn’t like the other bulls. The other bulls liked to run and butt their heads, but not Ferdinand. He liked to sit in his favorite spot all day and smell the flowers. His mother feared that he would be lonesome all by himself and would plead with him to go play with the other boys, but Ferdinand would shake his head, and exclaim “I like it better over here, right where I can sit just fine and smell the flowers.” Ferdinand’s mother let him be happy. As the years went by, Ferdinand continued to grow. The other bulls wanted to be in the bull fights in Madrid, but not Ferdinand. He continued to want to just smell the flowers and sit in his favorite spot.
Some men came to pick the biggest bull to be in the bull fights. The other bulls tried to show off how big and strong they were, but not Ferdinand. He knew they wouldn’t want him. So, as he was getting ready to sit down, he ended up sitting on a bee, and it hurt him so bad. He was running around and crushing things. The men took him to Madrid. Ferdinand was scared to go out there, and everyone was scared of him, but then he saw the flower, and he raced after it. The matador ran away dropping the flowers and Ferdinand stood there just smelling the flowers. Everyone became angry wanting Ferdinand to fight. They took Ferdinand home, and he sits in his favorite spot smelling the flowers. “Ferdinand is very happy.” The End
The short was cute, but it wasn’t very impressive. The other shorts were really wow, and this one was good, but not wow. Ferdinand is adorable especially when he was little. The animation is good, and I like the use of the narrator. It seemed to be lacking something, but I’m not sure what. I did like it though. Overall, it receives a B+.
The Ugly Duckling:
We are introduced to the Mother and Father Duck. The Mother Duck looks annoyed while the Father Duck keeps pacing back and force. Obviously, very nervous on becoming a father; four beautiful golden ducks are born and go up to Father Duck as he kisses them. He kisses his wife and they look lovingly at their children. The last egg starts bouncing, the mother shocked, gets up, and they watch the egg. Out comes a ugly white, loud duckling that looks nothing like his brothers and sisters. The mother is shocked and the father becomes angry. He asks her to explain this, but she has no idea. He accuses her of cheating, and she becomes angry that he would accuse her. They fight and she slaps him. The Father Duck leaves and the Mother Duck takes her babies to the pond. She does not like the Ugly Duckling, and throws him off. He follows them, but Mother Duck and his siblings yell at him and abandon him. He looks at his reflection and is scared by what he sees.
The poor little Ugly Duckling cries. He is very sad and goes off on his own. He sees some baby birds (looks like the birds from Snow White, except brown) and thinks that they could maybe be his family. The Mother Bird chases him out and attacks him. He finds a plastic duck and thinks this could be his family. The plastic duck “attacks him” and he becomes frightened. The Ugly Duckling cries when a beautiful Swan sees him. The baby swans greet him and he becomes happy again. The mother Swan calls her children, but the Ugly Duckling is afraid he’ll be rejected again, so he leaves. They don’t let him go. They become a family and the Ugly Duckling is happy. He sees his old family and they try to say hello, but he ignores them. Everyone is happy. The End
The moral of the story is to not be mean and judge others, because they could be beautiful swans. The Ugly Duckling keeps pretty close to the original (well in what they can do in 9 minutes.) It is very adorable and it is very sad how they treated the Duckling. The father was the biggest jerk of them all. He even left all of his other children. It’s an adorable story with good animation. It gets an A.
Lend a Paw:
We meet Pluto who is sniffing for something. Then we hear some meowing. Something is stuck in a bag connected to an iron on an icecap. (Someone apparently didn’t want it to get out.) Pluto chases after it and tries to save it. Pluto saved it just in time as it was about to drown. And, out comes an adorable tan kitten. Pluto leaves it, but the kitten follows Pluto wanting to play. Pluto sneezes the kitten away, but the kitten continues to chase after Pluto. Mickey greets the kitten and gives it some milk. Pluto continuously gets jealous. Pluto tries to get the kitten in trouble. Mickey ponders what happened and asks the fish who did it. The fish points to Pluto. Mickey throws Pluto out. The kitten falls in the well, and Angel Pluto and Devil Pluto argue if he should save him or not. Pluto saves the cat, but ends up in the well. Mickey hears him screaming and pulls him out. Pluto is turned into ice, and Mickey warms him up. The Pluto and the kitten get along, and everyone lives happily ever after. (Except we never see that kitten again, so who knows) The End
Lend a Paw is a good ending to the movie. It shows Mickey and Pluto, and helps to sort of transition to a new beginning; the end of the Silly Symphony and the beginning of Mickey. Lend a Paw is adorable and funny. The animation is good like always. It’s always nice to see Mickey and Pluto. It gets an A+.
Overall, my favorite clip is The Old Mill. The way they used the music, the animation, everything about it was beautiful. My favorite characters are The Three Orphan Kittens. They are the most cutest things. My favorite song was the only song, but it is still an amazing song “Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” That song will now be stuck in my head for days. I liked all of these clips and I recommend watching it.
Which was your favorite clip and what did you think of the movie?
Two more movies and we reach the 1940s. Next up is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which I’m very excited for. Well, I hoped you enjoy. Thank you for reading and I bid you Adieu.