Tuesday, January 21, 2014


 RELEASE DATE: Saturday 21st January 1933

SYNOPSIS: In this fairly disturbing cartoon, Mickey has to go on a rescue mission to save his dog Pluto from being part of a horrible experiment by the titular mad doctor, who wants to see what will happen if he attaches Pluto's head on to the body of a chicken. Nasty! The Mad Doctor's castle is filled with all kinds of creepy traps for Mickey to fall into.

It's worth noting that on its release, this film was apparently deemed too scary for kids, and some cinemas refused to show it. Legend has it that it was completely banned in England at one stage.

IRVYNE: I was wondering if perhaps this was Pluto's first film. It's not, he'd been around for a couple of years before this. We then started wondering where Pluto got his name from. According to Wikipedia, no one really knows for sure, but the animators assumed it was in reference to the planet, which was discovered right around this time, in 1930.

Comparing the animation style in this, compared to something like Steamboat Willie or Plane Crazy, they were clearly going for a much more grounded sense of reality. When Mickey's in trouble he can't just adjust the fabric of his surroundings to succeed like he used to.

The other side of that, is the lighting and texturing had considerably improved in those five years. I assume that by this point they had quite a few people working on the animation instead of just one guy. The shadows in particular are really good. They must have spent a lot of time putting them in, and they give a great effect.

HAKU: It's hard to know who the animators were, because back then they didn't credit their animators at all. It's a Walt Disney cartoon starring Mickey Mouse, that's all the audiences needed to know.

It's well-made, and the narrative works well, but I can see why some people - kids particularly - would have been a bit turned off by it. It's a bit scary! The bit with the saw where Mickey's strapped down is pretty intense!

IRVYNE: Even though colour had already been introduced with Flowers and Trees, Walt was happy to keep Mickey in black and white, and I think for this cartoon that suits the tone really well.

No comments:

Post a Comment