Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Gorilla Mystery - October 10, 1930

Mickey's 22nd film is the very entertaining The Gorilla Mystery. This toon is a favorite of mine because it fantasticly showcases the animation talents of the Disney Studio as well as provides a thrilling story. It's definitely a perfect cartoon for the October month.

The short begins with a shot of a newspaper article highlighting the escape of a "mankiller" gorilla. Fearing for his beloved, Mickey calls Minnie in order to warn her of the dangerous creature; however, Minnie thinks Mickey is worrying too much.

Unbeknowest to Minnie, the ferocious gorilla has managed to find her home and is right outside her window. The scene where the gorilla peers into Minnie's home is heightened by the superb animation of the character as well as the great use of lighting and shadows.

Trying to calm Mickey down by playing a gay piano tune, Minnie is completely oblivious to the approaching evil behind her. The use of the gorilla's shadow is a very thrilling story device, one that I think helps to make this short one of the best from this period of Mickey's career. Audiences at the time were no doubt scared just a bit for Minnie.

The scene reminds me of Dracula, though that movie would premiere a year later in 1931; perhaps the Disney animators were taking inspiration from 1922's Nosferatu.

The gorilla snatches Minnie from her piano stool, and the scared mouse's screams are heard by Mickey through the telephone.

Mickey of course rushes quickly over to Minnie's home, where he thinks he hears his beloved's screams for helps behind a locked door. After he breaks down the door, Mickey discovers to his dismay the screams of help were coming from Minnie's pet parrot (who we have not seen in a while).

Mickey decides to throw a book at the tricky parrot, once again demonstrating his undying love for all animals.

Finally Mickey is able to discover the whereabouts of Minnie. With the use of a fantastic camera view through a keyhole, we see that Minnie is tied up and gagged in a room.

Unfortunately Minnie is not alone in the room, and Mickey soon comes face to face with the gorilla. A great shot follows of the gorilla stalking towards the camera and eating the audience whole.

Luckily the Mouse is able to distract the gorilla long enough to untie Minnie. Together the two mice trap and ensnare the ape, ending their nightmarish ordeal once and for all.

Before I end this post, I want to point out a very interesting "Hidden Mickey". In the beginning of the toon when Minnie is running to answer Mickey's telephone call, two bookends shaped like the two mice can be seen briefly in the background.

Interesting, isn't it?

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