Monday, July 14, 2008

Blue Rhythm - August 18, 1931

Blue Rhythm is Mickey's 31st toon, and though it is a typical song-and-dance film it is musically entertaining.

The film begins with pianist Mickey onstage entertaining a packed theater. The use of shadows is impressive, though by now it's apparent that the Disney animators have mastered that technique. One of the visuals I found interesting was Mickey playing in the dark with nothing able to be seen except his eyes and gloves.

Minnie later joins Mickey and performs an interesting scat number. The song is an odd choice for usually cute and prissy Minnie, and the animation of the mouse is enjoyable yet a bit out of character.

After Minnie finishes her number, a stage rises from the floor to reveal a thriving orchestra. Besides random barn animals, the band also includes Clarabelle on cello, Horace on drums, and strangely Pluto on trombone. This toon is a bit unusual because it may be the only one to showcase Pluto uncharacteristically in white gloves.

Though it's hard to call anything in these early toons a true blooper, I thought it was worth mentioning that Clarabelle is seen in a few scenes playing a flute rather than her cello.

The toon ends on a high note as the orchestra literally brings down the house. All in all, Blue Rhythm is anything but blue and is an entertaining film.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mickey Steps Out - July 7, 1931

30th in Mickey's cartoon series is the simple yet charming Mickey Steps Out. The short is a standard song-and-dance but does include an interesting piece of dialogue spoken by a certain pup.

The short opens with Mickey getting ready for a day out. The Mouse's routine includes shaving, a funny little gag in itself.

On the way over to Minnie's, Mickey is knocked over by the ever playful Pluto. By this time, it has been firmly established that the pup belongs to Mickey.

Minnie of course is playing her piano, and Mickey can't resist the urge to dance and perform tricks for his sweetie.

Unfortunately Pluto happens to spy a black cat, and soon the chase is on inside Minnie's humble abode. After wrecking the piano, the two animals take the Mice on a wild rug ride around the house.

The chase ends with the cat tricking Pluto into running headfirst into the stove, which causes soot to fly everywhere. Covered in soot from head to toe, Pluto bursts from the stove and shouts "Mammy!" a reference to Al Jolson. This marks Pluto's second time talking, the first having been in The Moose Hunt.