Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mickey Cuts Up - November 30, 1931

53rd in Mickey's cartoon series is Mickey Cuts Up, a film featuring Mickey and his lovely Minnie in the garden. Of course Mickey's pooch pal Pluto is present too, making Mickey's chores just a bit harder to complete.

The film begins with the Mouse doing some yard work with his faithful rover. I love how Mickey recruits Pluto to pull the mower thus allowing him to pretty much do no work at all.

It's hard to show here, but there's a fantastic moving shot of Mickey dancing and Pluto mowing. As Pluto moves across the screen, the camera pans along with him. The resulting film shot is simple yet effective.

Minnie is also frolicking in her garden making sure all her lovely flowers receive water. I've always loved Minnie's animation; her style is like a cute and dainty school girl.

The cartoon is very much a typical song-and-dance toon Mickey and Minnie usually star in. For a while Mickey pretends to be a bird and whistles to his sweet love.

Unfortunately for the Mouse, his plan to woo Minnie backfires when a hungry cat spots what he believes to be a tasty white bird.

Things get a bit messy when the cat decides to attack the "bird", giving Mickey the surprise of his life.

Eventually the birdhouse lands in a nearby garden pond. A gag I really enjoy is Mickey coming out of the pond, trapped inside the birdhouse and looking like a turtle.

While all this goes on, Pluto sits quietly off to the side taking in the sights. Notice the large amount of birds surrounding him...

...It's these birds that attract the cat, who pounces over the hedge; this of course only angers Pluto, who finds something new to occupy his time.

The only problem of course is the fact that wherever Pluto goes, so does the lawn mower. Another gag I like is when Pluto manages to not only shave half a tree, but an unsuspecting owl as well.

The chase manages to find itself on a nearby hill where the mower manages to get ahead of Pluto and mow right over the frightened feline.

The chase finally ends in Minnie's kitchen where Pluto and the cat manage to ruin an entire case of dishes. But even with all this trouble, Mickey is still able to love his best friend Pluto.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Beach Party - November 5, 1931

The Beach Party is Mickey's 34th cartoon film. The toon features Mickey and the Gang spending a relaxing and fun day at the beach.

The toon begins with Mickey, Minnie, Clarabelle, Horace, and Pluto on their way to the sunny and playful beach. The animation of the Gang just frolicking in the sun is simple, yet so very well done.

This toon has some interesting gags. One I like is when Mickey uses Pluto as a pump to fill his inner tube. Another good one is Horace's failed attempt at diving into the ocean. This gag in particular is very similar to later stunts performed by the yet to be created Goofy.

Another clever gag occurs when Clarabelle accidentally loses her swim trunks. The hilarity goes even further of course when Mickey accidentally finds them.

Clarabelle, still trunkless, finds her bottoms washed up on the shore; however, when she grabs for them she is shocked to discover they move! After thwacking the trunks with a nearby plank, Clarabelle is amazed to see it was Mickey in her bloomers. The look on her face in the last panel is priceless as she leaves Mickey dazed and confused.

One gag I enjoy again and again is the use of Clarabelle's cow bell as a dinner bell. The gag originated in 1930's The Shindig in which Horace uses Clarabelle's tail as a doorbell.

A picnic on the beach is the perfect way to spend the day. Horace tackles the corn and is especially fond of the watermelon.

It seems Clarabelle has a soft spot for olives. It's hilarious the way she pops the olive jar in order to pop an olive into her mouth. The scene turns even funnier when she accidentally pops the entire jar into her throat, and Horace is forced to kick the jar out. Perfect slapstick comedy.

Pluto has his fun too when Mickey plays fetch with his pooch. Unfortunately, the sausages Pluto thinks he fetches turn out to be the tentacle of an angry octopus.

As the octopus goes on a rampage, the Gang fights back with whatever they can find. Remember Horace's fondness for watermelon? He puts his seed-spitting skills to use against the octopus.

Clarabelle too puts her skills to use as she pops olive after olive at the angry sea creature. In another example of hilarity, the Gang uses the cow as a makeshift olive jar shooter.

It isn't until Mickey manages to throw a nearby anchor at the octopus that the problem is solved and the day returned to peace.

The toon ends with the octopus being sent back to the depths from which it came and the Gang laughing and waving goodbye on the beach.