Disney Rarities Celebrated Shorts: 1920s-1960s [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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This fascinating volume features some of Walt's most unique animated triumphs. Included are several of Walt's "The Alice Comedies," a pioneering series of early short films that combined live-action and animation. These wonderful, lesser-known unique films pre-date much of the work that would make him world-famous. CONTENTS * Alice's Wonderland * Ben and Me * Alice Gets in Dutch * Football, Now and Then * Alice's Wild West Show * Toot, Whistle, Plunk & Boom * Alice in the Jungle * Pigs Is Pigs * Alice's Egg Plant * Social Lion * Alice's Mysterious Mystery * A Cowboy Needs a Horse * Alice the Whaler * Hooked Bear * Ferdinand the Bull * In the Bag * Chicken Little * Jack and Old Mac * The Pelican and the Snipe * The Story of Anyburg, U.S.A. * The Truth about Mother Goose * The Brave Engineer * Paul Bunyan * Morris, the Midget Moose * Noah's Ark * Lambert, the Sheepish Lion * Goliath II * The Little House * The Saga of Windwagon Smith * Adventures in Music: Melody * A Symposium on Popular Songs
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Top Customer Reviews
It was amazing to see these classic Alice Comedies. The animation is literally at its root core and you can see Walt and Ub Iwerks put so much effort into these short subjects. With Virgina Davis (Alice) really working her role and doing a brilliant job for a 4 year old.
The set has disneys one-shots and as stated. Now The Alice Comedies - The Alice Comedies were good, maybe crude for children of today, but you can tell Walt was inpsired by the Out Of The Inkwell series by Max Feischer. He did a subject of 57 Alice comedies, with Virgina Davis eventually leaving and being replaced.
The animation is in its root core, and if you want to find more of these, check Oswald The Lucky Rabbit Disney Treasure for a few more additional shorts.
Sadly, these shorts aren't looking there best, but they are over 80 year old. And I dont mind personaly, as they're still cracking to watch, they just might not hold the interest of todays kids.
The one shots to me are the prize subject with shorts that couldn't even be put in the Silly Symphonies racket of cartoons with modern and stop motion animation which I've listed in the contents. You get to see some familliar faces, with Goliath II, the little elephant is a startling resemblence to the baby elephant in Jungle Book, The Crocodile from Peter Pan and The Lion from the Donald Duck shorts.
The animation is so un-Disney style, you'd think you were watching a different studio's work. But the animation and ideas of each short is superb.Read more ›
Disc one actually opens with the shorts I most wanted to see from the set, the Alice shorts. These were Disney's first series of cartoons, produced in the twenties. They starred a real life girl who had all kinds of adventures in a cartoon world. While he did this more famously in Mary Poppins, these first attempts at the mixing live action and animation are quite fun and Disney fans will love getting to see them for the historical value. The effects are decent for the time, but obviously laughable by today's standards. We only get seven of the Alice shorts here, but they are enough to give us a feel for the series. The early ones feature Alice in the real world and Cartoonland, while the later ones begin to focus more and more on the cartoons, leaving the real world (and at times Alice) out of the picture.
Disc one then proceeds to give us eleven more shorts, taking us to 1953. Highlights include Oscar winner "Ferdinand the Bull" about the bull who doesn't want to fight in the arena, "Chicken Little," a World War II retelling of the fable that starts off funny but ends with a serious lesson about listening to gossip, we watch "The Brave Engineer" do everything he can to keep his train on schedule, and football practices of years gone by are compared to contemporary strategies in "Football Now and Then." Closing out this disc is "Ben and Me," Disney's retelling of Robert Lawson's fun tale on the real wisdom behind Benjamin Franklin's success, his mouse Amos.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Yep, the bulk of these cartoons are presented in vintage 20-year-old transfers. The images are soft and low-res, colors are frequently washed-out (I defy you to find the color tan anywhere in "Paul Bunyan"), and Cinemascope films such as "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" are presented in non-anamorphic widescreen. If you have a 16X9 TV, prepare yourself for a joyless experience.
The shorts themselves are largely second-tier Disney, with a few bona fide masterpieces such as "Ferdinand the Bull." Others show that when the Disney artists tackled a new field (such as UPA-style limited animation in "A Cowboy Needs a Horse," or dimensional animation in "Noah's Ark," with its fanciful found-object animals) they could do it better than just about anybody else. Kids may become a tad restless at times, but animation fans and Disney completists will be in heaven.
Bottom line: If Disney's going to call these shorts "Treasures" they should treat them as such.
Alice's Wonderland (1923): The first of Walt's silent Alice Comedies that combined live-action and animation, this charming short stars the adorable little Virginia Davis and costars a young Mr. Disney himself! In it, Walt gives Alice a tour of a magical animation studio which leads to an animated dream sequence for Alice that night.
Alice's Wild West Show (1924): Probably the best of the Alice comedies I've seen, and Virginia's favorite, the live-action sequences of this are very reminiscent of the early "Little Rascals" films, and, of course, there are animated sequences as well. Alice and her friends are putting on a wild west show, but when bullies chase her costars away, Alice resorts to telling tales of her adventures with Indians and baddies.
Alice Gets In Dutch (1924): Little Alice gets the dunce cap in school one day for playing with a balloon, and when she falls asleep on her stool, she has to deal with a cartoon teacher and her living schoolbooks!
Alice's Egg Plant (1925): Sadly, Virginia Davis is replaced by Anne Shirley in this short. Also, the charming live-action sequences give way to total animation, aside from the inclusion of live-action Alice, of course. In this story, there's trouble on Alice's egg farm when a fowl Russian bird incites a strike. Luckily, Alice and her cat Julius concoct a plan!
Alice In the Jungle (1925): Virginia is back one more time for this tale of animal hi-jinks and lion fighting adventure.
Alice's Mysterious Mystery (1926): Margie Gay plays Alice in this short where she and Julius go up against an early version of Pete who is an evil dogcatcher turning his captive mutts into sausage! Yes, this is a disturbing cartoon!
Alice the Whaler (1927): Lois Hardwick plays a slightly older Alice, who sails the seas with her animal friends in a cartoon that features a potato peeling mouse in sequences seemingly identical to those in the following year's "Steamboat Willie!"
Ferdinand the Bull (1938): This cartoon is our sudden jump to color and sound (not including the music that accompanied the preceding Alice shorts). This is the Oscar winning tale of Ferdinand, a pacifist bull that just loves to sit and smell flowers, mistakenly chosen to fight in a bull ring when a bee sting makes him appear ferocious and wild! This is one of those classics you'll likely remember from your youth, and it also features caricatures of Walt and his animators.
Chicken Little (1943): No, this isn't Disney's new, computer-animated feature, this is a classic short about not believing everything you hear and read, with a twisted but very funny ending! I believe this is one of the several Academy Award nominees in this collection!
The Pelican and the Snipe (1944): And, here's another, I believe. One of the many shorts Disney did with Sterling Holloway (the original voice of Winnie the Pooh) as narrator, this is the cute wartime tale of a sleep-flying Pelican and his loyal and protective, sleep-deprived friend living together on a lighthouse in Uruguay. This was originally planned as part of "The Three Amigos" but was instead released on its own.
The Brave Engineer (1950): Here's one of my many favorites, the rousing, musical tale of Casey Jones, the brave engineer! The singing narration from Jerry Colonna and crew make this a fun-filled American adventure!
Morris, the Midget Moose (1950): Disney's Bootle Beetle characters kick-off this classic short as an elder tells two younger bugs the story of two misfit moose...meese...mooses.... whatever. One is very small, despite having full size antlers. The other is huge, but his antlers are tiny. Together, they are a powerful force!
Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952): A favorite for Disney fans all over, this is the classic story of a lion cub mistakenly delivered to an expectant mother sheep. He is mocked and shunned by his peers, not unlike Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but when he's all grown up, he's the only one who can keep the mean ol' wolf away!
The Little House (1952): This heartwarming classic, based on the children's book, is very similar to the oddly absent from this set "Susie, the Little Blue Coupe." It's the tale of a little house who grows old, lonely, and depressed while the world around her changes, but in the end gets cheered up by new owners, a new locale, and a new coat of paint.
Adventures In Music: Melody (1953): Originally released in 3-D (a first for an American animated film), but just as enjoyable in 2-D, this is the first of the Professor Owl shorts where he teaches his class full of young birds all about the world of music. Very enjoyable animation.
Football Now and Then (1953): Here's a fun animated short, even if you are like me and not really interested in football! Grandpa and grandson watch a televised football match pitting a modern football time with one from yesteryear!
Adventures In Music: Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953): The other Oscar Winner in the bunch, here we learn the history of musical instruments in Professor Owl's class! A true classic!
Ben and Me (1953): A personal fave that is more of a featurette than a short, sure to be a hit with American history buffs that don't take it TOO seriously. This is the tale of Amos, a mouse voiced by Sterling Holloway, who is the real brains behind the legacy of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin!
Pigs Is Pigs (1954): Disc 2 kicks off with an extremely enjoyable, highly fun musical romp about Flannery, a railroad station clerk whose strict adherence to the rules lands him in deep trouble when a shipment of lovestruck guinea pigs arrives.
Social Lion (1954): A lion captured on safari in Africa gets loose in the big city, but hardly anyone notices him! Very cute and funny, light social commentary short!
Hooked Bear (1956): One of the two widescreen cartoons in this set, this Humphrey the Bear short is as funny as anything the Looney Tunes ever did! In it, Humphrey does his best to outwit the fish, the tourists, and Ranger Woodlore in his attempts to load up some fish of his own!
Jack and Old Mac (1956): This imaginatively animated musical offering creatively illustrates jazzy renditions of "The House That Jack Built" and "Old MacDonald." Nicely entertaining.
In the Bag (1956): The other Humphrey the Bear widescreen cartoon in this set, this hilarious short has Ranger Woodlore scheming to use the park bears to clean up after the tourists. When the reward becomes a delicious dinner, Humphrey tries and tries but can't seem to keep his section clean! This butt-bumping extravaganza even features a cameo by Smokey the Bear!
A Cowboy Needs a Horse (1956): This captivating, musical dream shows a little boy's sleeping fantasy of being a real cowboy, battling bandits and Indians, and saving the damsel in distress. Always wanted this one in my collection!
The Story of Anyburg, USA (1957): In a humorous and twisted tale of injustice and frivolous lawsuits, this short tells the tale of a town that places the blame for automobile accidents on the automobiles themselves!
The Truth About Mother Goose (1957): This memorable old fave is one of the gems of this set! Telling the grim, true tales behind the nursery rhymes "Little Jack Horner," "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary," and "London Bridge Is Falling Down," this highly entertaining short is pretty dark for a Disney cartoon!
Paul Bunyan (1958): The bigger-than-life tale of Paul Bunyan the giant lumberjack is told here from his infancy to his retirement in a wonderful old Disney favorite!
Noah's Ark (1959): Stop-motion animation and household items are used for a change in this tale from the pages of Genesis in the Bible. Noah builds a great Ark to carry two of every animal, along with his family, through a flood that covered the entire globe in ancient times. This reasonably loyal and jazzy cartoon is great fun, though maybe it runs a tad long when it gets into some unnecessary Hippo romance subject matter. Still, very good little short!
Goliath II (1960): This Oscar nominated classic is the funny story of a tiny elephant the size of a mouse born to the biggest elephant in the herd! Little Goliath is nothing but trouble until he wins the others' respect by being the only one who can take on their greatest fear!
The Saga of Windwagon Smith (1961): Some may disagree, but I find this to be another of the best shorts in the set! Windwagon Smith is the tall tale of a sea captain with dreams of sailing over the American plains in a covered wagon that is part sailing ship! It's a very fun and imaginative tale!
A Symposium On Popular Songs (1962): And, finally, my favorite cartoon on this set, simply because who doesn't love Ludwig Von Drake, especially coupled with tons of Sherman Bros. music! Also pretty much a featurette at 19 minutes and 44 seconds in length, "A Symposium On Popular Songs" is hosted by the oddball relative of Donald Duck who takes us through the history of popular music in America, until 1962 at least. He does this for the most part by playing timely songs that he wrote himself, running with visuals of stop-motion cut-out animation same as was used for the opening of the original "Parent Trap." For Ludwig fans, this cartoon is really the highlight of the discs! Paul Frees is hilarious!
As an obsessive Disney fan, I am likely to tell you that ALL the Disney Treasures sets are a must have, and keep `em coming! I certainly have them all! But, even for the collector who doesn't get every tin box that Disney puts out, "Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts" is a must! Sure, there are some shorts that are oddly absent. Some of them are available on other Disney releases though. Many seem likely to appear in an educational shorts set in the future, hopefully. I'm dying for "Scrooge McDuck and Money," "Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons," the "What Should I Do" series, "Harold and His Amazing Green Plants," and Jiminy Cricket's shorts, among others. I also am desperate for a good, unedited release of "Small One," Sport Goofy in "Soccermania," and "Fluppy Dogs," to name a few. And, to be honest, even if they can get a bit redundant, I'd like to get as many of the over 50 Alice shorts (that have not been lost) as possible. Nevertheless, this set is a REAL treasure! Extras include a wonderful interview with the original Alice, Virginia Davis, enthusiastic intros by Leonard Maltin that some find annoying but I have no problem with (there is only one per disc this time, and we really should regard this man as a hero, anyway), the VERY short advertisement cartoon "A Feather In His Collar," starring Pluto, a lovely timeline featurette showing us Walt's history up to the introduction of Mickey Mouse, a fascinating audio commentary for "A Symposium on Popular Song" with Richard Sherman and Leonard Maltin, and, of course, a few selective art galleries. Yes, there is talk on the disc of an excerpt from a Disneyland episode detailing the making of the "Parent Trap" opening credits, however, it seems none of us have been able to locate that in the set except as snippets during Maltin's intros. The set comes in the expected snapcase within lovely tin box, though they are continuing with not printing anything on the back of the tin and not including the paper band, and within is the standard, handy booklet, the numbered certificate of authenticity, and a nice collectible card featuring Paul Bunyan promo art. It all makes for a glorious package for the Disney fanatic. Can't wait for wave 6!
Alice Gets in Dutch (1924), Alice's Wild West Show (1924),
Alice in the Jungle (1925), Alice's Egg Plant (1925),
Alice's Mysterious Mystery (1926), Alice the Whaler (1927),
Ferdinand the Bull (1938), Chicken Little (1943),
The Pelican and the Snipe (1944), The Brave Engineer (1950),
Morris, the Midget Moose (1950),
Lambert, the Sheepish Lion (1952), The Little House (1952),
Melody (1952), Ben and Me (1953),
Toot, Whistle, Plunk & Boom (1953), Pigs Is Pigs (1954),
Social Lion (1954), A Cowboy Needs a Horse (1956),
Hooked Bear (1956), In the Bag (1956), Jack and Old Mac (1956), The Story of Anyburg, U.S.A. (1957),
The Truth about Mother Goose (1957), Paul Bunyan (1958),
Noah's Ark (1959), Goliath II (1960),
The Saga of Windwagon Smith (1961) and
A Symposium on Popular Songs (1962). The bonus feature are Alice's Cartoon World - Leonard Maltin talks with Virginia Davis about the Alice shorts, From Kansas City to Hollywood - a timeline of Walt's silent era, A Feather in His Collar short from 1946, Audio commentary by composer Richard Sherman on A Symposium on Popular Songs and some galleries.
Now I've had slight misgivings in the past over how they *present* the material on these discs with numerous, ridiculous warnings and disclaimers (many of which you can't skip past) and the fact that we have to skip past Leonard's introduction EVERY time we watch the discs does get rather annoying. But despite these concerns, there was one thing I never worried about (until now) and that is the QUALITY of the material. Up to this point, the material itself has always been beautifully remastered and has looked great! This was an aspect I didn't even think to worry about it before I ordered this disc because I trusted this line of Disney product and the people who promote it. Now I come to find out that through many advertisements and press materials, the customer has been misled to regard the new releases as up to par with the previous releases. This is simply not true! They look horrible!
Why would Disney do this? Why build up a fan base of these releases, promise them one thing, deliver it for quite a while, and then all of a sudden decide to do a 180 and screw them over? BAD BUSINESS. It's things like this that make me so upset over the current state of Disney. Their lack of concern for the customer at times is just appalling. We desperately need this problem to be fixed. As suggested, we deserve a new wave of remastered material, and a disc-swap should be put in place as soon as possible. Untll that point, I'm boycotting these releases and spreading the word as far as I can. I realize a lot of you want to see the shorts contained on these discs, as do I, but DO NOT REWARD THEM with your money for this shoddy and falsely advertised product.
Make them get it right!