Monday, October 13, 2008

Cartoon a Day: Orphan's Benefit

Orphan's Benefit
Directed by Burt Gillette (uncredited)
Available on: Walt Disney Treasures - Mickey Mouse in Black and White

The Mickey Mouse cartoon so nice they made it twice. This is a look at the 1935 black and white original. Maybe tomorrow I should review the 1941 remake.

I remember my Grandma had a Mickey Mouse record album that had the entire audio track for this film on it. I listened to it over and over again. I can play the soundtrack back in my head if I try hard enough. This is a true classic.

"Orphan's Benefit" is a Mickey short, but the real stars are all his buddies. The gang is putting on a show for a bunch of rather nasty orphans, all of whom look like Mickey. The sequences where Donald Duck tries to read some nursery rhymes are well known for helping to establish some of his character traits. My favorite scene, however, is the performance by the "Barnyard Nightingale," Clara Cluck. It's funny, I'm mean let's face it, what's not to like about a chicken singing. It's also a great sequence from an animation standpoint. Both for Clara's dramatic stage presence and Mickey's skilled work on the piano.

I think "Orphan's Benefit" also serves as a great example of just how beautiful black and white animated films can be. The background shadows cast by the spotlight during the Clara Cluck sequence give the scene great depth. In black and white the contrast is striking.

Disney was always striving to push his films further. He truly worked to explore the art form. "Orphan's Benefit" was another giant step forward for the Disney Studio.

No comments: