Monday, December 29, 2008

Cartoon a Day: Confidence

Directed by William Nolan
Available on: Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection

"Confidence" is an interesting cartoon to look at, especially in the difficult economic times we are facing now. This is a cartoon that wasn't made for laughs, but was made to boost spirits during the great depression.

In this short, things are seeming pretty good down on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's farm, that is until the depression comes, and in the form of a dark ghost-like figure, I might add. To find the cure, Oswald (looking more like Mickey Mouse than ever before) heads to Washington DC to have a chat with President Roosevelt.

In it's first few minutes "Confidence" feels like any other black and white toon from this era. You've got lots of happy animals with big eyes dancing around. But as things move on, this short becomes quite innovative. The scene where depression sweeps over the land combines animation with live action. The effect is uses a globe type object with houses and trees attached to it which turns as the animated hooded figure flies over. It's a pretty ingenius effect for this time period.

Oswald's sort of decent into madess is also not your typical type of imagery for an early cartoon such as this.

The use of charicature in FDR's rah-rah appearance toward the end is also pretty very well done. Plus it does an effective job of turning a pretty dark cartoon completely around for a cheery finish. This is very strong Oswald cartoon from the Walter Lantz era of the character.

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