Saturday, January 03, 2009

Cartoon a Day: The Chain Gang

The Chain Gang
Directed by Burt Gillett
Available on: Walt Disney Treasures - Mickey Mouse in Black and White

"The Chain Gang" is a very early Mickey Mouse short. I remember watching it several years ago and not being that taken with this particular short. I think I have a better appreciation of this film now, but it still is not a "Wow" moment for everyone's favorite mouse.

The premise is a bit strange, Mickey is in prison. Think about that for a second...Mickey Mouse in prison!?! What on earth could he have done? He charges too much for a large Coke at his amusement parks, but prison?!? Anyhow, the first half of the film is musical antics around the prison yard. The second half is about the goofiest prison riot ever put on film.

There are certain moments of this cartoon where the animation seems more polished in some scenes than others. It's understandable considering how early in Mickey's history this film is. The animators were still working out their craft. You can see them experimenting a bit with perspective towards the end of the film. There are genuinely funny moments too, such as when Mickey breaks the chain attached to his leg yet he still picks up the ball it was attached to and carries it with him as he escapes.

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