Director: Wilfred Jackson
Release Date: February 23, 1935
Stars: Clarabelle Cow, Donald Duck, Horace Horsecollar, Mickey Mouse
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Almost three years after ‘Flowers and Trees’ Mickey finally made the step to color, and it’s probably because of this that ‘The Band Concert’ has such a Silly Symphony-like feel to it.
In 1935 the concept of a concert cartoon was already an old one (Mickey’s first was the ‘Barnyard Concert’ from 1930), but it finds the peak of perfection in this one.
Likewise, the use of Rossini’s ‘overture Wilhelm Tell’ and ‘Turkey in the Straw’ in cartoons was far from new, but who would have thought that the two tunes would fit together so perfectly? The overture is played inside-out culminating in the storm sequence which brings forth a tornado. That’s how it feels, Mickey is not only conducting the storm music but even the real storm itself!
Notwithstanding the cartoon being a Mickey Mouse showcase, it’s Donald Duck who is stealing the show, like he did in the two previous Mickey Mouse cartoons he appeared in: ‘Orphan’s Benefit‘ and ‘The Dognapper‘. Being the only character in the cartoon born in color, Donald makes the transition from black-and-white to color naturally. Mickey and the other characters, on the other hand, still have a strong black-and-white feeling in their design and are less fitting in the bright world of color.
During Mickey’s concert, Donald produces an unending supply of flutes out of nothing, playing ‘Turkey in the Straw’ right through Rossini’s music (this ability of bringing forth material from out of nowhere was a capability that Donald would soon lose, but it would become a trademark of Bugs Bunny several years later). It’s a bitter irony that it’s this tune, ‘Turkey in the Straw’, which signals Mickey’s demise, because it was the same tune that made Mickey a star in the first place.
Nevertheless, ‘The Band Concert’ is without doubt Mickey’s best concert cartoon, arguably his best cartoon since ‘Steamboat Willie‘ and certainly one of the most perfect animated cartoons ever made.
Watch ‘The Band Concert’ yourself and tell me what you think:
This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 73
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Man Friday
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Service Station