Director: David Hand
Release Date: January 7, 1933
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pete ,Pluto
This fast and gag-rich cartoon can be summarized as ‘Gallopin’ Gaucho‘ at a building site: Mickey is employed as an excavator machinist. When Minnie drops by selling box lunches, Mickey is so struck by love that he ruins the blueprints of foreman Peg Leg Pete three times. Pete is charmed by Minnie, too, and he tries to force her to a kiss. Of course, Mickey comes to the rescue, fleeing with Minnie and leaving Pete behind with the building in complete shambles. Pete just manages to fire Mickey, but Minnie immediately adds him to her business.
‘Building a Building’ reuses several story ideas from the early Oswald cartoon ‘Sky Scrappers‘ (1928). Both feature the hero being an excavator machinist, his love interest bringing box lunches, and Pete trying to abduct the girl. Even the excavator opening shot is a copy of the opening shot of ‘Sky Scrappers’. However, in five years both animation, timing and characterization have much improved. If ‘Sky Scrappers’ was a remarkable achievement for 1928, it was at times still crude. ‘Building a Building’ on the other hand has a refined quality that characterized the Mickey Mouse cartoons of 1933 and beyond.
There’s for example some remarkably flexible animation on Mickey when he rides the elevator. The animators have really put a sense of weight in his body, and exaggerated the effects of the sudden start and stop of the lift on it, with a lovely comic result. The musical score, too, is a delight from beginning to end, becoming particularly silly when Pete’s trousers change into a watering can. Indeed, with ‘Building A Building’ Mickey got his second Academy Award nomination, after ‘Mickey’s Orphans‘ (1931)
‘Building a Building’ is the first of a few 1933 Mickey Mouse cartoons that are introduced and partly played out in Song, following the Silly Symphonies ‘King Neptune‘ and ‘Santa’s Workshop from 1932. Other examples from 1933 are ‘The Mad Doctor‘, ‘Ye Olden Days‘ and ‘The Mail Pilot’.
Watch ‘Building a Building’ yourself and tell me what you think:
This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 51
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Good Deed
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: The Mad Doctor