Director: Ben Sharpsteen
Release Date: September 12, 1936
Stars: Donald Duck, Pluto
This short features elaborate gags based on character animation, surely building to a grand finale. One can admire the inevitable ‘logic’ of the film, yet the result is only mildly funny, and neither one of Donald’s or Pluto’s best films.
Although advertised as a Mickey Mouse cartoon, in ‘Donald and Pluto’ Mickey Mouse is not present at all. On the contrary, for both Donald and Pluto this is their first cartoon without Mickey (if we disregard the Silly Symphonies ‘Just Dogs‘ from 1932 and ‘The Wise Little Hen‘ from 1934). After getting more and longer sequences of their own within the Mickey Mouse series, this step was inevitable.
Pluto had come a long way, sharing five years and 33 films with Mickey before standing on his own, but Donald received his independence already within two years, after only twelve films with Mickey.
Both Pluto and Donald would get their own series in 1937. They would appear together in five more films, all within Donald’s series: ‘Beach Picnic’ (1939), ‘Donald’s Dog Laundry’, ‘Put-Put Troubles’, ‘Window Cleaners’ (all 1940) and finally ‘The Eyes Have It’ (1945).
Watch ‘Donald and Pluto’ yourself and tell me what you think: