Director: Burt Gillett
Release Date: January 23, 1931
Following Van Beuren’s ‘A Romeo Robin‘ (1930) Disney devoted a whole Silly Symphony on birds.
The short follows the half-story formula introduced in ‘Playful Pan‘ with the first part consisting of more rhythmical movement to music than real dancing. The film starts with quite uninspired and tiresome gags about several birds moving randomly to music (opening with swans and a peacock moving to Jacques Offenbach’s barcarolle), but after 5’10 these give way to a small story about a baby chick who is taken away by an eagle but saved by a group of small birds.
The birds are drawn cartoony and not at all naturalistic. But such naturalism eventually would occur in Disney’s films, within only a couple of years, with ‘Birds in the Spring‘ being the prime example. It’s interesting to compare these two cartoons, which are only two years apart. The comparison makes ‘Birds of a Feather’ look primitive and dated, but even this cartoon knows one complex scene, in which the flock of small birds attacks the eagle. In this scene the movement of the circling birds is animated beautifully and quite convincingly, as well.
Watch ‘Birds of a Feather’ yourself and tell me what you think:
‘Mother Goose Melodies’ is available on the DVD ‘Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies’