Directors: Mannie Davis & John Foster
Release Date:
 January 13, 1933
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Silvery Moon © Van Beuren‘Silvery Moon’ starts with the song ‘Moonlight bay’ and the two young cats from ‘The Wild Goose Chase‘ (1932) in a canoe on a moonlit lake, singing the popular song ‘Moonlight Bay’.

Suddenly, the moon invites them over, producing a giant staircase, which takes them into the moon’s mouth. Once the two have arrived on the moon, a fairy opens a gate, revealing a dreamlike candy land, revealing that the moon consists of cake, candy and ice cream, just like the girl had predicted.

In the Cockaigne-like Candyland the two frolic around, and eat all what’s around until they get sick. Then they’re hunted by a bottle of castor oil and a spoon, until they fall off the moon, next to their own canoe.

‘Silvery Moon’ was one of the last Aesop’s Fables, and one of the best. Sure, the designs and animation are still poor (some of the animation is reused from ‘Toy Time‘), and the film’s subject may be a little childish, it’s a surprisingly inspired cartoon, showing wonderful events with a natural charm.

At least, for once the strange floating movements of the Van Beuren characters are in sync with the dreamlike atmosphere, and, a little more far-fetched, with the moon’s reduced gravity. The surreal atmosphere of ‘Silvery Moon’ is further enhanced by scenes that change while the two kittens stay in place.

It’s a pity that ‘Silvery Moon’ is in black-and-white, for its dreamy scenery would make perfect subject for color, which in 1933 still was brand new, anyhow (Disney’s first technicolor cartoon, ‘Flowers and Trees‘ had only been released half a year earlier).

Indeed, the cartoon’s content and atmosphere look forward to several color cartoons of the Hayes code era, most notably the Fleischer cartoon ‘Somewhere in Dreamland‘ (1936), which also features two children visiting a Cockaigne-like candy world. This makes ‘Silvery Moon’ probably the most forward-looking cartoon the Van Beuren studio ever made, and it certainly has aged much better than most of the cartoons the studio produced in the early 1930’s.

Watch ‘Silvery Moon’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Silvery Moon’ is available on the DVD ‘Aesop’s Fables – Cartoon Classics from the Van Beuren Studio’

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