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Director: Grigori Lomidze
Release Date: 1947
Rating: ★★★
Review:

To You, Moscow © Soyuzmultfilm‘To You, Moscow’ is a long and slow Soviet propaganda film celebrating Moscow’s 800th birthday by depicting its turbulent history.

During the film we watch Moscow’s settlement, the victory of Ivan III over the Tartars (15th century), the revolt against Polish occupation (17th century), the defeat of Napoleon’s army in 1812, the 1905 revolution, the 1917 socialist revolution (‘led by Lenin and Stalin’) and the 1941 defeat of the fascist army to the present day.

The socialist revolution section leads to live-action footage of Moscow, a happy child, flowers, some buildings and street scenes and statues of Lenin and Stalin. The last section, the celebration, shows photographs of heroic inhabitants of the Soviet Union, and not only glorifies Moscow as “our youth, our glory”, “our dear mother” and “our birthday girl”, but also as a “glory to Stalin”.

The different sections are bridged by letters and postcards to comrade Stalin. The sections themselves focus on strives and battles, and are accompanied by alternately realistic and symbolic images. For example, the 1917 revolution is depicted by the czarist double-headed eagle struggling and falling to pieces, while the most impressive part may be that of 1812, with its realistic images of fire.

It may be clear that this film is propaganda at its worst. The film is saved from becoming totally unwatchable by the beautiful animation, the stark images, and the lively patriotic music.

Watch ‘To You, Moscow’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘To You, Moscow’ is available on the DVD box set ‘Animated Soviet Propaganda’

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Director: Dick Lundy
Release Date: June 16, 1947
Stars: Wally Walrus
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Overture to William Tell © Walter Lantz‘Overture to William Tell’ was the second of three Musical Miniatures, a short-lived series similar to ‘Swing Symphonies’, but based on classical music instead of jazz.

In this one Wally Walrus stars in his very own cartoon as a conductor conducting an extraordinarily sleepy orchestra in a concert hall. The main gag involves a horsefly, which looks like a miniature horse with wings.

‘Overture to William Tell’ is better than the erratic ‘Musical Moments from Chopin‘, the first of the Musical Miniatures. But still it’s only moderately inspired, and pales when compared to that other concert cartoon using the same music by Gioachino Rossini, ‘The Band Concert‘ (1935).

Watch ‘Overture to William Tell’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://tu.tv/videos/overture-to-william-tell-1947-walter-l

Director: Jack Hannah
Release Date: November 28, 1947
Stars: Donald Duck, Chip and Dale
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Chip an' Dale © Walt DisneyAfter two early appearances (‘Private Pluto‘ from 1943 and ‘Squatter’s Rights‘ from 1946) ‘Chip ‘n Dale’ marks the true debut of those lovable two little chipmunks, Chip and Dale.

In this cartoon they are named for the first time, and it’s also the first cartoon in which they are two distinct characters, although Dale still lacks his characteristic red nose here. Here they’re teamed against Donald Duck for the first time, their former adversary being Pluto. The short marks the beginning of a series of twenty cartoons, only ending in 1956, at the very end of the era of Disney shorts.

The story of ‘Chip an’ Dale’ provides the blueprint for the series: Donald wants to chop some wood for his winter cottage, and chops down the dead tree in which Chip and Dale live with their storage of nuts. In the subsequent scenes the lively duo tries to prevent Donald from burning up their tree and to get it back. The result is a cartoon of excellent comedy, not only between the chipmunks and Donald, but also between the two little critters themselves.

Watch ‘Chip an’ Dale’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 66
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Wide Open Spaces
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Drip Dippy Donald

Director: Jack Hannah
Release Date: August 22, 1947
Stars: Donald Duck, Bootle Beetle
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Bootle Beetle © Walt DisneyIn the postwar era Jack Hannah introduced three adversaries of Donald Duck: Bootle Beetle, Chip ‘n Dale*, and a little bee. Bootle Beetle, a little insect, was the first and surely the cutest of the lot.

In his first film Bootle Beetle, who resembles Jiminy Cricket a little, is introduced here as a rare species. In fact, we’re watching two Bootle Beetles, with the elderly one telling a younger one about his meeting with bug collector Donald Duck, who, in some scenes, is depicted as an enormous giant. These scenes with a humongous Donald are the highlights of a cute and gently cartoon, which is unfortunately low on gags.

Bootle Beetle would return in two 1949 Donald Duck cartoons, ‘Sea Salts‘  and ‘The Greener Yard‘. The little insect never became funny, and Hannah dropped him as Donald’s adversary after these three cartoons. His last role was as a narrator in ‘Morris, the Midget Moose‘ (1950).

Watch ‘Bootle Beetle’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 64
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Donald’s Dilemma
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Wide Open Spaces

* Chip ‘n Dale actually made their debut in the war short ‘Private Pluto‘ (1943), directed by Clyde Geronimi, but it was Hannah who turned the two chipmunks into two different characters and made them opponents of Donald Duck.

Director: Paul Grimault
Release Date: 1947
Rating:  ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Le petit soldat © Paul GrimaultOne of the most poetic animation films ever made, ‘le petit soldat’ is a very inspired re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale of the steadfast tin soldier.

In this version, written by poet Jacques Prévert and undoubtedly inspired by the recent experiences of World War II, the soldier is actually an acrobat doll who gets drafted by a humming-top into an unexplained war.

In his absence, Jack-in-the-box tries to seduce his love, a ballerina doll. And when our little soldier finally returns from the battlefield, injured, Jack tries to kill him by taking his heart-shaped winding key away and by trying to drown him into an icy river. Fortunately, in a dramatic climax, the ballerina saves her love from drowning, while the villain gets stuck in a gin-trap.

‘Le petit soldat’ is entirely told in pantomime and a great improvement upon ‘La flûte magique‘, Grimault’s film from the previous year: its storytelling is better, its settings more dramatic, its characterization more convincing, and its animation more sophisticated. Indeed, this beautiful short about triumphant love arguably is Grimault’s masterpiece, even topping his beautiful, but uneven feature film ‘Le roi et l’oiseau’ (1952/1980), which is also based on a Jacques Prévert story.

Watch ‘Le petit soldat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Le petit soldat’ is available on the DVD ‘Le roi et l’oiseau’

Director: Jack King
Release Date: July 11 1947
Stars: Donald Duck, Daisy Duck
Rating: ★★
Review:

Donald's Dilemma © Walt DisneyDaisy tells an off-screen psychiatrist that a flower pot has changed her boyfriend Donald into a crooner with a beautiful, Frank Sinatra-like voice.

We hear Donald singing ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ from ‘Pinocchio’ (1940), and watch him becoming world famous instantly. Unfortunately he forgets about Daisy’s existence, as well.

This cartoon is actually about Daisy, who for the first time gets star billing. Despite its great premise, the cartoon is hampered by Daisy’s jabbering voice over, its sparsity of gags and an all too predictable finale. Like Donald’s other voice cartoon, ‘Donald’s Dream Voice‘ (1948), the idea is way stronger than the execution.

Watch ‘Donald’s Dilemma’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 63
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Clown of the Jungle
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Bootle Beetle

s.Director: Jack Hannah
Release Date: June 20 1947
Stars: Donald Duck, The Aracuan Bird
Rating:  ★★★★★
Review:

Clown of the Jungle © Walt Disney‘Clown of the Jungle’ reintroduces the Aracuan bird from ‘The Three Caballeros‘ (1944), now hindering Donald’s attempts to photograph birds.

The Aracuan bird is a surreal character, defying all laws of nature. For example, it can cycle in mid-air, duplicate itself and draw a door on a rock, and enter it. These abilities are very rare for a Disney character, and there’s no doubt that the Aracuan bird was inspired by the more absurd humor from the Warner Bros. and Tex Avery’s MGM cartoons.

Director Jack Hannah handles this type of humor remarkably well, delivering the gags in a fast pace and with an excellent timing, making ‘Clown of the Jungle’ not only the most surreal, but also one of the wildest and funniest Disney cartoons from the postwar era.

Being such a wonderful character, The Aracuan bird would return once more the following year, in the sequence ‘Blame it on the Samba‘ from ‘Melody Time‘ (1948). Unfortunately, the character remained alone in its zaniness within the Disney canon, and other Disney postwar cartoons remained much more conventional.

Watch ‘Clown of the Jungle’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 62
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Sleepy Time Donald
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Donald’s Dilemma

Director: Robert McKimson
Release Date: July 12, 1947
Stars: Foghorn Leghorn, Henery Hawk, Sylvester
Rating:  ★★★½
Review:

Crowing Pains © Warner Brothers‘Crowing Pains’ is Foghorn Leghorn’s second cartoon, and it immediately starts where the first (‘Walky Talky Hawky‘, from the previous year) left off: Henery Hawk wants to catch a chicken, and Foghorn Leghorn tricks him by pointing out somebody else as a chicken. This time it’s Sylvester, in an early appearance.

The cartoon is full of Warren Foster-penned nonsense, but the interplay between the four characters (the barnyard dog is also involved) doesn’t develop very well, and seems an early forerunner of the odd pairings of characters of some Warner Brothers cartoons from the 1960s. Unlike those, however, ‘Crowing Pains’ remains an enjoyable cartoon, albeit not among McKimson’s most inspired shorts.

Watch ‘Crowing Pains’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Robert McKimson
Release Date: April 12, 1947
Stars: Daffy Duck
Rating:  ★★★
Review:

Birth of a Notion © Warner BrothersDaffy Duck tricks a dog called Leopold with a ‘poisoned bone’ to let him stay at his house during the winter.

Unfortunately, the dog’s owner is an evil scientist (a caricature of Peter Lorre) who happens to be looking for a duck’s wishbone. This leads to a wild chase full of pretty weird gags and off-beat dialogue penned by Warren Foster.

‘Birth of a Nation’ is the second of two Warner Bros. cartoons featuring Peter Lorre as a mad scientist, the other being ‘Hair-Raising Hare’ from 1946. New voice artist Stan Freberg does an excellent job in mimicking and parodying Lorre’s typical voice.

Watch ‘Birth of a Notion’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Dick Lundy
Release Date: June 9, 1947
Stars: Woody Woodpecker
Rating:  ★★★★
Review:

Coo-Coo Bird © Walter LantzWoody wants to get up early, at 5:00 Am, but he’s kept awake all night, especially by an annoying cuckoo clock.

‘Coo-Coo Bird’ is the second and the better of two Woody Woodpecker cartoons from 1947 about sleeplessness, the other one being ‘Smoked Hams’. In his struggle with inanimate things, Woody resembles Donald Duck a lot in this cartoon, not too surprising as Donald Duck was well-known to director Dick Lundy, who co-created that character. Thus, ‘Coo-Coo Bird’ is very reminiscent of the Donald Duck short ‘Early to Bed’ (1941), and itself anticipates the Donald Duck cartoon ‘Drip Dippy Donald’ (1948) in which Donald is kept awake by a dripping tap.

Watch ‘Coo-Coo Bird’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Dick Lundy
Release Date: February 24, 1947
Stars: Andy Panda, Woody Woodpecker
Rating: ★
Review:

Musical Moments from Chopin © Walter LantzWhen James Culhane left Walter Lantz, Dick Lundy remained Lantz’s sole director, until he left too at the end of the decade.

Being a more gentle director than Culhane, Lundy conceived a short-lived series of Musical Moments, in which classical music was the driving force. ‘Musical Moments from Chopin’ is the first of three, in which Woody Woodpecker joins Andy Panda in a piano recital of Frédéric Chopin tunes at a barnyard concert.

Unfortunately, the result is a very uneven cartoon: there’s practically no conflict between Woody and Andy, the driving force of such wonderful piano concert cartoons like ‘Rhapsody Rabbit‘ (1946) and ‘The Cat Concerto‘ (1947). Even worse, Lundy wastes a lot of time on gags involving the audience. In the end it’s a drunken horse who ends the concert by starting a fire.

Both the animals in the audience and the anthropomorphic flames have an old-fashioned 1930s-look. The complete cartoon is remarkably slow and unfunny, and pales when compared to its contemporary concert cartoons.

Watch ‘Musical Moments from Chopin’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: September 27, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Spike
Rating: ★★
Review:

The Invisible Mouse © MGMDuring a chase Jerry accidentally falls into a bottle of invisible ink, rendering him invisible, too. In this condition he gives Tom a hard time.

The invisible mouse is wonderfully animated, especially in the scenes where Jerry’s presence is only suggested by forces on pillows and clothes. However, it suffers from an all too powerful Jerry. Tom doesn’t stand a chance against his invisible opponent, making him pitiful rather than a comical foe. The soundtrack, with its surprisingly low amount of sound effects, doesn’t help, but the main problem lies in the invisibility itself, for the Donald Duck short ‘The Vanishing Private‘ (1942), using the same idea, leads to an equally unfunny cartoon.

Watch ‘The Invisible Mouse’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 33
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: A Mouse in the House
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Kitty Foiled

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: October 3, 1947
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Mickey's Delayed Date © Walt DisneyFor the first time in five years (actually, since ‘Symphony Hour’) Mickey receives considerable screen time in his own cartoon, even though he has to share it once again with his dog, Pluto.

In the opening scene ‘Mickey’s Delayed Date’ we watch Mickey snoring at home, when the phone rings. It’s Minnie: she has been waiting an hour for him to come at a date with her for a dance. As soon as she has threatened him on the phone to break up if he doesn’t show up within fifteen minutes, Mickey rushes to the dance hall. Unfortunately he loses the tickets, which are brought by Pluto just in time.

Much screen time of ‘Mickey’s Delayed Date’ is devoted to Pluto in a rather long scene with a humanized tall hat. Nevertheless, it’s nice to watch Mickey in fine comic shape again, although he is less flexible here than in Riley Thomson’s shorts of the early forties. This short contains a shot of an almost naked Mickey (even without gloves).

‘Mickey’s Delayed Date’ was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon directed by Pluto-director Charles Nichols. He would direct five of the eight post-war Mickey Mouse cartoons.

Watch ‘Mickey’s Delayed Date’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 119
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Squatter’s Rights
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey Down Under

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: 
December 26, 1947
Stars:
 Pluto
Rating:
 ★★★½
Review:

Pluto's Blue Note © Walt DisneyIn ‘Pluto’s Blue Note’ Pluto tries to sing along with some birds, a bee and a grasshopper, but to no avail.

When he discovers that he can use his tail as a needle to play records with, he uses these not only to impress these animals, but also five female dogs, who fall for ‘his’ crooning, Frank Sinatra-like voice. In this short Pluto performs a very silly dance, which is only topped in outrageous animation by his facial expressions while play-backing the crooning voice.

‘Pluto’s Blue Note’ certainly is one of the more inspired Pluto cartoons of the late forties, and its story a welcome deviation from the Pluto-befriends-a-little-animal formula.

Watch ‘Pluto’s Blue Note’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 23
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Mail Dog
To the next Pluto cartoon: Bone Bandit

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: 
November 14, 1947
Stars:
 Pluto
Rating:
 ★
Review:

Mail Dog © Walt Disney‘Mail Dog’ is another arctic short featuring Pluto (see ‘Rescue Dog‘ from eight months earlier).

This time Pluto is a mail dog in Alaska. While delivering the mail he encounters a totem pole and a chilly rabbit. When he chases it, he accidentally delivers the mail in time, too.

This short follows the typical Pluto story, where Pluto befriends a little animal he dislikes at first. Unfortunately, there’s absolutely nothing special about this particular entry, making it one of Pluto’s most forgettable cartoons.

Watch ‘Mail Dog’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 22
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Rescue Dog
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Blue Note

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: March 21, 1947
Stars: Pluto
Rating: ★★
Review:

Rescue Dog © Walt DisneyPluto somehow is a rescue dog in the arctic, where he encounters the little seal from ‘Pluto’s Playmate’ (1941).

In a story all too similar to this earlier entry, Pluto tries to get rid of it, but when the seal rescues him from almost drowning, they become friends.

This is one of the more forgettable Pluto shorts in which Pluto befriends a little animal. Its story is told quite slowly. However, it contains some broad and funny animation of Pluto. The seal would return the following year in ‘Mickey and the Seal‘.

Watch ‘Rescue Dog’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 21
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Housewarming
To the next Pluto cartoon: Mail Dog

Directors: Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske & Bill Roberts
Release Date: September 27, 1947
Stars: Jiminy Cricket, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Edgar Bergen, Luana Patton
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Fun and Fancy Free © Walt DisneyFun and Fancy Free’ was the fourth of six package features Disney released in the 1940s.

It consists of two unrelated stories, which were both originally conceived as feature films in 1940/1941. The two stories, ‘Bongo’ and ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk’ are loosely linked by Jiminy Cricket, who sings the happy-go-lucky theme song.

He plays a record to a sad doll and a gloomy bear which features Dinah Shore telling the story of Bongo in rhyme and song. This cute, if unassuming and forgettable little film (after a story by Sinclair Lewis) tells about Bongo the circus bear, who breaks free from the circus, falls in love with a cute female bear called Lulubelle, and combats a large brutal bear called Lumpjack.

Immediately after this story has ended, we follow Jiminy Cricket to a live action setting: a private party with a little girl (Luana Patton), Edgar Bergen and his two ventriloquist sidekicks, the cynical Charlie and the dumb, but gentle Mortimer.

Bergen tells a version of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, starring ‘famished farmers’ Mickey, Donald and Goofy in their last classic trio outing. This part had a long genesis, the early drafts of this film go back to 1940. Apparently Pinto Colvig had returned to the Disney studio, because Goofy has his voice back after having been silenced for eight years. Pinto Colvig would do Goofy’s voice in two subsequent shorts, ‘Foul Hunting‘ (1947) and ‘The Big Wash‘ (1948), before leaving again, leaving Goofy voiceless, once more. This sequence is also the last theatrical film in which Walt Disney does Mickey’s voice. Halfway the production Jimmy MacDonald took over.

This second episode of ‘Fun and Fancy Free’ is a delight, if a little bit slow. Its humor derives mostly from Charlie’s sarcastic interruptions. Nevertheless, the animation of the growing beanstalk and of Willie the giant is stunning.

Willie would be the last giant Mickey defeated, after having done with giants in ‘Giantland‘ (1933) and ‘Brave Little Tailor’ (1938). Unlike the other giants, Willie is an instantly likeable character, and he was revived as the ghost of Christmas Present in ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol‘ (1983).

‘Fun and Fancy Free’ is a lighthearted film. Like Disney’s other package features, it is not too bad, but it is certainly not among the ranks of masterpieces.

Watch the opening scene of ‘Fun and Fancy Free’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 12, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Salt Water Tabby © MGMTom is at the beach, trying to impress a sexy white kitten.

He’s disturbed by Jerry, who appears from the kitten’s picnic basket, and by a green crab, which looks surprisingly similar to the crab in the Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘Hawaiian Holiday’ (1937).

‘Salt Water Tabby’ was the first Tom and Jerry cartoon to feature oil backgrounds, several years after Disney and Warner Brothers made that transition. Nevertheless, this experiment was not to be continued, leaving ‘Salt Water Tabby’ the only Tom and Jerry to feature oil backgrounds for years.

Watch ‘Salt Water Tabby’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 31
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: A Mouse in the House

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: June 14, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse © MGMThis cartoon starts with Tom’s attempts to prevent Jerry from lapping his milk.

In ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ Jerry has attained a Droopy-like ability to be everywhere, giving Tom a hard time. In order to defeat the omnipresent mouse, Tom mixes a poisonous drink. Unfortunately, it renders the mouse muscular and extremely strong.

Later, Jerry tries to mix the same drink to get strong again, but it’s Tom who drinks it. However, it makes him smaller and in the final shot watch see Jerry chasing a tiny Tom.

‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ covers similar grounds as the Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘The Worm Turns‘ (1937), but with better results. The highlight of the cartoon is the animation of the effects of Tom’s potion on Jerry. Especially the animation of a threatening, marching muscular Jerry is grandiose, and in this scene Scott Bradley’s outstanding music is particularly powerful.

Watch ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 30
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Part Time Pal
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Salt Water Tabby

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: March 15, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Part Time Pal © MGMMammy threatens Tom he goes out if he doesn’t catch ‘that mouse’.

In the chase Tom accidentally gets drunk, which changes him into Jerry’s best pal and rebellious against Mammy. This can’t go well, and in the end we see Mammy chasing a hiccuping Tom in a moonlit landscape.

The animation of the drunken Tom is very well done and a delight to watch. However, somehow, ‘Part Time Pal’ also seems to be the most inspirational cartoon to the Czech studio Gene Deitch led for his Tom and Jerry cartoons (1961-1962), because Tom’s design in this cartoon is remarkably similar to those later, way more poorly animated cartoons.

Watch ‘Part Time Pal’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 28
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cat Fishin’
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Cat Concerto

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