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Director: Ben Sharpsteen
Release Date: June 17, 1938
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Polar Trappers © Walt Disney‘Polar Trappers’ is the first of six cartoons co-starring Donald Duck and Goofy.

This mini-series, which lasted until 1947, is much less well-known than the trio-cartoons of the 1930s, and rightly so, for these cartoons are okay at best, and never reach the classic heights of a ‘Clock Cleaners’ (1937) or ‘Mickey’s Trailer’ (1938).

One of the problems of these shorts is that the studio never really succeeded in making comedy out of interaction between these two characters. Without the bridging Mickey, it was in fact, rather unclear why the two very different characters were actually together.

In ‘Polar Trappers’ Donald Duck and Goofy don’t share any screen time until the very end. This cartoon incongruously places them on some unknown expedition in the Antarctic. Apparently they want to catch walruses, but even Goofy has no clue why, as he sings in his opening scene.

Meanwhile Donald Duck is tired of cooking beans. He’d rather eat penguin meat, so he dresses like a penguin and tries to lure a population of penguins, much like the pied piper. This march of the penguins accounts for some beautiful shots, most notably one in which the penguins cast large shadows across the screen. The penguins’ design come straight from the Silly Symphony ‘Peculiar Penguins‘ (1934).

Donald’s evil plan is stopped by one tear of a little penguin he had sent away. This tear grows into a huge snowball, destroying the duo’s camp.

Shortly after this film’s release (August 15-27, 1938) Al Taliaferro’s Donald Duck comic strip drew inspiration from the same material, but now without Goofy.

Watch ‘Polar Trappers’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Polar Trappers’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Chronological Donald Volume 1’

 

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Director: Wilfred Jackson
Release Date: September 1, 1934
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Peculiar Penguins © Walt Disney‘Peculiar Penguins’ can be summarized as ‘love story in the Antarctic’: a penguin falls in love with a girl, blows it, but saves the day by rescuing her from a terrible shark.

Being one of the weaker entries in the Silly Symphonies, ‘Peculiar Penguins’ nevertheless contains some fine animation, especially in the under water chase, which is literally packed with special effects. Like in ‘Funny Little Bunnies‘, the setting is introduced by a sugary song, accompanying a complex opening shot, with lots of penguins moving and seagulls flying in it.

Ten years later Disney would return to the Antarctic to tell about a particularly peculiar penguin called Pablo in ‘The Three Caballeros‘ (1944).

Watch ‘Peculiar Penguins’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Silly Symphony No. 47
To the previous Silly Symphony: The Flying Mouse
To the next Silly Symphony: The Goddess of Spring

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