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Director: Unknown
Release Date: June 11, 1928
Stars: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Honey, Peg Leg Pete
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Sky Scrappers © Walt DisneyWhere ‘Oh, What a Knight‘ was a forerunner of ‘Ye Olden Days‘, ‘Sky Scrappers’ is the blueprint for the Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘Building a Building‘ (1933).

Like the later cartoon, ‘Sky Scrappers’ opens spectacularly with a fantastic opening shot zooming out of Oswald’s excavator. Both feature Honey/Minnie bringing Oswald/Mickey lunchboxes and Pete kidnapping Honey/Minnie. Like in ‘Oh What A Knight’ Honey is shown without her pants.

The opening shot shows a lot of animation cycles, effectively suggesting a lot of working on the building. There’s also a great perspective gag with Pete punching right into the camera. However, the most remarkably animation achievement is that of Oswald pulling up a heavy barrel. The idea of weight and muscle stretch is very convincing, and stands out amidst the more formulaic animation of the rest of the cartoon.

Watch ‘Sky Scrappers’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon No. 21
To the previous Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon: Oh, What A Knight
To the next Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon: The Fox Chase

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Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date:
 March 11, 1950
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny
Rating:
 ★★★★
Review:

Homeless Hare © Warner BrothersIn ‘Homeless Hare’ Bugs’s home happens to be in a construction site.

When the excavator driver ignores Bugs’s pleas for leaving his home alone, Bugs nags him until the bully can’t take no more.

This film contains a gag of a half conscious Bugs walking at great heights without falling, a scene that is clearly borrowed from earlier shorts, like the Popeye cartoon ‘A Dream Walking’ from 1934 and the classic Disney short ‘Clock Cleaners’ from 1937. It also contains an elaborate final gag with a hot rivet, a type of gag Chuck Jones invented. It anticipates similar gags in the Road Runner series and Jones’s Tom and Jerry films from the 1960s. The Highlight of the cartoon, however, is a gag with the bully balancing on a plank with a bunch of bricks, which Bugs slowly withdraws…

Watch ‘Homeless Hare’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 70
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Mutiny on the Bunny
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Big House Bunny

Director: David Hand
Release Date: January 7, 1933
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pete ,Pluto
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Building a Building © Walt Disney‘Building a building’ has a grand opening with its close-up of the anthropomorphized excavator.

This fast and gag-rich cartoon can be summarized as ‘Gallopin’ Gaucho‘ at a building site: Mickey is employed as an excavator machinist. When Minnie drops by selling box lunches, Mickey is so struck by love that he ruins the blueprints of foreman Peg Leg Pete three times. Pete is charmed by Minnie, too, and he tries to force her to a kiss. Of course, Mickey comes to the rescue, fleeing with Minnie and leaving Pete behind with the building in complete shambles. Pete just manages to fire Mickey, but Minnie immediately adds him to her business.

‘Building a Building’ reuses several story ideas from the early Oswald cartoon ‘Sky Scrappers‘ (1928). Both feature the hero being an excavator machinist, his love interest bringing box lunches, and Pete trying to abduct the girl. Even the excavator opening shot is a copy of the opening shot of ‘Sky Scrappers’. However, in five years both animation, timing and characterization have much improved. If ‘Sky Scrappers’ was a remarkable achievement for 1928, it was at times still crude. ‘Building a Building’ on the other hand has a refined quality that characterized the Mickey Mouse cartoons of 1933 and beyond.

There’s for example some remarkably flexible animation on Mickey when he rides the elevator. The animators have really put a sense of weight in his body, and exaggerated the effects of the sudden start and stop of the lift on it, with a lovely comic result. The musical score, too, is a delight from beginning to end, becoming particularly silly when Pete’s trousers change into a watering can. Indeed, with ‘Building A Building’ Mickey got his second Academy Award nomination, after ‘Mickey’s Orphans‘ (1931)

‘Building a Building’ is the first of a few 1933 Mickey Mouse cartoons that are introduced and partly played out in Song, following the Silly Symphonies ‘King Neptune‘ and ‘Santa’s Workshop‘ from 1932. Other examples from 1933 are ‘The Mad Doctor‘,  ‘Ye Olden Days‘ and ‘The Mail Pilot‘.

Watch ‘Building a Building’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 51
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Good Deed
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: The Mad Doctor

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