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Director: Jack King
Release Date: April 28, 1939
Stars: Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

The Hockey Champ © Walt Disney‘The Hockey Champ’ easily is one of the best Donald Duck cartoons of the 1930s.

Unlike ‘Good Scouts‘ or ‘Donald’s Golf Game‘, this short is fast paced, full of gags, speed lines and chase scenes, looking forward to the 1940s, the age of chase cartoons. The cartoon opens wonderfully with Donald Duck performing some impressive figure skating, and imitating Norwegian world champion and movie star Sonja Henie.

His performance is interrupted by Huey, Dewey and Louie playing ice hockey, and Donald Duck challenges the trio to a game. He indeed shows some impressive ice hockey skills, playing all by himself, in a scene recalling Max Hare playing tennis with himself in ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ (1935). This is a speedy scene for a 1939 cartoon, but when the Huey, Dewey and Louie take revenge, this speed is retained. There’s a wonderfully silly chase scene underneath the snow, with the hockey sticks acting as periscopes, and, needless to say, the haughty Donald is finally defeated by his nephews.

‘The Hockey Champ’ is an important step towards the faster cartoon style of the 1940s, and still a delight to watch, in contrast to contemporary Donald Duck cartoons, which are as beautifully made, but unfortunately less funny.

Watch ‘The Hockey Champ’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon no. 8
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Donald’s Lucky Day
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Donald’s Cousin Gus

‘The Hockey Champ’ is available on the DVD set ‘The Chronological Donald Volume 1’

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Director: Jack Hannah
Release Date: June 3, 1949
Stars: Donald Duck,  Chip ‘n’ Dale
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Winter Storage © Walt DisneyIt’s 7 October, and Chip and Dale are storing acorns for the winter. Because they don’t get enough, they steal them from Donald Duck, who, as a forest ranger, has a sackful to plant new oak trees with.

‘Winter Storage’ was Chip and Dale’s fourth film, and only the second in their mature form. In this cartoon they are even better developed than in their previous entry, ‘Three for Breakfast’ (1948), and watching the interplay between the two chipmunks is a sheer delight. Donald’s role, on the other hand, is modest, and only comes alive in the finale, in a very nice fake ice hockey scene.

Watch ‘Winter Storage’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 77
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Sea Salts
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Honey Harvester

Director: Georges Schwizgebel
Release Date:
 1977
Rating: 
★★★
Review:

Hors-jeu © Georges SchwizgebelIn ‘Hors-jeu’ we watch a soccer match change into a basketball match and into an ice hockey game. When violence enters, however, the game stops.

With this short film Schwizgebel builds on the concepts introduced in his previous film, ‘Perspectives‘. In ‘Hors-jeu’ he incorporates sound-effects and a rather surrealistic play with the rotoscoped images into his style. Surrealism would dominate his next film, ‘Le ravissement de Frank N. Stein‘ (1982), but in its visual style ‘Hors-jeu’ looks more forward to later films, like ‘78 Tours‘ (1985).

Watch ‘Hors-jeu’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNzU1MjYzMjg=.html

‘Hors-jeu’ is available on the DVD ‘Les Peintures animées de Georges Schwizgebel’

Director: Jack Kinney
Release Date:
 September 21, 1945
Stars:
 Goofy
Rating:
 ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Hockey Homicide © Walt Disney‘Hockey Homicide’ is an account of a frantic ice hockey game between two teams, of which all players share names with Disney employees (while the referee is named after the cartoon’s director, Jack Kinney).

The cartoon is bursting with cartoon violence. For instance, there’s a hilarious running gag of two star players, Bertino and Ferguson, who, when they leave the penalty box, immediately start beating up each other, only to be send back into the penalty box again.

But the real treat of this fast and furious cartoon is its final sequence, when the crowd takes over and the cartoon runs totally haywire, even using non-related footage from ‘How to Play Football’ (1944), ‘How to Play Baseball‘ (1942), ‘Victory Through Air Power’ (1943) and Monstro the Whale from ‘Pinocchio‘ (1940), to add to the feeling of complete chaos.

‘Hockey Homicide’ must be the wildest, fastest and most violent cartoon Disney ever produced. Like earlier Goofy cartoons by Jack Kinney, it is clearly influenced by contemporary cartoons at Warner Bros. and MGM, and it has a genuine Tex Averyan spirit rarely seen at Dosmey outside the Goofy series.

With ‘Hockey Homicide’ the Goofy series reached its apex. More entertaining films were to follow, but none as wild and extreme as this one. After it Kinney was fully involved in feature films, only to return to the Goofy series again in 1949. By then the humor of Hollywood cartoons had toned down. In the meantime five Goofy cartoons were produced: four directed by Donald Duck-director Jack Hannah, and one by Clyde Geronimi.

Watch ‘Hockey Homicide’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Goofy cartoon No. 17
To the previous Goofy cartoon: Californy’er Bust
To the next Goofy cartoon: A Knight for a Day

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