You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ tag.

Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: December 5, 1931
Stars: Betty Boop, Bimbo
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Jack and the Beanstalk © Max FleischerOnly three months after Van Beuren’s ‘The Family Shoe’, the Fleischer studio released their retelling of the fairy tale in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.

Despite being released after six cartoons featuring Bimbo in his final design, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ features Bimbo with his old, less memorable look. Bimbo plays the part of Jack. He is prompted to plant some magic beans, after a giant in the sky has dropped a cigar on him. The beans soon sprout into a giant beanstalk, which takes Bimbo to the clouds. There he discovers Betty Boop, who’s the giant’s prisoner, making pea soup for him. Bimbo ties the giant and flees with Betty on the magic hen, which changes into a car when hitting the road. But an obnoxious mouse releases the giant who follows them using cars as roller-skates.

‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is a very enjoyable, but weird and highly surreal version of the classic tale. It was the last Talkartoon to feature Betty Boop with dog ears. In all her subsequent films she would be fully human.

The short features ‘Sweepin’ The Clouds Away’ as its theme song, which had been a huge hit for Maurice Chevalier in 1930. Two years later Disney would visit similar grounds in ‘Giantland‘, which is, as you may expect, way less surreal, but much better animated.

Watch ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Talkartoon No. 28
To the previous Talkartoon: Mask-a-Raid
To the next Talkartoon: Dizzy Red Riding Hood

‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’

Advertisements

Directors: John Foster & Mannie Davis
Release Date:
 September 14, 1931
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

The Family Shoe © Van BeurenBy 1931, Van Beuren’s ‘Aesop’s Fables’ had become the studio’s answer to Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies, being the first studio clearly trying to copy Disney’s format (Warner Bros’ Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were only variations on the Silly Symphonies in name, being very different otherwise).

Given the studio’s animation output up to 1931, ‘The Family Shoe’ is a remarkably consistent and forward-looking product. With its consistent storytelling ‘The Family Shoe’ actually predates Walt Disney’s breakthrough short ‘The Ugly Duckling‘ by three months.

Merging the nursery rhyme of the old woman who lived in a shoe with the fairy tale of Jack and the beanstalk, the film anticipates Mickey’s ‘Giantland’ (1933) by two years, and the cute and childish cartoons of the Hays code era by three years. Also, the opening scenes, with hundreds of brats running around and causing mischief predate similar scenes in Walt Disney’s ‘Mickey’s Orphans‘ (December 1931) and ‘Mickey Nightmare’ (1932).

The cartoon retells the story of Jack and the beanstalk quite faithfully, and the cartoon may be a little low on gags. Yet, there are some typical Van Beuren throwaways present, like the bean planting itself, and the ending, in which the golden eggs transform the old lady into a classy aristocrat overnight.

Van Beuren is often described as merely an also-run studio, but this short shows that at least in 1931 it was more ambitious and more capable than one would expect.

Watch ‘The Family Shoe’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘The Family Shoe’ is available on the DVD ‘Aesop’s Fables – Cartoon Classics from the Van Beuren Studio’

Director: Burt Gillett
Release Date: November 25, 1933
Stars: Mickey Mouse, The Orphan Mice
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Giantland © Walt DisneyMickey tells the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to his numerous nephews with him in the starring role.

These nephews come out of nowhere, even though they had appeared in ‘Mickey’s Nightmare‘ (1932), where they were, indeed, part of a nightmare. In ‘Giantland’ they’re real alright, and they would star in five other Mickey Mouse cartoons of the 1930s.

In his story Mickey meets the first giant of his career. This giant is very well drawn, with great use of perspective and realistic details, especially in the hands. This must have been the closest the studio could come to the human form in 1933. The cartoon also contains many shadows. Both features are a testimony of Disney’s urge to master more naturalism in his cartoons.

Nevertheless, one can see that the animators were still struggling with such elaborate designs. The giant is not drawn very consistently, and some sequences are more convincing than others. The best and most beautiful scene is when Mickey ends up inside the Giant’s mouth. This is an original scene by all means, and one that could almost only be done in animation.

Notably, the cartoon emphasizes that the story is a fantasy, with Mickey only telling it. Mickey was slowly becoming more settled, and while he’s still the hero of this cartoon, as the years progressed his quieter nature meant that he lost more and more screen time to less timid characters, like Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy.

Mickey would deal with giants again in ‘Brave Little Tailor’ (1938) and in ‘Fun and Fancy Free’ (1947), a re-telling of the same fairy tale. ‘Gulliver Mickey’ from six months later follows the same story line as ‘Giantland’, but now in reverse, with Mickey himself being the giant, while Floyd Gottfredson retold the story of ‘Giantland’ in his Sunday Mickey Mouse comics from March 11 to April 29, 1934.

Watch ‘Giantland’ yourself and tell me what you think:


This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 62
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: The Pet Store
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Shanghaied

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 851 other followers

Bookmark and Share

Follow TheGrob on Twitter

Categories

Advertisements