Sunday, February 14, 2016

Short Subject: Donald’s Diary (1954)

Donald and Daisy get married, but not really.

This is such an interesting short for its shaking up of the status quo really, from the design of the short to the characters.  We have a very different narrator, which sounds nothing like Donald and yet really works, because Donald is seen as the more sophisticated one here.  Daisy’s family are the ones who are rude and over bearing, and Daisy herself is revealed to be this too in Donald’s nightmare of domestic bliss.  This change works, because the opening narration makes clear that what he is saying and the events as they stand don’t match.  He is an unreliable narrator so I can buy that his voice would sound nothing like Donald’s.   
Also not all of Donald’s trademark blustering and temper are gone here.  He still gets angry at Huey, Dewy, and Louie.  He still buys cheap rings and goes on cheap dates.

I like the redesign of Daisy with the pink skin tone and the hair bun.  The family stuff is less enjoyable only because I’m getting tired of the Whistler’s Mother gags.  I don’t what was so appealing about that piece to the animator’s during this time, but there are so many references to it in so many shorts it’s getting annoying.  Also I don't know what the  Dun and Bradstreet gag is supposed to mean.
The backgrounds of the shorts are different from the norm with the slanted stairs and walk ways, leading to some fun gags of Donald walking tilted at an angle, and struggling to get Daisy up the hill to the dream cottage.  I’ll have to look it up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mary Blair did a lot of work on this short.

Finally I like that this short took a swipe at wedded bliss and revealed that yeah the beautiful thing between two people can fade and be replaced by monotony and bland routine.  And if you think that life isn’t for you, you can do what Donald did and run for the hills and take up a job in the middle of nowhere.

I really like this short for trying out different backgrounds, different character designs, and giving Donald this classy narration in contrast to his well-known hot headed personality.  It’s different, but in a good way.

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