Thursday, March 17, 2016

Short Subject: The Barn Dance (1929)

Forget Mortimer Pete is clearly Mickey’s greatest rival.

Now here’s a nice combination of personality and music in one shot.  Unlike ‘The Haunted House’ where Mickey is just a bystander to events and could have been any character here he is far more central.  He directly competes with Pete for Minnie’s attention, and it’s interesting to see that Pete isn’t really a jerk here, or at least less than normal.  He doesn’t try to kidnap Minnie he simply brings a car as opposed to Mickey’s horse and wagon.  He is also a far better dancer than Mickey, and since Minnie had just spent the last dance getting her feet and legs stepped on by Mickey’s growing feet, a nice animation by the way, I can see why she would want to dance with someone else. 

Mickey also keeps that jerk personality of his, not directed toward Minnie this time thankfully, but more to his horse by tying a fifty pound weight to its tail to keep it from swatting him and Minnie, and then getting hit in the head with that same weight for his troubles while I laugh.  I like the development of Mickey’s design here too.  We’re getting to the more rounded face and body as opposed to the skinnier stick version of ‘Plane Crazy’  and even against ‘Steamboat Willie’ I find there’s just a little bit better expression work and movement here.  Even in just a year you can see the improvement in craftsmanship.

I love the way the music is integrated with movements here like the horse as it runs.  The music involved with the dance itself is nicely timed even if again many loops are used.  I even kinda like the ending just because it’s so different, because Pete wins and Mickey just sits there crying as we iris out.  

 So all in all a very nice short with a good combination of movement to music and personalities that can bounce off one another in funny and fun ways.       

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