Thursday, March 10, 2016

Short Subject: The Mad Doctor (1933)

And I thought the Epic Mickey homage to this was creepy!

This short is a great example to show people who scoff and say cartoons are just for kids.  Animation is a medium it can show any genre and idea you want for any age, and Disney is no exception.  Not that this is especially dark, but it’s not something I would have liked to have seen as a kid.  The great shadow work, improved skeleton movement over ‘The Skeleton Dance’, and the creepy design and voice of the doctor would have sacred me when I was younger.  Heck before it’s revealed that the whole thing was all a dream I was really starting to worry that Mickey and Pluto weren’t going to escape the house of horrors.

The short is still nicely balanced though with lighter bits like Mickey fighting the skeleton spider, opening the endless door, and Pluto’s heart jumping into his throat and breaking to pieces timed to a funeral march.  The animation holds up well over all I think.  There are a few clunky bits like when the planks fall away as Mickey goes across the bridge to the doctor’s castle the timing is quite right, it’s a bit slow.  The run cycle for Mickey isn’t as detailed in secondary action as it will become with time, but still this is very enjoyable to watch.

For me it’s still a classic worth checking out, just maybe not right before going to bed.

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