The Chain Gang (1930)

The Chain Gang ReviewThe Chain Gang Review

The Chain Gang is a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is an okay entry.

The chain gangs were popular during the early thirties and of course this series was going to utilize on them, but with decidedly mixed results. I liked the animation quite a bit, especially of the dogs and the backgrounds. The ending and beginning are memorable and the middle section much less so.

The film has its moments and Mickey is good here, but it is overlong, not as engaging as it should have been and not particularly well scored. Pete is great as is Mickey and I loved the setting and the situation, but it never escalated into something bigger as both the gags and the energy are very much lacking here leading to a solid, but not great 1930 Mickey Mouse entry.

The Chain Gang definitely is well animated and with an interesting plot, but a weaker execution with not enough energy and certainly not enough laughs.

My Rating – 3.4


The Shindig (1930)

The Shindig ReviewThe Shindig Review

The Shindig is a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a charming entry.

Once again we get a dancing entry and again it happens in a barn as Mickey and the rest of the gang dance and play instruments there. The film is important for being the first Mickey Mouse short where Clarabelle Cow is fully anthropomorphized as she stands on two legs and acts human. She is quite memorable and the rest of the characters are also charming with Mickey and Minnie stealing the show.

This is one of those musical episodes and once again it is a cliched, highly typical and familiar cartoon set in a familiar setting and with the basic structure of dancing and playing instruments. But it is better than most previous such entries mainly because it is a lot of fun with such a high energy and charm factor to it. It is repetitive, but at least they used great pieces of music.

The Shindig is a typical musical Mickey Mouse entry, but better than most thanks to an energetic approach and charming character interactions.

My Rating – 3.5


The Fire Fighters (1930)

The Fire Fighters ReviewThe Fire Fighters Review

The Fire Fighters is a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a solid effort.

This film actually has a plot although it’s a simple one. Mickey has to help Minnie and get her out of a burning house. This is one of those situational cartoons where we just follow one dangerous hazard and the hero has to save the day. But even though it of course lacks in originality, it compensates that with a couple of good, clever gags and a competent execution overall.

The second half was much more entertaining than the first one. I liked the animation and the action was really good here. The highlight was seeing Mickey laugh when the flames were tickling his behind and the entire ending where he helped Minnie and when the two embraced was so cute and endearing.

The Fire Fighters is not original, but it is pretty fun with some good moments and some really endearing scenes.

My Rating – 3.8


The Cactus Kid (1930)

The Cactus Kid ReviewThe Cactus Kid Review

The Cactus Kid is a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a solid entry.

This is one of those western Mickey shorts in the vein of ‘The Gallopin’ Gaucho’. The Mexican setting is so well conveyed here and with such a good score and I just loved that chase sequence as it is accompanied by one of the best classical compositions and the action is so well incorporated into the musical cues.

However, this short never amounts to much. It certainly should have been great as both the setting and the premise demanded but the end results are not so great. Despite a good first act and excellent third act, the film is otherwise not as exciting as that middle section was quite lacking. And the lip-syncing continues to be the problem for these early sound pictures.

The Cactus Kid is problematic in the middle section, but with an excellent last chase accompanied by great music.

My Rating – 3.7


The Barnyard Concert (1930)

The Barnyard Concert ReviewThe Barnyard Concert Review

The Barnyard Concert is a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is such a dull entry.

This is another one of those Disney flicks which are obsessed with music, this time around it is the music of classical variety. That is great and I liked how it was animated and how the instruments were used, but still it gets pretty boring very quickly as it is rather repetitive in its action.

It also has no gags, at least I did not notice them. The film should have had more humor and Mickey himself is rather forgettable this time around and not that well animated with weaker character design than usual. So this is the kind of film which is obviously a product of its time and it is isn’t particularly entertaining in this day and age.

The Barnyard Concert is one of the weaker Mickey Mouse shorts with too much repetitive music in it.

My Rating – 3.2


The Haunted House (1929)

The Haunted House ReviewThe Haunted House Review

The Haunted House is a 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is such an atmospheric entry.

This is the first ever Mickey Mouse horror film and it honestly works which was unexpected. It is a stupendously atmospheric, genuinely creepy movie that should undoubtedly prove scary for children. The first half is so good as Mickey visits this haunted house which looks beautiful and meticulously detailed. The skeletons themselves are nothing special, but the hooded skeleton is quite creepy, menacing and ultimately highly memorable.

The film definitely was ruined by again overwhelming dance sequences. The hooded figure makes Mickey play the piano and he and the skeletons dance to it. There were some good gags there, but most of it were typical early series’ dance routines. That was dull and the ending was good, but not great. But the score is very good and the animation is simply outstanding with a great use of lighting and black and white color that it ultimately succeeds.

The Haunted House has a typical dance second half, but the first one is a genuine horror flick with a palpable atmosphere and absolutely outstanding animation.

My Rating – 4


Jungle Rhythm (1929)

Jungle Rhythm ReviewJungle Rhythm Review

Jungle Rhythm is a 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is such a weak entry.

The only pretty good thing that it has going for it is the animation and how those dances were executed and how the sounds were created using the animals. I liked how it has various different animals in it and they looked fine. But there is absolutely no plot to be had here whatsoever and the film is as slight of a cartoon as you could possibly get.

It isn’t bad, but it is just weak. The music is okay, but repetitive and the entire film was overlong, somewhat dull and exceedingly repetitive in execution. I wished for some songs but I did not get them. Mickey here is interestingly not as mean-spirited as previously portrayed so maybe he is starting to change.

Jungle Rhythm is the weakest Mickey Mouse film thus far with no plot to it and with very repetitive execution.

My Rating – 3.1


Wild Waves (1929)

Wild Waves Review

Wild Waves is a 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a solid entry.

This is another one of those musical episodes, but it isn’t as dull. I do think that the first half is much better than the second half as there we witness Mickey save Minnie from drowning in a rather cool sequence. I also liked the ending and the film’s setting and romance are well realized. It is worth seeing just for these two lovebirds who are so charming here.

Mickey whistling to Minnie was sweet but the animation in lip-syncing definitely still needs some work. The overall animation and especially designs of the animals are not great here. The second half involved excessive dancing and singing in that typical late 20s/early 30s style where it is rather repetitive and boring with the same movements repeated throughout.

Wild Waves features overwhelming dancing later on, but the first half is very good and the romance between Mickey and Minnie is wonderful here.

My Rating – 3.5


The Jazz Fool (1929)

The Jazz Fool ReviewThe Jazz Fool Review

The Jazz Fool is a 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is such a disappointing flick.

This is basically another one of those music-obsessed episodes but this time, the music is not that memorable and the film is way too short for it to be memorable. What I really liked about is of course that third act with the piano which was fun and Mickey himself is very funny here and once again horrible and mean spirited, this time to that poor piano.

But that ending is still not that great or hilarious and everything that came before it was forgettable and uninspired. I wished to have seen more characters, much more plot and a longer runtime. This way it ended up being one of the weaker Mickey Mouse shorts so far and I am looking forward to the day when they stop relying so much on music and start relying more on its star.

Mickey Mouse is great in The Jazz Fool, a film which is otherwise uninspired and too short.

My Rating – 3.3


The Plow Boy (1929)

The Plow Boy ReviewThe Plow Boy Review

The Plow Boy is a 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It’s such a fun flick.

This underrated short features Mickey and Minnie on a farm with their cows. When Mickey kisses Minnie, she gets mad and kicks him with a bucket. He eventually resorts to using a pig for plowing as his cow has abandoned him. This is not a strong plot and everything here is situational comedy, but it makes use of that early series’ humor really well with a lot of great gags.

The gags really make up for the weaker animation and once again unappealing character designs. I loved Mickey torturing those cows. I mean I didn’t love it, but it was funny and interesting and I have to say that I really do prefer this more mean spirited Mickey than the goody two-shoes that he would soon become. Minnie was crazy and memorable here and I loved the bee sting gag.

The Plow Boy is a lot of fun with quite a lot of crazy, funny gags and a great use of all its characters.

My Rating – 4