The Old Mill is a 1937 Disney short film in the Silly Symphony series and the recipient of the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
First I will talk about the technical aspects as that is the movie’s selling point. It is famous for being a testing ground for ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs‘. The animators featured here a number of breakthrough effects such as realistic animal behavior, complex lighting and a superb use of multiplane camera among others. And it all works wonderfully with such a terrific animation present. I like the colors of it and all of its effects really do work. It truly is a groundbreaking film when it comes to animation. I also adore its character design which is realistic and the movie has such a dark, even creepy for children atmosphere that really makes it all the more intriguing. And the score is quite beautiful as well.
But the story is anything but unfortunately. Yes, it features realistically portrayed animals and it has that theme of nature’s destruction. It also ends on a wonderful note where everything goes back to normal. But I still expected more as there is nothing else to it. And the pacing is all over the place with some incredibly dragged scenes with the frogs for example taking too much of the screen time. But I would say it still deserved its Oscar for sure and is a historically important film.
The Old Mill has a solid, but flawed story and pacing, but the animation is groundbreaking and beautiful to behold and it has such a great atmosphere and was a great influence for future animated projects.