Disney Films

Walt Disney Treasures: Wave 3

May 2004

On the Front Lines

World War II was a big inconvenience for almost everybody, and the Walt Disney Studio was no exception. Most of the studio's artists were drafted, fled to Canada, or suddenly discovered that they were Quakers, and the workload for those that remained skyrocketed in reaction to the government's demand for cute cartoon characters explaining the dangers of dysentery and giving handy bayoneting tips.

Many of the films in this set are instructional in nature and boring to the point of tears, but bearded animation completist Leonard Maltin recommended that you watch them anyway for their historical value. Others, particularly those heavy in political propaganda, are worth watching, if only because even modern children can get a kick out of laughing at those wacky Nazis.

The set includes all 10,000+ short subjects made during the war, for example:

  • How to Go on Leave Like a Sailor
  • Navy Seal Duck
  • How Little Johnny Became a Nazi Death Machine
  • Out of the Frying Pan and onto the Beach at Normandy
  • Hitler Can Bite Me
  • Chicken Little: Planning for Good Eating
  • Donald Deserts and Dies
  • And of course the riveting, Four Methods of Flush Riveting

The complete 1943 film Victory Through Air Power (not to be confused with 1965's musical Victory Through Hair Power) is also part of the set. This important film carried the revolutionary message, "You know those airplanes you used in World War I? Well, we should be using them now, too."

The Chronological Donald, Volume One (1934 - 1941)

Disney's rude, angry, pantsless, single-father duck Donald is one of the studio's most beloved characters. Over the years he has starred in literally billions of cartoons, from his first appearance in "The Wise Little Guy" in 1934, to various solo and ensemble shorts, to orange juice commercials, to the "Lot and his Daughters" segment of Fantasia 2000, to an appearance before the House Anti-American Activities Committee to denounce Daffy Duck as a communist.

This DVD set presents the early years of Donald Duck's existence with 36 short cartoons. They include many family and corporate favorites. For example:

  • "Donald and Pluto, God of the Underworld"
  • "Donald's Emu"
  • "Pantsless!"
  • "The Riviter" (featuring Donald watching musical highlights of "Four Methods of Flush Riviting")
  • "You're FiredTM!"
  • "Donald Calls Daisy 'Minnie'"
  • "Donald Gets Slapped"
  • "Donald's Divorce"

Donald Duck is perhaps best known for his appearance as Mickey Mouse's evil nemesis in "The Orphan's Benefit" and "The Speckled Band Concert." These seminal moments in Donald Duck's development are not included in this exhaustive DVD collection.

Also not included are any of Donald's many battles with chipmunks Chip and Dale, most notably "Death to Chipmunks," "Two Little Fur Rugs," and "Nuts!"

The DVD also includes a lengthy and completely incomprehensible biography of Donald's voice, Clarence "Ducky" Nash.

Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond

Back before the Apollo space program was even a twinkle in Kennedy's eye, Walt Disney wanted to take America into space. This proved too expensive for the visionary filmmaker, so he turned to making TV shows about it instead.

This DVD collection contains a number of science-related shows that were broadcast in the 1950s. Highlights of the shows include:

  • Speculation on how one could travel to the moon in a dirigible
  • What do Martians look like and how can we dominate them?
  • An informative lecture by former Nazi rocket designer Dr. Werner von Braun (who smiles disturbingly whenever the London blitz is mentioned)
  • What is "gravity" and what can be done about it?
  • How to build a weather control doomsday device
  • A look at Tomorrowland attractions built since 1990 that accurately predict the future (ten minutes of silence over a blank screen)

In addition to the longer shows, there are several short films:

  • "Men in Space"
  • "A Woman in Space" (a wacky comedy about a lady astronaut whose space suit has a skirt and who keeps running her space ship into things because she's putting on lipstick while driving)
  • "Splitting the Atom for Fun and Profit"
  • "How Insufficient Cosmic Ray Shielding Can Give You Super Powers"
  • "Five Methods of Low Gravity Plasma Bonding"

Also included is Walt Disney's informative description of his vision for building EPCOT, an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow. After Disney's death, EPCOT was built exactly as he envisioned it, with the exception that everything was changed including the name, Entertainment Pandering to Consumers Of Today.

Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume Two

More Mickey Mouse. Seriously, can't these guys get over this character already? It's like they're obsessed with him.

This collection contains 21 short Mickey Mouse cartoons, both forgotten and vaguely remembered. Several of these are reworkings of older classic cartoons, such as "Tugboat Mickey" (an updated "Steamboat Willie"), "The Nifty Nineties" (just "The Exceptional Eighties" ten years later), and "The Little Whirlwind" (essentially "The Band Concert" with a lower budget).

Only "Plutopia," a Disney take on Orwell's 1984, really stands out as a classic.

Several longer films are also included:

  • "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment from Fantasia, in which Mickey attempts to use magic to approve his ratings during sweeps week
  • "Mickey and the Beanstalk" parodying the Mickey Rooney film of the same name
  • "Mickey's Christmas Carol" which, despite its title, isn't a musical
  • And finally the horrible, offensive, scatological-reference-filled "Runaway Bran" that attempts to show five ways to make a toilet flush riveting.

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