Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White - Volume Two
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Rating: Not Rated
Walt Disney as Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mania: Collecting Mickey Merchandise
Mickey's Portrait Artist: John Hench
Mickey's Sunday Funnies: A Virtual Comic Strip
Art Galleries: Mickey Mouse, Fully Covered; Mickey's Poster Archive; Background Paintings; Animation Drawings
Running Time: 5 Hours 34 Minutes
These Mickey Mouse shorts were originally released between 1928 and 1935. Here's the text from the DVD cover:
"In this final volume, the homage to Mickey's early career is completed with these shorts. From 1928's "The Barn Dance" to his very last black-and-white short, 1935's "Mickey's Kangaroo," his colorful antics in a black-and-white world propelled him to super-stardom. The Mickey craze touched everybody and everything. In this volume, hear Leonard Maltin and Disney Legend John Hench talk about Mickey's official birthday portraits. Visit an unbelievable collection of Mickey collectibles and rare artifacts. Enjoy period photos, publicity, and animation art from the archives. It's all here plus more in this celebration of the mouse who became a global icon."
This DVD is not rated.
If you bought the first volume of Mickey Mouse Black and White shorts, then you know what an interesting animation find it is. You'll also want to complete your collection by adding this second volume to it.
I'm always amazed to go back and look at these short films. The animation is so simple and crude that I realize now how I take modern animation for granted. It's also interesting to see how the Mickey Mouse design has evolved over the years. He went from having eyes and pupils to just having pupils. There are other design changes as well. But his personality changed as well. While the modern Mickey is a goody two shoes, the vintage Mickey would get mad, fight, and generally do things that you wouldn't expect now.
Speaking of doing things you wouldn't expect, these shorts are divided up into a "Shorts" section and a "Vaults" section. Those in the vault feature a number of politically incorrect gags that certainly wouldn't fly today. They show Mickey Mouse doing black face and "Mammy" gags, Asian stereotypes, and other stuff. Despite being offensive, Leonard Maltin introduces the section by putting the cartoons into context and saying that they are film history and an opportunity to discuss changing views of racism over time. He also offers a warning to parents who don't want their kids exposed to it. Overall I think it was very tastefully presented and it was appropriate for Disney to release them in this context. Could "Song of the South" be far behind?
If you're an animation fan or a film history fan, then this DVD is a required addition to your collection. Kids will also enjoy seeing Mickey in his early incarnation.
There are a number of highlights included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:
Mickey Mania: Collecting Mickey Merchandise – Leonard Maltin takes a tour of a house of a Mickey uber-collector. He shows a number of rare and creative Mickey merchandise. They talk about the licensing of the character and how he was used over the years. This was a very interesting featurette to me. If you like Antiques Roadshow, you'll really enjoy this.
Mickey's Portrait Artist: John Hench – A year before John Hitch died, Leonard Maltin interviewed him about his work as Mickey's official portrait artist. Hench was known for drawing Mickey in lifelike 3-D styles and it made his work quite notable.
Mickey's Sunday Funnies: A Virtual Comic Strip – This featurette discusses Mickey's daily comic strips which ran for years in newspapers. Maltin talks about their origins, the original creators, the stories, and more. You can also view a number of the full comic strips. Vintage comic fans will enjoy this.
The Bottom Line:
This DVD is a required addition to the collections of animation and Mickey fans. The un-PC material also makes this DVD a bold release for Disney. Antique and pop culture collectors will particularly enjoy the extras.