Post #11: Donald’s Crime

26 Apr

So I decided that while watching Disney movies is great, to truly get a sense of all things Disney, I need to look at some of their short films too.

As I talked about in my look at Disney eras, the mid 1940s to late 1950s were marked by many short films, due in part to many animators fighting overseas in World War II and part to financial troubles of the company. As we looked at in class, many of the short films in the early 1940s were war propaganda films.

Donald’s Crime was made in 1945 and is a parody on film noir, which was starting to gain popularity at the time after films such as The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Double Indemnity (1944).

The short follows Donald Duck who is preparing for his big date with Daisy, but realizes that he doesn’t have any money. This causes him to steal $1.25 from his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, but afterwards he feels terrible about it, and sees himself as a gangster on the run from the law.

The animation on this is real fun, particularly when Donald goes “on the run.” Seeing him in a prototypical gangster outfit and going through typical Donald Duck physical humor is just fun for me, being a fan of film noir and a huge Donald Duck fan.

This short is particularly entertaining for people who have watched classical film noir, because it does make fun of the typical conventions of the genre, again, in the scenes after Donald’s date with Daisy. For example, when Donald is trying to hideout on the roof and goes to the edge to look at another far off building and the narrator tells him “Jump! All gangsters have to do that.”

The short is significant in Disney lore for being nominated for Best Animated Feature in 1946 (it lost to Quiet Please, a classic Tom and Jerry short) as well as being the first time that we hear Daisy’s true voice. As for me, I enjoyed the short immensely, and it has one of my new favorite lines of all time, “I’m financially embarrassed.” Trust me, I’ll use that one at some point in the near future.

Below is the short, and if you have 8 minutes to spare somewhere, I’d give it a watch. It really is a classic.


9 Responses to “Post #11: Donald’s Crime”

  1. rednigerian April 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    Great review, thought the short was brilliant. Not that big a fan of film noir, but it was funny to see all the cliches blatantly sticking out like that. Thought the narrating voice was hilarious. Loved how it started off enticing Donald to take the cash, then in the end slowly convinced that he shouldn’t of taken it. Almost trying to simulate Donald conscious. Overall I thought the entire animation was well thought out and put together, thanks for sharing it.

  2. lookleftthenwrite April 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    This is great Joe. Love the ‘Ducks’ and the film noir references! I’m financially embarrassed too 😉 Disney’s shorts are classic and definitely stand the test of time.

  3. thataintallfolks April 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    It’s funy how Donald has received this portrayal as the slapstick/penny-pinching character of the primary Disney quintet (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, & Pluto). It seems somewhat believable that Donald would be the one to try and do whatever it takes to win love from his sweetheart. Disney does incorporate though a sense of morality in that stealing is wrong and one’s conscience will indeed catch up with you when committing crimes. I honestly kept waiting for Jiminy Cricket to pop up with a reminder to stay true to your conscience!

  4. tkambach May 1, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Donald Duck has always been my favorite of the primary Disney characters. I do like how it was shown that he’s more than a buffoon (I think that was the term used during the propaganda class) in this short. He does tend to receive abuse in his cartoons, but at least in this one he listened to his conscience and kept his temper in check.

  5. stayvictorious May 8, 2012 at 4:55 am #

    This short definitely left me with a laugh. I love that I wasn’t the only one to catch onto the noire references. I think it definitely added a layer to the comedy at play. Especially since i now know what they were going for. As a kid i probably saw this short and missed that.


  1. Blog Comments « History of Animation Blog - April 29, 2012

    […] 1: Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  2. More Comments « tkambach - May 1, 2012

    […] Comment 10 […]

  3. Blog Post #12.5-Blog Post Responses Week 10-12 « thataintallfolks - May 7, 2012

    […] […]

  4. Make-up Comments: « stayvictorious - May 11, 2012

    […] Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: