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19 September 1927 (USA)  »

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Worth the wait
12 March 2008 | by (2 hours north of Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

I have been a fan of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit since I was a child. The majority of the cartoons were not available on VHS or DVD until recently. This is one of the few that had been floating around the internet prior before Disney obtained the rights to distribute these old cartoons again. That version did not have the new musical score that accompanies the DVD version.

The animation is slightly crude pen and ink. This was made in 1927, and it shows. However, I find the style very good for Oswald because it forces the story board to be stronger.

Oh Teacher! (1931 re-release of the 1927 film) was one of the earlier Oswald Cartoons. However, the original was lost. So the re-release by Walter Lantz is the only copy available. As a consequence some scenes have been moved around, and other scenes are deleted altogether. It features the "oldest version of Oswald" and he was more Rabbit features. Some of these features got in the way a bit and for this reason I scored the short 9/10. For example, his whiskers were awkward in the opening scene when he is plucking the petals of the flower off the "She loves me, She loves me not" flower.

The lack of budget shows through a bit. Oswald's style of clothes changes, and the first scene he has whiskers which disappear altogether.

The style is similar to early Mickey Mouse Cartoons that soon followed (such as Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie). The work of Hugh Harman, Ham Hamilton and others. The chief animator Harman, actually split scenes with Ham. Keep an eye out of the second half of the brick scene between the evil cat and Oswald to see the two styles at work. It was a wonderful partnership which worked well in this film.

This is what makes the short so enjoyable. The story line is thin, but the sight gags are very clever. Watching Oswald stretch out like a Marvel cartoon character. Somehow this style does not appear as unrealistic as one would expect. Other portions, such as when Oswald's head falls off, did give the feeling of unrealism, and it is one of the styles that Disney soon dropped from his cartoons soon after. In this cartoon the humor makes one think "how funny".

The new music by Robert Israel's new score added much to this animated short. However, the changes in scene transition and deletion of scenes from the original were emphasized by the score.

Note: There is one scene in which an evil character is knocked off the school bus and he gets hit with the exhaust, causing black-face. This is missing from this copy. According to the audio commentator, this was removed from the DVD copy. Now, the cat has a mild gray face.


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