We see the various birds, mice, and bats that have moved into an old windmill, followed by the frogs, crickets, and fireflies making their music in an adjacent pond. Then a storm comes, ... See full summary »
Mickey is selling hot dogs at a carnival next to the tent for Minnie the Shimmy Dancer. He gets into an argument with the barker. Minnie beckons him over to her trailer; he shows off the ... See full summary »
Mickey has been reading Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There", and falls asleep. He finds himself on the other side of the mirror, where the furniture is ... See full summary »
Mickey is piloting a steamboat when Captain Pete comes to the bridge and throws him off. They stop to pick up cargo. Minnie just misses the boat and Mickey uses the crane to grab her. She drops her sheet music of "Turkey in the Straw" and a goat eats it. With help from Mickey, she cranks the goat's tail, and it plays the tune. Mickey accompanies on percussion and by torturing various animals, until Pete comes down and puts a stop to it, putting Mickey to work peeling potatoes. While this is the first sound Mickey Mouse, there's no dialog. Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
'Steamboat Willie (1928)' is often erroneously touted as the first Mickey Mouse film, though that title actually goes to 'Plane Crazy (1928).' The source fuelling this common misconception is probably an episode of "The Simpsons," which places the origin of Itchy the Mouse in a 1928 short called 'Steamboat Itchy,' obviously a parody of this cartoon. Interestingly, 'Steamboat Willie' was itself a parody, spoofing the latest Buster Keaton release, 'Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928),' though the connection stretches little beyond the title and the general story setting. In this Walt Disney short, Mickey Mouse takes charge of a river steamboat, much to the annoyance of Captain Pete the cat, who spitefully casts him aside. But Mickey is not to be outdone in nastiness. Far removed from the pleasant, wholesome Mickey that more recent generations enjoyed, this little mouse cares only for numero uno, inflicting pain and displeasure on a series of farm animals in order to provide music for his own amusement.
First there's the laughing parrot, which cops a bucket and a large potato to the head. Then a goat is cranked by the tail to provide music ("Turkey in the Straw") from a guitar it has swallowed. A cat is swung around by its tail, a goose throttled about the throat, and a piglet viciously booted. For a children's cartoon, 'Steamboat Willie,' directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, certainly has some mean-spirited humour, though I also noticed similar elements (though not quite to this extent) in some later Disney shorts, like 'Gulliver Mickey (1934).' Let's not forget Minnie Mouse, of course, who suffers treatment for which she could today sue for sexual harassment! The jokes may be crude, and the animation perhaps even more so, but this cartoon delivers a bucket-full of laughs, and it's easy to see why this little rodent became one of the most beloved characters in cinema history. If you're a fan of Mickey Mouse, or Disney in general, this is one steamboat you can't afford to miss.
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