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Generally I do like the Mickey Mouse cartoons with the barnyard setting. The stories aren't groundbreaking and there have been times where they have been derivative of other cartoons. But these aside, these cartoons are generally well animated, have great music and are fun. That is exactly the case with The Barnyard Concert. It will draw inevitable comparisons between the later cartoons The Band Concert and Symphony Hour, which also has Mickey taking on the roles of a conductor. Comparing, The Barnyard Concert is not as good as those two, and I wasn't expecting it to be, but it is a good set up to those two. The story is rather thin on the ground and is routine in places. However the animation, apart from some objects disappearing and then re-appearing, is clean and smooth with backgrounds as far away from sparse as you can get and well-drawn characters. The music has always been a high point in the Disney shorts, and its beautiful and energetic themes The Barnyard Concert is no exception. The gags are funny especially when Mickey yanks on the piglets' tails to make the music and when the outhouse jumps to let Mickey and the runaway piglet pass under it. It was interesting also to see the difference in how the instruments were played between now and then. Mickey is a revelation here, his look of disgust and horror at the interruptions caused by the pig with the trumpet, and the angry conducting and happy dancing make him so much fun to watch. The other characters are cute without feeling too saccharine. Overall, a good short with lots of fun and charm. 8/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an early Disney cartoon featuring Mickey Mouse. There will be
It is said that even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. With regard to the development of both Mickey Mouse specifically and Disney cartoons generally, the early Mickey Mouse shorts show the evolution of Disney animation. The early shorts, while certainly fun to watch to a greater or lesser degree, are the baby steps which had to happen for shorts like The Band Concert to be as good as they are. Disney animators learned their craft in the early days.
I selected this short because it's all but impossible to avoid comparing it to The Band Concert. This short suffers in comparison, somewhat unfairly, because five years is a long time and you progress rapidly if you study what you do long enough.
The gags here are typical of the types of gags being used in the late 1920s-early 1930s. The gags are cute enough, but they aren't as sharp and the timing isn't always as good as it could be. The best gag is the concluding one, where The Law of Unintended Consequences bites Mickey. There's an outhouse gag and Mickey gets music from animals, both staples of animation in this period. These shorts were a training ground and the payoff is the quality of the average short just four or five years later. The same holds for the Silly Symphonies series, where more experimentation was done. A hairpiece being sucked in by a tuba is nice training for an animator on the road to even better work.
This short is available on the Mickey Mouse In Black and White, Volume Two Disney Treasures DVD set and is well worth tracking down.
I've got to be honest about cartoons--I really hate singing cartoon
shorts from the 1930s. Sure, there are some that I love (such as some
of the beautiful Silly Symphonies from Disney), but in general I find
the music and saccharine characters hard to take. As a kid back in the
60s and 70s, I saw a lot of this sort of stuff on Saturday
mornings--and I remember hating it even then! This was usually when my
brother and I would go get a snack or take a bathroom break!! However,
despite "The Barnyard Concert" being a musical, it was quite enjoyable!
I was surprised but found it differed from the cutesy musicals quite a
bit. First, the timing was exceptional--the characters moved in perfect
unison with the music. Second, the cartoon was fun--as the barnyard
animals did lots of cute cartoony things as they played their song.
Third, the characters were not saccharine-like. Sure, a few were kind
of cute, but no wide-eyes bunnies or other cute nonsense in this
one--just a lot of fun. So, if you are an old grouch like me, don't
immediately discount "The Barnyard Concert" because it's a
musical--it's really quite good.
Mickey Mouse plays a conductor in this short, leading a band of barnyard animals (hence the title of the short)who are playing the "Poet and Peasant Overture." This short was okay, but I wouldn't call it one of my favorites. There were some funny scenes like were a pig is playing a trumpet and his hair falls out onto his face, giving him a beard & moustache. One was copied from "Steamboat Willie" where Mickey pulls nursing piglets in tune to the music.
A Walt Disney MICKEY MOUSE Cartoon.
Mickey attempts to lead THE BARNYARD CONCERT of the ever popular 'Poet & Peasant Overture.'
The musical soundtrack drives nearly all the action in this virtually plotless little black & white film. Clarabelle Cow & Horace Horsecollar get to showoff their instrumental virtuosity: she plays the flute while he attacks a drum. Mickey rather cruelly extracts music from almost anything, including a litter of nursing piglets.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by drawings. As a lad in Marceline, Missouri, he sketched farm animals on scraps of paper; later, as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, he drew figures on the sides of his vehicle. Back in Kansas City, along with artist Ub Iwerks, Walt developed a primitive animation studio that provided animated commercials and tiny cartoons for the local movie theaters. Always the innovator, his ALICE IN CARTOONLAND series broke ground in placing a live figure in a cartoon universe. Business reversals sent Disney & Iwerks to Hollywood in 1923, where Walt's older brother Roy became his lifelong business manager & counselor. When a mildly successful series with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was snatched away by the distributor, the character of Mickey Mouse sprung into Walt's imagination, ensuring Disney's immortality. The happy arrival of sound technology made Mickey's screen debut, STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), a tremendous audience success with its use of synchronized music. The SILLY SYMPHONIES soon appeared, and Walt's growing crew of marvelously talented animators were quickly conquering new territory with full color, illusions of depth and radical advancements in personality development, an arena in which Walt's genius was unbeatable. Mickey's feisty, naughty behavior had captured millions of fans, but he was soon to be joined by other animated companions: temperamental Donald Duck, intellectually-challenged Goofy and energetic Pluto. All this was in preparation for Walt's grandest dream - feature length animated films. Against a blizzard of doomsayers, Walt persevered and over the next decades delighted children of all ages with the adventures of Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi & Peter Pan. Walt never forgot that his fortunes were all started by a mouse, or that simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.
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