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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've always loved The Gorilla Mystery. While I do like/love a lot of the Mickey Mouse shorts of this time, The Gorilla Mystery stands out to me in many ways. For one thing, it does focus less on the song and dance numbers, in fact the music is very sparsely used here, and does have a cohesive story. And an exciting and suspenseful one at that. When you read the summary and it says Minnie gets kidnapped you do think the short is going to be routine, I thought so too initially. I actually didn't find that, like with The Klondike Kid I thought something fresh was done with this scenario, not only is it Beppo the Gorilla instead of Pete, but with this you-think-deserted house and then you see signs of life you do wonder what Beppo is going to do with Minnie. The animation is very good indeed, crisply drawn and the backgrounds are interesting. The standout piece of animation for me was when Mickey enters the house, the use of light and dark, lighting and shadows really add to the suspenseful atmosphere and Mickey's perspective. There are some very effective scenes, Mickey and Minnie's phone conversation is very amusing and somewhat cute, while Mickey entering the house has standout animation, the sequence with the newspaper which when watching may give you a surprised shock as it did me and the big finale has a done-before but very clever gag where Mickey peers into a room in the foreground while the gorilla crosses the hall in the background, then vice versa. All in all, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox
A Walt Disney MICKEY MOUSE Cartoon.
It's Mickey to the rescue when an escaped ape causes mayhem in poor Minnie's house.
THE GORILLA MYSTERY is a very fine little black & white film, with plenty of chills and suspense. The frightful simian gives new emphasis to the intransitive verb 'slavering.' Notice the particular care the animators took with Minnie's piano playing - every finger in exactly the right spot on the keyboard to produce the notes heard on the soundtrack; it was tiny (but perfect) details like this which put the folks at Disney at the top of their professional tree. Walt Disney supplies Mickey with his trademark squeaky voice.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by pictures & 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 comic 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 childlike simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.
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