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I have always enjoyed Disney Silly Symphonies, and I did enjoy Midnight in a Toy Shop, though it is nowhere near the best I've seen. It is virtually plot less and the gag with the "Mama" dolls sadly doesn't work, it was jarring and could be seen as racist. The animation is fluid in alternative to jerky and the black and white does look beautiful, and while sparse at first the music is great. What drives Midnight in a Toy Shop though was the spider main character, a pleasant departure from the villainous characterisations of spiders in Summer and Hell's Bells and a very likable character and does very well driving the cartoon rather than the music. There are also two great moments, the Spider playing the piano with his body, unique and delightful that was, and at the end with the fireworks, a nice piece of continuity. All in all, nice but I've seen better. 7/10 Bethany Cox
A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon.
Driven by a storm, a large six-legged spider finds itself at MIDNITE IN A TOYSHOP. The nasty creature gets to witness what happens when the toys come to life and begin to frolic about.
With almost an invisible plot, this black & white cartoon was an exercise in form & movement, action & reaction.
The SILLY SYMPHONIES, which Walt Disney produced for a ten year period beginning in 1929, are among the most interesting of series in the field of animation. Unlike the Mickey Mouse cartoons in which action was paramount, with the Symphonies the action was made to fit the music. There was little plot in the early Symphonies, which featured lively inanimate objects and anthropomorphic plants & animals, all moving frantically to the soundtrack. Gradually, however, the Symphonies became the school where Walt's animators learned to work with color and began to experiment with plot, characterization & photographic special effects. The pages of Fable & Fairy Tale, Myth & Mother Goose were all mined to provide story lines and even Hollywood's musicals & celebrities were effectively spoofed. It was from this rich soil that Disney's feature-length animation was to spring. In 1939, with SNOW WHITE successfully behind him and PINOCCHIO & FANTASIA on the near horizon, Walt phased out the SILLY SYMPHONIES; they had run their course & served their purpose.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a short in the Silly Symphonies series released by Disney.
There will be spoilers ahead:
This short is basically a spider wandering into a toy store at midnight, bumping into some toys and playing with a toy piano and a record player, which provides the excuse for musical numbers.
The ending of the short is telegraphed in a scene fairly early in what is an otherwise plot free short. It's just a series of gags strung together by music. It feels like a short done because the contract with theaters specified a certain number of shorts and they were pressed for time, so they threw this together.
There's one gag with a dancing doll in blackface which repeatedly says "Mammy!" which likely would offend a number of people. But apart from that, there isn't much in this short which is even remotely memorable. For completists.
This short is available on the Disney Treasures More Silly Symphonies DVD set. The set is worth getting.
Before you can get to see "Cannibal Capers" and a few other 'special'
cartoons on the "Walt Disney Treasures: More Silly Symphonies" DVD set,
you are forced to watch an introduction by Leonard Maltin. He talks
about the times in which they were made and how politically incorrect
the films are. I am not against this, but hate how once you view it,
you must ALWAYS view Maltin's speech again if you come back to any of
the offensive cartoons. The same thing happens in some of the other
Treasures DVDS--such as the second Donald Duck set.
This short has the innocuous title "Midnight in a Toy Shop" and so I was anxious to know what was politically incorrect about it. It begins with a HUGE spider sneaking into the toy shop--and I assume it's because it's snowing. Once inside, the spider bumbles into various toys, plays a piano and dances. And I continue waiting to see what's so offensive. Then, out of the blue, a black doll starts dancing and saying 'Mammy'. Well, it looks like I found the problematic scene after all! Unlike most Silly Symphony shorts, this one is practically plot less. While this is not unheard of, it keeps it from being a very good cartoon--as does the Mammy doll. It's not a terrible cartoon, but it has issues!
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