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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Uninspired

5/10
Author: MissSimonetta from United States
26 December 2013

Not a terrible short by any means and certainly as another reviewer put it "no classic", but I wouldn't call this an awful "relic". It's just uninspired. The animation, the concept, and the gags are all weak. In fact, many of the visuals and jokes are reused from earlier Silly Symphonies without any upping of the ante or reworking.

It was not uncommon for Disney to reuse material from past work, as many of the Mickey Mouse shorts were essentially remakes of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons from the silent era (Building a Building (1933) is a remake of Sky Scrappers (1928), Ye Olden Days (1933) a reworking of the concept of Oh What a Knight (1928)), but at least they added new material to shake things up and improve upon past work most of the time. Mother Goose Melodies (1931) is just plain dull, even for those not familiar with silent Disney or other Silly Symphonies.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

the more musical...and slightly strange...versions of nursery rhymes

9/10
Author: spunky-22 from UCSB
12 April 2002

Did you know that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall because a goose hit him with Jack's and Jill's pail? This is one of the many interesting takes this Silly Symphony has on the nursery rhymes many of us have heard countless times. As in most Silly Symphonies, many of the jokes are dated, and it is all too obvious that this work comes from a time when simply cartoons put to music itself was cool and funny. However, there is still plenty left for modern audiences to enjoy. Additionally, the music is quite fun and takes you immediately to a childlike mind-set. As in many early Disney cartoons, half of the laughs come from noticing the absurdities and oddities. Before Monty Python put King Arthur on an imaginary horse and gave the king a servant with the job of clicking together coconuts, Disney put Old King Cole's trumpeters on children's stick horses and gave the king a servant with the job of holding up the king's enormous stomach. This animated piece is an excellent example of where a great amount of our humor comes from; and it's still pretty dang funny.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Disney's Excursion To Nursery Rhyme Land

10/10
Author: Ron Oliver (revilorest@juno.com) from Forest Ranch, CA
20 September 2000

A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon Short.

Old King Cole has arrived for an outdoor entertainment. The MOTHER GOOSE MELODIES begin when the old dame opens her book of Nursery Rhymes and several characters appear to perform for the King.

An interesting little film, with much action for eye appeal. It is fun to spot & identify the various characters. Clarabelle Cow has a couple of cameo appearances, first bestrewing the King's path with petals; later she plays the part of the Cow That Jumped Over The Moon. Disney would remake this cartoon in color - as OLD KING COLE - three years later.

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.

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Excellent animation, but too disjointed to be as good as it should have been

6/10
Author: Robert Reynolds (minniemato@hotmail.com) from Tucson AZ
30 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This short is part of the Silly Symphonies series produced by Disney. There will be spoilers ahead:

The animation here is very good throughout and the short starts off well, with the entrance of Old King Cole and his retinue. His "fiddlers three" are the Three Blind Mice (this blending of fairy tale characters from different tales continues later in the short) and Clarabelle Cow makes a cameo appearance.

The cartoon becomes a bit disjointed once Mother Goose enters the short and her large book of fairy tales opens. There doesn't appear to be much rhyme or reason to the tales selected or the combinations and the character designs are sometimes odd. Jack and Jill seem to meet Simple Simon, but other than the name, nothing really happens which seems to relate to Simple Simon. The pairing of Little Bo Peep and Little Boy Blue works better There are some nice bits here, but it's a bit more chaotic than it probably should be. It's still worth watching.

This short is available on the Disney Treasures Silly Symphonies DVD set and it and the set are well worth finding.

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Nursery Rhyme time with Disney....

10/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
29 May 2012

Mother Goose Melodies is truly excellent from start to finish. The story is a very simple one, but doesn't feel like there isn't a story and more importantly doesn't feel like an excuse to string nursery rhymes and characters together. Mother Goose Melodies is fast-paced and very funny, with some great gags and scenes(in a nice mix of long and short in length) such as the Little Miss Muffet spider and the whole idea of the entire until the ending never falling out of the book, even when Jack and Jill fall down the hill, and the ending with its increasingly chaotic nature is a lot of fun. The animation is clean and smooth on the whole with the character designs not looking too exaggerated, the music is energetic and dynamic and actually includes singing rather than just dancing to music. The dancing as ever is choreographed niftily, not in a routine manner. I loved the characters also, the cameo of Clarabelle, as well as Mother Goose, Old King Cole, Little Miss Muffet, Jack Horner and Jack and Jill. All in all, a Disney Silly Symphony classic. Two years later, Disney remade this as Old King Cole, except that one is nowhere near as inspired or as good as Mother Goose Melodies, which for me remains one of the better very early Silly Symphonies. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Beware! Scary Moment for Kids!

8/10
Author: Rob Little from Bristol, England
14 January 2003

Just a quick word of warning - I watched this excellent cartoon with my 2 year old daughter and she was terrified by the spider that approaches the screen a couple of times. It gave her nightmares for a couple of days. Despite this, this is one of my favourite Disney B&W shorts right up there with The Skeleton Dance and The Mad Doctor (she hasn't seen this one yet. I think I'll wait until she's a bit older!)

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An animated relic.

4/10
Author: Shawn Watson from The Penumbra
22 September 2012

This kind of thing may well have fascinated children in 1931, but it's relic of a long-gone era in animation when watching it from a modern point of view, only without any nostalgia.

Old King Cole is being entertained outdoor by various nursery rhyme characters who sing and dance. Only the materials for this cartoon are obviously so degraded that you can barely understand anything they are saying now. A prototype characters can be spotted among the basic, low grade, black and white animation.

This is no classic. And will likely be only watched once by even Disney completists.

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