MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 465 this week

The Ugly Duckling (1931)

7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 501 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

A black duckling is rejected by its mother, a hen, but manages to prove his worth when a tornado threatens the hen's chicks.

Director:

(uncredited)
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1428 titles
created 15 Nov 2011
 
a list of 121 titles
created 28 Aug 2012
 
a list of 75 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 75 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 1943 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Ugly Duckling (1931)

The Ugly Duckling (1931) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Ugly Duckling.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Max Hare and Toby Tortoise are having a foot race. Max has much more style, and is generally cocky. He pauses for a short nap, to chat up the bunnies outside a girl's school (and show off ... See full summary »

Director: Wilfred Jackson
Stars: Eddie Holden, Ned Norton
Animation | Family | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Santa's little helpers must hurry to finish the toys before Christmas Day.

Director: Wilfred Jackson
Stars: Pinto Colvig, Allan Watson
Animation | Short | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy live in a land where everything is dried up and dead. The only food they have is one loaf of bread, even Donald's plans of killing their cow fail. So Mickey ... See full summary »

Directors: Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts
Stars: Walt Disney, Clarence Nash, Pinto Colvig
Family | Animation | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When a giant threatens the land, the city folk mistake Mickey's boast of killing seven flies with one blow to be giants. He is then forced to fight the giant for real.

Director: Bill Roberts
Stars: Walt Disney, Marcellite Garner, Eddie Holden
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Three orphan kittens are entering a society house in winter and ruin the furniture. But when they're caught by the maid, the young daughter of the house "rescues" them from the cold out ... See full summary »

Director: David Hand
Stars: Lillian Randolph
Comedy | Family | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Mickey is looking after the orphans. He tells them the story of Gulliver (with Mickey in that role) in Lilliput, though without the satire and bawdy bits. The story ends with Mickey fighting a giant spider, about twice his size.

Director: Burt Gillett
Stars: Walt Disney
Family | Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two Dutch children stumble on a clearing in the woods where gnomes are going about their business. The gnomes are friendly to the children. A witch comes and takes them away on her broom to... See full summary »

Director: Burt Gillett
Just Dogs (1932)
Family | Comedy | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Pluto's cage-mate helps him escape from the pound and find a bone to eat. But Pluto is not especially grateful.

Director: Burt Gillett
Stars: Pinto Colvig
Family | Animation | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The emperor's musicians play their instruments (and a stray cat) while the ladies of the court dance. Meanwhile, the children fish and play. But soon, the children anger the emperor, who ... See full summary »

Director: Wilfred Jackson
Bugs in Love (1932)
Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Insects have made a playground/carnival out of castoffs, featuring "ice skating" on mirrors. Two love bugs head off to a more private area. But their fun is interrupted when a crow comes by... See full summary »

Director: Burt Gillett
King Neptune (1932)
Family | Adventure | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

King Neptune and an array of sea creatures come to the rescue of a mermaid captured by lecherous pirates.

Director: Burt Gillett
Stars: Marcellite Garner, Allan Watson
Family | Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A group of beavers goes about their dam-building, musically. The rain comes, and washes the dam away.

Director: Burt Gillett
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Florence Gill ...
Mother Hen (voice)
Edit

Storyline

A black duckling is rejected by its mother, a hen, but manages to prove his worth when a tornado threatens the hen's chicks.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hen | tornado | duckling | chick | duck | See All (45) »


Certificate:

Approved
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 December 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le vilain petit canard  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The only Silly Symphony cartoon to be remade. (see Ugly Duckling (1939)) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A primitive cartoon with a progressive message
5 August 2004 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

During the ten-year period that the Disney animators produced their delightful Silly Symphony series there was only one story they chose to dramatize twice, Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling." The studio released two quite different versions of the story in 1931 and 1939, at the beginning of the series' history and at the end. The later adaptation displays all the sophisticated techniques the crew had developed during that eventful era: it's in glorious Technicolor, the draftsmanship and character animation are superb, and the storytelling is clear, concise, and funny. And yet there's something to be said for the comparatively primitive black & white version of 1931. For one thing, and whatever the animators' intentions may have been, it appears to be a deliberate condemnation of racial prejudice in parable form.

That might sound like a stretch, but the evidence is there, first in the design of the characters and second in their behavior. We first see a mother hen sitting on her eggs, and when they begin to hatch several identical chubby chicks appear; because the film lacks color, the chicks are solid white. Then the duckling hatches, and we are startled to see that he resembles a caricature of a 19th century minstrel performer: his body is grayish but his head is solid black, except for his eyes and his large white bill. While his sibling chicks emit high-pitched peeps, his voice is an earthier-sounding honk, rather like a jazz trumpeter. Instantly the mother hen is horrified at the sight of him, and ushers her chicks away. The duckling is dismayed at this rejection, and from then on strives to prove himself worthy of acceptance.

In the studio's later adaptation this element of prejudice can be found as well-- it's inherent in Andersen's story --but somehow it's less pronounced there, perhaps because by the late '30s the animators' facility with character design had become so much more sophisticated. In the later rendition the duckling is different from his siblings (i.e. darker) and is rejected, but we still perceive him as a cute Disney character in his own right, while in the earlier version he's presented as grotesque. And there's a more significant contrast: in the 1931 version the duckling succeeds in earning the respect of his mother and siblings through an act of resourceful heroism, whereas in the later version he comes to find that he's happier with ducklings of his own kind.

Hmm . . . Sounds like the official Disney line on integration turned reactionary with the passage of time.

In any case, Disney buffs will find other elements of interest in this cartoon. The tornado sequence looks like a rehearsal of sorts for the big storm in the studio's later masterpiece, The Band Concert. And at one point during the storm there's a gag involving a woolly dog whose fur is blown off by the wind, causing him to resemble a character who hadn't been introduced yet, Pluto. But the most intriguing aspect of the 1931 Ugly Duckling, as far as I'm concerned, is the unmistakable message that no one should be judged by appearance, nor should the "other" be blindly rejected without a hearing. Sadly, it would be a long time before the Hollywood studios would find the courage to offer comparable messages in their mainstream features.


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Ugly Duckling (1931) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?