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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an early Mickey Mouse short produced by the Disney studio.
There will be spoilers ahead:
Mickey isn't a very capable farmer. The short begins with Mickey and Pluto planting seeds. The trouble is, there are two crows following behind them, duplicating their efforts in reverse, in order to eat the seeds. Clearly, they have little interest in waiting for crops to grow.
Pluto catches on and begins barking at the crows, causing them to flee to the safety of the scarecrow, which obviously isn't terribly effective. Catching the sound of Minnie singing as she milks a cow, Mickey hatches a plot with Pluto to scare the daylights out of Minnie. Minnie ultimately catches on and Mickey and Pluto get what they deserve.
The rest of the short is taken up by chickens laying eggs, one of which lays an enormous egg and with Mickey trying to get a picture of it. Quite a fuss is made and Mickey rushes to get his camera and tripod. Mickey's problems with camera and tripod take up much of the remaining half of the short.
The ending of the short brings a different meaning to the term "photobomb" and is very funny.
This short is available on the Disney Treasures Mickey Mouse In Black and White, Volume Two DVD set and it and the set are well worth getting.
I have always had a soft spot for Disney and Mickey Mouse. Musical Farmer is interesting, but doesn't see them at their very best. The story, in three parts essentially, for me seemed disjointed, not because one or more of the parts is badly done, far from it, but because the three parts are completely different to one another. One is like a throwback to the earlier Mickey Mouse shorts, one serves a purpose for the musical number and the finale is like Mickey meets Alice in Wonderland or something. By all means an entertaining structure but I would have preferred for it to be more consistent in tone. The animation quality is mostly very good with vibrant and smooth background art and rounded character designs, Fanny's facial expressions are what stands out as especially outstanding though, but there is also the animation of the crows which looks as though it is reused all the time. This said, the music is just wonderful, like many other Disney cartoons it is a big part of Musical Farmer and is full of energetic rhythm and character, which is what makes the musical number aspect of the cartoon so fun to watch. The gags are very funny, the best being Mickey and Pluto in the scarecrow outfit, though Mickey as the Scotsman, everything stopping due to the surprise of the giant egg and the wonderfully wacky ending. The characters are great as well, Mickey gets a good chance to show his mischievous side and it really works well within the action, Minnie is likable also and Pluto is as cute as he ever was. So in a nutshell, this is a very good cartoon, the three parts forming the story could have been more even and I could've done without the recycled animation of the crows, but the music, gags and characters make it worthwhile. 8/10 Bethany Cox
A Walt Disney MICKEY MOUSE Cartoon.
Mickey the MUSICAL FARMER is supposed to be busy with his chores, but he'll stop anytime to make music with Miss Minnie.
Music mavens will recognize 'Comin' Through The Rye' and ' Turkey In The Straw' among the tunes played by a variety of domesticated animals in this little black & white film. The action on screen is driven almost entirely by the soundtrack.
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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