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Mickey's Mechanical Man (1933)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 160 users  
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Mickey has built a robot to compete in the boxing ring against the giant gorilla, the Kongo Killer. Whenever it hears Minnie's car horn, it goes crazy and starts punching any picture of ... See full summary »

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Title: Mickey's Mechanical Man (1933)

Mickey's Mechanical Man (1933) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Mickey Mouse (voice)
Marcellite Garner ...
Minnie Mouse (voice)
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Storyline

Mickey has built a robot to compete in the boxing ring against the giant gorilla, the Kongo Killer. Whenever it hears Minnie's car horn, it goes crazy and starts punching any picture of Killer that it sees, even if it's on a brick wall, thus hurting itself. Mickey manages to barely patch his robot together to take on Killer, but after some early success, it gets pummeled by the ape. Minnie fetches the car horn, which brings it back, and it trounces Killer, then flies apart. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

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Plot Keywords:

car | car horn | robot | boxing ring | ape | See more »


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Release Date:

17 June 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den mekaniske boxaren  »

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1.37 : 1
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References King Kong (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Or, the Tin Man meets Mighty Joe Young
1 March 2009 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

This is one of the strangest Disney cartoons I've encountered, so strange it feels more like a product of the Fleischer studio. In the opening moments it's established that there's going to be a boxing match between a robot (identified as Mickey's Mechanical Man) and a gorilla (called The Kongo Killer), and that's it for exposition. Next thing you know, Mickey is banging away at a piano at his training headquarters, urging the robot to punch his sparring partner—a sparring partner which happens to be a safe dangling from the ceiling, bearing a picture of the gorilla. There's no explanation for any of this, no back story, we're just expected to roll with it. Roll with it we do, and everything unfolds as it would in a crazy dream.

When Minnie pulls up outside in her cute little car and tootles the horn, the Mechanical Man suddenly and inexplicably goes berserk. He bashes the dangling safe to pieces, briefly runs amok, and then collapses in a heap. Mickey nervously explains to Minnie that the sound of her horn drives the robot mad, but she laughs this off—despite what she's just witnessed—and honks again. The Mechanical Man revives and resumes running amok, this time throwing a crowd of pedestrians into a panic. Once more, the robot's crazed fit ends only when he collapses in a heap on the sidewalk, provoking contemptuous laughter from the crowd.

By this point, the robot is a figure of sympathy. By technological standards he strikes us as kind of neurotic and unpredictable, and probably no match for the Kongo Killer. Suspense builds as the boxing match begins, and the contenders are introduced to the crowd. Sure enough, like all gorillas in cartoons, the Kongo Killer turns out to be a fearsome, slavering beast. (I was an adult before I learned that in reality gorillas in the wild are peaceful and even shy unless provoked, but in old-time Hollywood all the apes were monsters.) When Mickey's Mechanical Man is introduced he attempts to wave to the crowd but his arm falls off, prompting more laughter. The fight begins, and our hero the robot seizes an early advantage with some rhythmic punches, but the gorilla soon rises to the occasion and pummels his opponent into scrap metal. As the Mechanical Man lies semi-conscious on the mat, he envisions little mechanical birds encircling his head. Just as things look bleak, Minnie belatedly remembers that auto horn of hers and toddles out to the parking lot to retrieve it . . .

I've seen a lot of Disney cartoons, but nothing else quite like this one. It all flows along smoothly enough while you're watching, but after it's over—and it ends with a genuinely weird wrap-up gag—you find yourself wondering what on earth you've just seen. That's the way I usually feel after experiencing some of the more surreal Betty Boop episodes. Everything about this short is Fleischer-like, from the dissolute-looking announcer who introduces the boxers to the stylized appearance of the crowd in the arena. We never find out how Mickey acquired this robot, why the car horn drives it mad, or why the poor thing is supposed to fight a gorilla in the first place. Well, I guess if they'd tried to explain any of this the short would have forfeited its quirky charm. As it stands, MICKEY'S MECHANICAL MAN is perhaps the looniest product of its studio and a worthy rival to the concurrent output of the Fleischer gang.


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