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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Cinematic Birth Of Donald Duck

Author: Ron Oliver ( from Forest Ranch, CA
22 October 2000

A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon Short.

Worried about having enough food to feed her family come Wintertime, THE WISE LITTLE HEN decides to plant a field of corn. Her idle friends, Peter Pig & Donald Duck, decline to help with the planting or the harvesting - leaving the little chicken to plan her sweet revenge...

This is a very fine adaptation of the childhood story, with a strong, self-reliant title character (voiced by Florence Gill). But the reason this is a landmark cartoon is because it was the debut of the irascible, anti-social, temperamental, infuriating & utterly lovable Duck, a character so strong he would soon eclipse Mickey Mouse himself. With voice courtesy of the inimitable Clarence Nash, Donald would become one of the world's most popular personalities & a source of never-ending fascination for those who study anti-social behavior and its consequences.

Fate would not be so kind to Peter Pig. Although his debut was just as conspicuous as the Duck's, he lacked that certain intangible quality which would set him apart from the common swine. Hollywood can be a cruel place & Peter's attempts to build a movie career - he worked for a while as Porky Pig's stunt double - proved a failure. When last heard of, Peter Pig was living in a small apartment over a garage in Pomona, California.

The SILLY SYMPHONIES, which Walt Disney produced for a ten year period beginning in 1929, are among the most fascinating of all animated series. 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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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The wise little hen.

Author: Andreas Moss from Tromso, Norway
19 May 2005

The last three days I've probably watched this thing 13 times. Not because I liked it, but because its highly addictive. Its one of those things that is so stupid, but at the same time so catchy you just can't not stop playing it.

What I kind of like about it is how every sound and every movement in this Disney short seems to be going alone in a tune, with verses and all. And the singing along with it... Argh. Its annoying, but its, well, catchy. Everything. Especially the little hen. God, its like a caressing nightmare.

This is Donalds first appearance ever yeah. He's basically a little tw*t, but yeah, compared to Peter Pig he's a bit funny.. and you can probably see why he got a second chance, and finally grew to be one of Disney's biggest characters. What is a bit interesting though is that he lives on a boat, so his costume for once makes a bit sense.

The little hen and her little slave chickens steals the show though. God I hope she never turns up ever again! Her presence in this 8 minute short is more than enough for a whole eternity. The horror!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Wise viewing.

Author: Squonk from Denver, CO
25 January 1999

While watching The Wise Little Hen, I had to keep reminding myself that this short was made in 1934. The animation has held up well over the years and is as good as anything you'll see. The colors paint a bright picture and the attention to detail is amazing. This film is also an important milestone as it marks the first appearance of Donald Duck, it remains one of his best films.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Donald Duck's first theatrical appearance as well as for Clarence "Ducky" Nash

Author: Julia Arsenault (ja_kitty_71) from Canada
9 March 2009

I had never knew that this Silly Symphony was Donald Duck's first theatrical appearance as well as for his voice-artist Clarence "Ducky" Nash too; and besides, I love Donald Duck, along with Mickey Mouse, his canine pal Pluto (which is unusual, because I am a cat-lover) and Chip n' Dale. This Silly Symphony is adapted from "The Little Red Hen" fable, and I know that story well; I love it whenever the Wise Little Hen says:

"Will you help me plant my corn? Will you help me plant my corn?" And Donald and Peter Pig would say in this cartoon:

"Who? me?! oh no! I've got a belly ache!" (that was great timing).

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Wise Little Hen is notable as the debut of Donald Duck

Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, La.
31 December 2008

Just watched on YouTube this Disney Silly Symphony that's important for one reason and one reason only: It's the debut of Donald Duck and that of his creator, Clarance Nash. In this one, it's the musical version of the moral fable "The Wise Little Hen" with Florence Gil voicing the one who asks Donald and his friend Peter Pig (Pinto Colvig) for help in first planting the corn and then harvesting them. The both fake bellyaches and when it comes time to eat the results...well, watch the short. Both entertaining and educational, The Wise Little Hen is highly recommend for fans of Disney and animation and especially that lovable short tempered duck! And it's all because of Mr. Nash that we owe a heap of thanks so thank you, Clarance, wherever you are!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Reminds me favorably of the old story, "The Little Red Hen".

Author: Robert Reynolds ( from Tucson AZ
7 April 2002

This is an excellent example of early Disney and the first appearance of Donald Duck. There was also a Peter Pig, who did not fare as well as Donald in his movie career. Donald is, if anything, more obnoxious and disagreeable here than he was later. The animation here is splendid and the short is well worth seeking out. Attempts to locate Peter Pig have been unsuccessful, although there are rumors that he lives in semi-retirement in Encino, having wisely bought stock in Disney and, later, in IBM. Recommended.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Donald's debut

Author: Coolguy-7 from USA
6 March 2000

This is it. The first appearance of Donald Duck. In the short, Donald looks a little different than he does today. He was smaller and had a rounded bill instead of a flat one. Two things, however, have remained constant about Donald Duck: his sailor suit and his short temper.

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Just Ducky !

Author: John T. Ryan ( from United States
24 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

PLEASANT AND CLEVERLY set to music, THE WISE LITTLE HEN was just one of a series of Walt Disney's SILLY SYMPHONIES; that being an anthology series of Technicolour animated shorts. Being that there were so many titles, this one may well have remained in the shadow of obscurity had it not been for its accidentally discovering a future Disney star and mainstay for years to come.

WHILE OTHER ENTRIES in the series were declared to be outstanding works of art, such being the likes of THREE LITTLE PIGS, FLOWERS AND TREES and THE OLD MILL, little was said about this short. It was the unheralded appearance of Donald Duck that made it so Historical.

APPEARING AS ONE of the three main characters, DD is decked out in his familiar blue & white sailor's suit; but somehow he looks a trifle thin and worn out. Also his beak seems just a little thin and long.(Or is it his bill?) Perhaps his underweight condition is amplified by the co-star and partner in crime, one Peter Pig.

ANY WAY, TIME, the introduction of proper duck nutrition and plastic surgery for a shorter beak/bill were all that was needed. Shortly there after, the DONALD DUCK Series was launched and Uncle Walt had him joined with Mickey Mouse and Goofy in a sort of animated comedy team.

IT IS HIGHLY likely that you may not enjoy THE WISE LITTLE HEN, it not being your cup of tea; its certainly not being typical Donald Duck fare. Do make sure to see it, pretty please!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

You know after this gem, you gotta love Donald Duck!

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
21 September 2009

This is a gem. The animation is beautiful, with lovely colourful backgrounds and the character animation is very good. The music was brilliant, very playful and jolly, and the theme tune somewhat reminds me of that for Peculiar Penguins. The characters are engaging, with the exception of Peter Pig, whose presence seemed unnecessary at times. The hen of the title is fun, the chicks are ADORABLE(I know I keep using this word, but most of the silly symphonies are), but what makes this short for me is the presence of Donald Duck, voiced by the one and only Ducky Nash. Everything else was fine, but my favourite duck's presence elevates this gem to a greater level.

Two words for this- wonderful gem! 9.5/10 Bethany Cox

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

View on "The Wise Little Hen"

Author: kelsey-willingham from United States
19 November 2008

"The Wise Little Hen," this cartoon from 1938 is a very good carton for being so early in our time. It is a very short film, but for being so short it is really catchy in many ways. From it bringing back your childhood days to the music that is played is really addicting you can not stop watching it. The story is actually a really good story and also can be put in to now day's perspective very easily. This short film is not the best that I have ever seen but if you look at it; it is one of the best cartoons I feel I have ever watched.

The first thing to bring up is the sound that is in this short film, and how it goes along with the short film very well. The music is very catchy and after you hear it you can not get it out of your head. The music is very up beat and goes along with what is going on in the film. When the little hen is walking with her babies and looking for someone to help the words are very uplifting and happy. But when the hen asks the pig and the duck for some help and she realizes that they are not going to help the voice of the singer goes into a deeper more depressing tone. After that though when the hen keeps walking the music goes straight to back to being happy. When she is done asking them if they can help her and them telling her no her and her babies go to the field and start planning. This part of the story the beat gets really catchy when the baby hens go up and down and move they move along with the beat. This is an important part of the film and is the reason I think that you can not stop watching it. It is just like a song most people like songs that have a good beat and the words go along real well with the beat. It is the same way with a movie, but instead of the words being with the beat it is what you're seeing that is in beat with the music. The last part about the music is when the pig and duck find out that the hen did not really give them any corn to eat the beat is kind of funny and goes along with the disappointment that they are feeling.

The plot to this short film is another big reason that you can really comprehend this story, and put it into things that have happened to you. Every one that I know has gone through what the hen goes through at least once in their life. You always think that you have friends and they will be there for you, but the truth is they are always just looking out for there selves. This is the same thing that the hen goes through; every time she asked the pig and duck to help her they did not want to because they thought it would not help them out at all. Then when the hen comes and asks them if they could help her eat her corn instead of planting it they were more than welcome to. Before though when they saw that the hen was starting to walk towards them they starting acting sick again because they thought that she was going to ask them to help her do something. But when they find out that she is going to feed them they starting acting all nice to her. What the hen does next is what most people should do when they face this situation, she puts a prank on the pig and duck. When they open up the bowl that the hen had gave them, which they thought was going to be corn, they find out that it is only stomach medicine. I think just about every person can put this into perspective about a time in their life. That is why I think this is such a good short film and also a very addictive one. Most might say it is just because of the music but I promise if they really sit down and think about it that they will understand that this is a big reason too.

Overall though this a great short film and it is also a little bit funny, especially when the hen says the simple word "corn" in her very hen-like voice. Behind all of that though the main reasons I liked this film and thought that is was addicting was mostly because of the music and the story line. The music being very up beat and catchy, and then the story line really fitting into what I have gone through in life. If you have never watched this short film I suggest you do so but be careful it is kind of addicting, and you might want to watch it a couple more times. Last, though this film will make you laugh a little bit and it will also bring back the younger side of your life.

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