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This Disney short is well-executed visually (as you might expect from Disney in the 1930s) but isn't really all that memorable or impressive for all that. I'm frankly somewhat puzzled at its nomination for an Academy Award and more puzzled that it won. Perhaps it was more impressive in 1936 than it is today. It isn't a bad cartoon-there just isn't anything exceptional about it that struck me other than the visuals. It runs from time to time on the Ink and Paint Club.
In this rather dull 9-minute cartoon a hick mouse visits his well-to-do
cousin in the big city where they get up to all the usual mousy
hi-jinks. Although this predates the first Tom and Jerry short by a
number of years the set-up and scenes will seem overly familiar to you.
Based on Aesop's fable "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse", there's nothing particularly memorable about this cartoon. The mice peak out of holes, scurry across tables, help themselves to food, agitating the house cat etc. It's fairly standard stuff, ending in the hick mouse being frightened out of town and dashing back to the country along the railroad tracks. It's amazing that this managed to win an Academy Award, I can't imagine how dull the other nominees were that year.
So what if this is, as another reviewer noted, the stuff of a hundred Tom
and Jerry cartoons to come? The character animation is the real attraction
here, and it's excellent. This is some of the best drunken mouse animation
I've ever seen, and that's saying something.
It's true, they've turned the actual storyline into a goofy succession of tabletop gags with a chaotic climax tacked on (much like the one to appear at the end of the Pink Elephants sequence in Dumbo), and so the short as a whole is somewhat less satisfying than it could be, but the individual sequences are all nice - I particularly liked the bit with the sliced bread, and the mirror routine straight out of Duck Soup. Monty just sort of disappears at the end, doesn't he? Oh well, so maybe it's not the most memorable thing ever, but it's still a polished piece of cartoonery, to be sure.
In all honesty, I have seen better cartoons. The execution of the story
while nicely paced is a little bland and occasionally goofy even and
the climax has a chaotic and tacked on nature about it. However, while
most of the gags are more amusing than hilarious, the sliced bread and
Duck Soup-like mirror gags are very effective indeed. The animation is
beautiful and fluid, with the character designs especially good, the
music is energetic and action-enhancing as is typical of a lot of
cartoons around that time and the characters are sweet and likable.
All in all, The Country Cousin is not an outstanding cartoon, but regardless it is still a nice watch. 7/10 Bethany Cox
This film is the Oscar winner for Best Animated Short for 1937 and when
seen today you might be tempted, like me, to marvel at it being the
pick. It's not that this is a bad cartoon--it isn't. It's just that the
story is awfully familiar and the animation style is more akin to a
non-Disney production than a film by the greatest animation studio of
the day. As for me, I'd much rather see a cartoon featuring the OTHER
Disney mouse instead of this one.
The story is from Aesop and has been done a bazillion times before by various cartoon studios--probably because they didn't have to pay royalties and because the story has already written itself! A bumpkin mouse from 'Podunk' comes to visit his supposedly sophisticated cousin in the city. At first, the bumpkin in impressed by all the marvels of big city life. However, by the end of the film he comes to realize that cities suck and he's better off being happy with his lot in life.
The animation quality is good but not exactly inspired or a thing of great beauty. When I think about several other Silly Symphony cartoons from Disney (such as THE FLOWERS AND THE TREES or FERDINAND THE BULL), it comes up very short. In other words, it's awfully ordinary yet took the Oscar. While I am not a huge fan of Popeye, I have seen POPEYE THE SAILOR MEETS SINBAD THE SAILOR (also nominated this same year) and it was significantly prettier and better animated--with finer line drawings and an amazing 3-D sort of look to it. The other nominee was OLD MILL POND by Harmon-Ising but I just can't bring myself to watch any more of these ultra-cutesy cartoons, though I can just about guarantee it was insipid and that THE COUNTRY COUSIN was better!
This Walt Disney Silly Symphony cartoon won the Academy Award for 1936. Adopted from an Aesop Fables tale, The Country Cousin has the title character-a mouse-visiting his city counterpart at his 66 1/2 address. Then they go to a big buffet table where the country mouse gets in lots of his hunger and thirst in quick succession...Quite amusing if not hilarious though I did heartily laugh quite a bit. In other words, nothing too slapsticky but plenty of gently visual gags that made this quite entertaining in the usual Disney manner. It's probably a little rushed at the end but overall, The Country Cousin is still worth a look for anyone who loves all things animation and Disney.
A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon Short.
Mouse Abner, THE COUNTRY COUSIN from Podunk, arrives in the big city to taste some of the high life enjoyed by his sophisticated cousin, Monty. Enjoying the viands of a banquet table - most especially the champagne - Abner is soon to encounter his first big city cat...
With the delightful Abner the center of attention, this fun, fast-paced cartoon spoof of Aesop's Fable easily became the 1936 Academy Award recipient.
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.
In this Silly Symphony, a mouse from the country visits his cousin in the city. Most of the short is the two mice exploring the dinner table. The animation is fine, where this short suffers is in a lack of humor. Perhaps I've just seen this "dinner table adventure" in one too many Tom and Jerry shorts. Even though this came first, I just didn't find it that enjoyable.
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