Donald's Ostrich (1937)
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Yes, it's the usual mayhem and nothing particularly remarkable. From the mild entertainment of this cartoon it's easy to see why Hortense the Ostrich never came back.
** (out of 4)
Donald is at work when a package suddenly springs open and it's an ostrich. There's a note attached to it saying that the ostrich will eat anything and for the next several minutes that's exactly what he does.
DONALD'S OSTRICH is a pretty bland short, which is shocking considering this was Disney after all. It's not that Disney never made a bad film but this one here is really lacking any laughs and I'd argue that it's really not all that creative either. The entire running time basically has the ostrich eating various items and reacting to what it has eaten. This just isn't all that funny and the one-note gag gets rather old quickly.
Donald's classic frustrated and temperamental personality works well with the character and is very entertaining. However, the Hortense character proves to be too cute and overly cuddly, making it annoying and not very funny to look at. The hiccup gags get old quick throughout the short and consumes much of the picture, losing less room for other humorous stuff. But, Donald does pull through with some laughable moments and radio bit was amusing.
An ostrich is delivered to the Wahoo train station platform and proceeds to create merry mayhem for baggage handler Duck.
This lively and very enjoyable little film boasts good animation and a fine sense of fun. Hortense proved to be a bird capable of stealing scenes even from the Duck, but DONALD'S OSTRICH would be both her first & final film performance. Clarence "Ducky" Nash supplies Donald's unique voice.
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.