|Index||5 reviews in total|
The Sleepwalker doesn't see Pluto at his best and is not one of his best shorts. It does have the odd repetitive moment that are effective the first time but not sustained for the others. That doesn't matter, as The Sleepwalker is still very cute and touching and does provide some laughs. They are not the laugh-out-loud-hilarious kind, but they are at least funny which is much more important. The premise was a good, sweet one to begin with, and the storytelling itself is every bit as cute and heartfelt and doesn't underwhelm its premise at all. The ending is very touching, Pluto is an energetic and endearing character who is easy to root for and Dinah makes a most charming debut. The puppies are also very sweet. And visually and musically The Sleepwalker is without complaint either. The animation is of the bright, colourful and fluid quality, while the music is lively, lushly orchestrated and adds so much to what is happening in the gags and the animation. Overall, a just lovely short that does live up to its premise. 9/10 Bethany Cox
A Walt Disney PLUTO Cartoon.
Who is THE SLEEPWALKER that's taking all of Pluto's best bones to the pretty new female dog next door?
This enjoyable little film is notable chiefly as the debut of Dinah the dainty dachshund, who would appear as Pluto's heartthrob in 5 cartoons from 1942 until her retirement in 1950.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by pictures & 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 comic 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 childlike simplicity of message and lots of hard work will always pay off.
Pluto is trying to take an afternoon nap while having his dog bone as a
treat, but it is taken away by Dinah the Dachshund; she is sad she
doesn't have any food or treats in her dog plate. After Pluto takes his
bone back, he falls into a deep sleep and sleepwalks, giving the bone
back to Dinah; this happens at least twice in the process.
I know you really shouldn't take things from other people without asking first, but Pluto was pretty mean in this one by frightening away poor Dinah, chasing her and stomping on her doghouse. But, Pluto does show heart eventually when he discovers Dinah has a little of pups she is trying to protect.
This is a charming little cartoon which is not the laugh-out-loud kind, but is funny nonetheless. The animation is bright and colorful and the background music has a soothing and heartfelt feel to it. A nice one overall featuring Pluto.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
DISDAINING THE INCLUSION of any other more "human-like",
anthropomorphic characters, such as Mickey, Donald or Goofy, this short
is one beautiful example of Pluto's being handled at his very best.
Although this ploy is an oft used plot element and not necessarily new
at this period (the first full year of WWII for the U.S.A), it possibly
was never better applied.
IN OTHER CARTOONS the absence of on-screen speaking characters is supplemented by using the narrator. The latter day production of the Pluto starring vehicle, THE LEGEND OF COYOTE ROCK, is a prime example.
IN THIS PARTICULAR short animated subject, we start with a basic premise; that being Pluto's love of his hoarded collection of bones. He even keeps track of the current one in his dish as he sleeps. He is portrayed as even licking the very chomp-able portion of calcium & marrow and keeping tabs of its whereabouts and proximity to his doghouse by use of taste & tongue.
ENTER HIS NEXT door neighboring Daschound, Dinah. She stealthily maneuvers her short but lengthy body around our slumbering hero and relieves him of it. Upon waking, Pluto immediately traces it down; and recovers it with the use of implied physical force.
THE SITUATION IS then complicated when Pluto begins sleepwalking, which is accompanied with his subconsciously returning the bone to the petite, little pooch. Upon his waking, Pluto immediately reverses his seeming generosity. He has an automatic knee-jerk reaction of forcefully reclaiming his crunchy chewable.
THIS SITUATION CONTINUES that way until it comes to light that Dinah has a litter of pups to care for. Feeling like a real heel (literally illustrated on screen), Pluto not only brings his entire stash of crunchies to her family, but also offers his own doghouse in place of hers; which he has angrily destroyed. He does so just as a rainfall is starting; even though he has to take refuge under some old newspapers.
THE PRODUCTION TEAM manages to at once give us a laugh romp, while at the same time, they add a little touch of pathos. It is, after all, Wartime and we all have to stick together even more so than in better, more peaceful days.
IF THERE IS one element in THE SLEEPWALKER that we find that reminds us of any previous film's plot it is that of having Pluto behave so radically different when awake and while sleepwalking. Freely giving the little dog his bones when sleepwalking is followed up with his not remembering his kindly deed while fully awake, he repeatedly took them back.
DOES THIS PARTICULAR bit of plot business remind the reader of anything that was done prior in a movie?
WELL, WHAT ABOUT the millionaire who befriends Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character in CITY LIGHTS (1931)? When he was inebriated, the rich man was Charlie's pal; giving him anything, even his expensive automobile. Upon his awakening from his state of intoxication, the millionaire has no recollection of his friendship his generous "gifts" to Charlie.
SO, WHETHER OR not he was aware of it, Pluto was now on the same plain as Chaplin!
'The Sleepwalker' is probably the one single Disney short which, for me
anyhow, best epitomises everything that kept their classic workings
head and shoulders above most of Warner Bros' output. Not that Bugs and
his posse weren't slick enough in their own right, but, with a few
exceptions, it wasn't often that they deviated from their standard
dog-eat-dog routines, what with always being so intent on blowing each
other up with dynamite or pulping each other with mallets
entertaining when you're in the right frame of mind, but so, so
formulaic, and I always found it a lot harder to warm to the
Walt's short films, while still blessed with their fair share of calamity, were never as dependant on that constant slew of matches, TNT and anvils to keep things going just straightforward yet engaging stories all chiefly driven by the characters behind them. Above all, the Disney ensemble had a real sense of heart that you rarely detected in the Warner Bros creations, and this may well be the most potent example I've ever seen. I had 'the Sleepwalker' - concerning Pluto's dispute with a pretty female dachshund named Dinah over the ownership of a bone - somewhere on videotape when I was very young, so I sorta grew up watching it, and really came to appreciate the heartfelt messages it contained about redemption, sharing and selflessness.
It's hard not to be swayed by the charming simplicity of Pluto's own non-dialogue cartoons the orange-coloured mutt may have lacked the same power of speech of most of his Disney comrades, but he was easily as expressive and well-defined, and you could always count on his shorts to achieve that exemplary balance between slapstick and warmth. As a character, he could be naïve, self-centred and even outright aggressive at times, but deep down Pluto was always a friendly and sensitive dog, as 'the Sleepwalker' deftly showcases. Whilst awake, he viciously guards that bone of his, but when asleep, almost willingly carries to the hungry Dinah, much to her confusion, because (I presume), subconsciously, he wants her to have it.
The entire story is lovingly crafted, the 1940s animation top notch, and the lively instrumental score suits the action perfectly. The end result is one of the most thoroughly touching and feel-good little films to arise from the Disney canon. Well, what can I say Pluto and Dinah were a winning combination.
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