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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There will be spoilers to one degree or another in here.
During World War II, Disney produced a number of cartoons for general release that were propaganda aimed at fueling the war effort. While most of these were still humorous in tone as well as serious in message, two were notably different: Education For Death, the most grimly serious short produced by a Hollywood studio I've ever seen and this one, Chicken Little, in which the humor is sharply limited and the ending is most un-Disney in nature. Disney has been taken to task (often with justification) for taking fables, fairy tales and other old source material and making it far more sweet than it originally was. This was not done here-oh, boy, was that not done! Though there is no overt attempt to make this directly about Germany, the Nazis or Hitler, the context of the times makes it clear who the target is. The use of Hitler's concept of the "Big Lie" is a dead giveaway. Interestingly, the lack of obvious ties to the current enemy make this short less dated and it can readily be viewed as targeting any totalitarian state. There's nothing cute here and only a few laughs. The ending is a punch in the solar plexus. Look at what the fox does with the wishbones.
This is available on the Disney Treasures On The Front Lines. The set as a whole is remarkable and is worth having for any number of items it contains. It is telling that, as good as this short is, there are easily a half-dozen other things on the set that are even better. Most highly recommended. Get it while you can.
A Walt Disney Cartoon.
Wily Foxy Loxey uses psychological chicanery to confuse dimwitted CHICKEN LITTLE - Step 1 in his plot to plunder the poultry yard.
This unusual little film eschews a happy ending for a not-so-subtle warning against evil manipulators and gullible citizenry. Foxy Loxey could be the personification of either Hitler or Stalin and the quotes from his psychology book ('To influence the masses, aim first at the least intelligent,' 'If you tell a lie, don't tell a little one - tell a big one,' 'Undermine the faith of the masses in their leaders,' 'By the use of flattery, insignificant people can be made to look upon themselves as born leaders') are pure Marxism. As for Cocky Locky, Henny Penny, Goosey Poosey, Ducky Lucky & Turkey Lurkey - their human counterparts are only too easy to find everyday.
Veteran Disney voice artists Florence Gill & Clarence Nash can be heard making various hen & duck noises.
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 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.
I remember reading the 'Chicken Little' book as a child but this
cartoon turns it on its head with one eye on the time it was made,
1943, during the Second World War.
The sly and hungry Foxy Loxy reads from a text which describes how to lie and cheat your neighbours - in this case to persuade Chicken Little and others than the sky is falling, and so the world is about to end.
It showcases the power of propaganda, panic and persuasion to achieve an aim (Foxy of course wants a hearty supper of chickens and ducks). Cocky Locky is the political leader who gets depicted as a fool, while Henny Penny and her cronies spread gossip and hysteria.
A clever cartoon, perhaps too sophisticated for children, but enjoyable on some levels to a younger audience with a bit of forethought, a bit like 'Animal Farm'.
This Disney short is a bit preachy, but in its original incarnation, it
was a lot more obvious and a lot more dated. That's because Walt felt
that the obvious references to WWII would date the film. In hindsight,
although the film isn't perfect, it does hold up pretty well today.
This is a retelling of the old story of Chicken Little. It's pretty obvious that it was meant to be a metaphor for spreading and believing rumors during wartime, but no mention is made of the war--just Chicken Little and all his stupid poultry friends believing ANYTHING that the wicked Fox tells them.
I give this one a 7 despite the dated theme. Why? Because the Fox is a great character and I loved the very dark and twisted ending. Well worth your time.
One negative, by the way, was the film's use of repetitive animation. Like the lower quality Hanna-Barbera films of the 60s, you see the same images again and again--in the hopes that the audience wouldn't notice this. I certainly did.
The Disney shorts have seen a large number of classics and a lot of very good shorts too, there are very few that I didn't care for. Chicken Little(1943) is very different for Disney, who have rarely been more cynical or morbid, but here different equals great results. Chicken Little is terrific, maybe not quite one of the Disney masterpieces or among my personal favourites, but is bold well-made stuff and one of the better Disney shorts of the 40s. The animation is fluid and colourful, the backgrounds moving from frame to frame smoothly and the colours as vibrant and well-textured as you'd hope. The characters are well drawn too. The music is typically lush and energetic if ever so slightly repetitive. The writing can be much enjoyed, the gems being with Foxy Loxy and his psychology book dialogue. It will admittedly most likely go over children's heads but not over adults, who be impressed and amazed by how daring Chicken Little and how much of its content it manages to get away with, considering the time when it was made. The story is very true in detail to the original story but with a unusually twisted(especially for Disney) ending that will shock the viewer as much as it shocked the narrator. It also has a point that is made clearly and not heavy-handedly, and is as relevant now as it was then with stuff that parallelled WW2 and also parallels now(especially from a militaristic viewpoint). The characters carry the narrative very well and their personalities do stand out, the most memorable and entertaining by a mile being Foxy Loxy. While Frank Graham does a superb job voicing almost all the characters(Florence Gill and Clarence Nash do their distinctive hen and duck noises), particularly the narrator- the role of which is well written and doesn't try to explain too much- and Foxy Loxy. To conclude, terrific short that succeeds at doing something different from what Disney usually do. 10/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film many times growing up on, the "Wonderful World of Disney", And is now my favorite Disney film, It has a message that you need to use your brain in this life if you want to survive, and just who can you trust?, And the difficulty in not following the mob.I am angry with the new "disney people" for them making this new "Chicken Little" film .and this mentality that you must have a "Happy Ending" I did not know that it was made as a Propaganda film for World War II . But if you lived through Pol pot , Jim Jones , "The ice age is Coming!"or Piramid selling, you should know that this little "Big" Film will never lose its message, See it yourself.
I first watched this cartoon short when it was part of Walt Disney's
Wonderful World of Color, in an episode titled "Man Is His Own Worst
Enemy." It was also my first time learning of the Chicken Little story.
It was, honestly, a pretty sad story to watch, seeing Chicken Little
and the rest of the bird family meeting an untimely fate in the hands
of Foxy Loxy. Some of parts of the short was, though, pretty
entertaining to see when Chicken Little and friends think the sky is
falling, thereby, running around frantically. The characters were zany
and the animation was great.
Overall, it's not a bad story. It gives children a harsh reality that not every story has a happy ending and that life could be pretty complicated.
Chicken Little (1943)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
This famous tale takes a different meaning as Disney used the classic story for a WWII propaganda short. A fox plans to not catch one chicken but instead catch them all so he locates the dumbest one and tells him that the sky is falling. Soon the rest of the chickens are in a panic thinking disaster really is coming. As the war went on, the studios were becoming much darker in some of the films they released and that included Disney and their children programs. This eight minute short has the famous tale that most people are going to know but what makes this version so good is the incredibly dark and sinister ending. I'm certainly not going to spoil the ending but it packs a punch even when seen today and there's no question that the studio had a message to deliver. The fox character was extremely well-written and there's no doubt that the animation was quite good. Fans of these types of animated films will certainly enjoy it.
To really understand this cartoon you will need to know who was the main masters of propaganda of communism, like Antonio Gramsci, Lenin, Marx etc. All the lines read from the RED book are instruction of how insert ideas in the minds of the society, taken from the books written by these socialists. It is a manual of a Cultural War, and the western Christian world is right now loosing this war.See this: "Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society."
'Chicken Little' is a Disney short about the story of a chick who
thinks that the sky is falling, and no one believes him. I remember
watching this when I was very young -- they used to show this on the
Disney channel along with their other older cartoons and cartoon
shorts. (I'm not sure if they still show it or not, but Disney have
seemed to have moved away from showing their older cartoons.)
Generally-speaking, this was a typical Disney animated story featuring a cute little chick and a basic storyline. As it has been years since I saw this, I don't remember too much about it other than the little chick running around saying that the sky was falling, over and over again...and no one believed him. I've since read that there were some political motives behind this cartoon, but I didn't know that when I watched it as a child.
I just recently discovered that Disney are going to be reviving / remaking Chicken Little. I hope there are no bird flu jokes.
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