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oswald the rabbit | rabbit | See All (2) »

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Animation | Short

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22 June 1936 (USA)  »

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Oswald and wrestling
18 July 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Despite Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and his cartoons being popular and well received at the time, they have been vastly overshadowed over time by succeeding animation characters. It is a shame as, while not cartoon masterpieces, they are fascinating for anybody wanting to see what very old animation looked like.

Oswald in the Disney years saw mostly good to very good cartoons, and while the Winkler years had some duds there were also cartoons as good as the best of the Disney years. The 1929-1930 batches of Walter Lantz-directed Oswald cartoons were a mixed bag, with some good, some forgettable and not much special and a few mediocre. The 1931 batch was mostly underwhelming, with only 6 out of 18 cartoons being above average or more. The 1932 batch had a few not so good, though the cartoons in question were nothing compared to the worst of the previous 3 years, cartoons, but most were decent to good and some even very good. The 1933 batch is one of the most consistent, with the weakest 'Beau Best' still being decent. The 1934 batch were mostly nice and decent if unexceptional, with a few average ones and 'Sky Larks' and 'Toyland Premiere'.

'Battle Royal' is another good Oswald cartoon. It is thin on the ground story-wise, occasionally could have been sharper in timing and Oswald (as well as looking unrecognisable, if research had not been done you could have sworn it was a completely different character) while likable is rather bland.

However, the animation and gags are very well done. Once again the animation is terrific, it is elaborate, beautifully and cleverly drawn and rich in detail in the backgrounds. The gags are very amusing, if not as imaginative and hilarious as the last two cartoons of the previous year's batch.

Also love the music, which is very characterful, bouncy and beautifully and lushly orchestrated and performed. The cartoon is fun and charming to watch and the action synchronises beautifully, also avoiding the trap of being too saccharine like too many of the 1934 cartoons did.

Overall, not a great cartoon but nicely executed. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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