A girl is sewing in her playroom when a boy sneaks in and lets loose a horde of mice into her doll house. She discovers them and is fascinated by them, one in particular who can speak. They... See full summary »

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A girl is sewing in her playroom when a boy sneaks in and lets loose a horde of mice into her doll house. She discovers them and is fascinated by them, one in particular who can speak. They chat for a while, and the mouse tells them a story of a wizard friend who tried one day to make a potion that would render all things beautiful. He turns lizards into doves and a toad into a squirrel successfully, but when his back is turned another bottle accidentally opens up and spills into the Beauty Elixer. When he tries it on a batch of caged mice, they turn into little devils that chase him around his shop. They wreak havoc and eventually turn him into a giant rabbit, but he's then saved by the doves, who mix a potion that reverts him to his human form and the devils back into mice. Written by jjwbenso

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Animation | Short

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5 April 1935 (USA)  »

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(Cinecolor)

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1.37 : 1
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What is this?!
9 June 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Spinning Mice" is a cartoon from Van Beuren Studios--a cartoon producer for less than a decade during the late 1920s and into the 30s. While their cartoons were of decent quality compared to most companies of the time, the quality of their work never came close to rivaling Disney. Part of this was due to the deficiencies of the art and writing of the cartoons but part wasn't really Van Beuren's fault. Disney had an exclusive contract with Technicolor for full-color film stock for several years. Tinier studios like Van Beuren either had to make black & white cartoons of use the less advanced (and uglier) two- color film-- such as with the Cinecolor you see in this particular short. Because it was not true color, the film is made up mostly of oranges and blues and comes off as a bit garish.

When this cartoon began, I was shocked that it was live-action as some kids were tormenting some live mice. Only after a bit did it become a cartoon, as a mouse tells two somewhat ugly children a story. Naturally, it involves characters that sing--a serious problem in many 1930s cartoons (and VERY often with Van Beuren cartoons). And, naturally, it's a story about a jerk who does nasty things to animals...including mice. But, when he pours his magic formula on them, the mice become evil imps and teach him a lesson. And, the audience is perplexed as to WHAT the heck they just saw! Weird and pretty difficult to enjoy, this sort of stuff is probably why Van Beuren soon folded!


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