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Egyptian Melodies (1931)

A spider sneaks into the Sphinx and has several spooky encounters.

Director:

Wilfred Jackson (uncredited)
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Storyline

A spider descends into the sphinx; we follow behind it in a fairly impressive tracking shot. It reaches the central chamber and the mummies come to life and dance, as do the soldiers and royalty drawn on the wall. This includes a spirited chariot race. All the activity ultimately scares the spider, and it runs out. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1930s | africa | spider | sphinx | chariot | See All (34) »


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Melodias Egípcias See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Walt Disney Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Copyright date: 27-8-1931. See more »

Connections

Featured in Ink & Paint Club: Infested Silly Symphonies (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballet égyptien
Composed by Alexandre Luigini
(1875)
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User Reviews

 
Making the mummies dance
7 March 2006 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

Like a lot of the early Silly Symphonies made at the Disney Studio, "Egyptian Melodies" is an essentially plot-free mini-musical that takes place in an atmospheric locale where everyone and everything bobs to the rhythm. This one follows the pattern set by the very first Symphony, "The Skeleton Dance," in its focus on an eerie setting where even the dead can join the party; but instead of skeletons, this time we're presented with mummies eager to jump out of their cases and boogie.

The opening shot is a striking one that sets the tone for what follows: while exotic, pseudo-Middle Eastern music plays and palm trees sway in the foreground, the camera tracks in on the Sphinx . . . a Sphinx that features what appears to be a large wooden door just under its face. On one side of this door is a spider in his web, playing it like a harp. When he hears a commotion inside the Sphinx the spider decides to investigate, first turning to the camera to "shush" us, then beckoning us to follow. (This spider, who is our guide and central character, has been granted the Oliver Hardy-like power to communicate with the viewer.) Our entry into the Sphinx is a fascinating, scary passage through winding corridors in sharp perspective: impressive animation for its time. Once we're fully inside, the spider loses his self-confidence and seems at a loss, frightened by those dancing mummies and other unpleasant surprises. Meanwhile, our attention shifts to the hieroglyph figures on the wall, which come to life. Egyptian soldiers march, and slaves perform a cymbal dance for the pleasure of the Pharaoh. Then there's a chariot race, and the factions following each competitor get increasingly frenzied as the race progresses. When the situation reaches a crescendo the spider flees in terror.

This is a fun cartoon for animation buffs. When I was a kid I tended to get impatient with these little musicals, as I preferred a strong central character like a Donald Duck or a Bugs Bunny. Now, however, I can appreciate the sheer off-the-wall creativity that went into these things. The Silly Symphonies series served as a training ground for the Disney animators, and when you watch a cartoon like this one you can see where the innovations that led to such classics as "Fantasia" and "Pinocchio" were initially honed and perfected.


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