The Wise Little Hen (1934) Poster

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10/10
The Cinematic Birth Of Donald Duck
Ron Oliver22 October 2000
A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon Short.

Worried about having enough food to feed her family come Wintertime, THE WISE LITTLE HEN decides to plant a field of corn. Her idle friends, Peter Pig & Donald Duck, decline to help with the planting or the harvesting - leaving the little chicken to plan her sweet revenge...

This is a very fine adaptation of the childhood story, with a strong, self-reliant title character (voiced by Florence Gill). But the reason this is a landmark cartoon is because it was the debut of the irascible, anti-social, temperamental, infuriating & utterly lovable Duck, a character so strong he would soon eclipse Mickey Mouse himself. With voice courtesy of the inimitable Clarence Nash, Donald would become one of the world's most popular personalities & a source of never-ending fascination for those who study anti-social behavior and its consequences.

Fate would not be so kind to Peter Pig. Although his debut was just as conspicuous as the Duck's, he lacked that certain intangible quality which would set him apart from the common swine. Hollywood can be a cruel place & Peter's attempts to build a movie career - he worked for a while as Porky Pig's stunt double - proved a failure. When last heard of, Peter Pig was living in a small apartment over a garage in Pomona, California.

The SILLY SYMPHONIES, which Walt Disney produced for a ten year period beginning in 1929, are among the most fascinating of all animated series. Unlike the Mickey Mouse cartoons in which action was paramount, with the Symphonies the action was made to fit the music. There was little plot in the early Symphonies, which featured lively inanimate objects and anthropomorphic plants & animals, all moving frantically to the soundtrack. Gradually, however, the Symphonies became the school where Walt's animators learned to work with color and began to experiment with plot, characterization & photographic special effects. The pages of Fable & Fairy Tale, Myth & Mother Goose were all mined to provide story lines and even Hollywood's musicals & celebrities were effectively spoofed. It was from this rich soil that Disney's feature-length animation was to spring. In 1939, with SNOW WHITE successfully behind him and PINOCCHIO & FANTASIA on the near horizon, Walt phased out the SILLY SYMPHONIES; they had run their course & served their purpose.
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9/10
Wise viewing.
Squonk25 January 1999
While watching The Wise Little Hen, I had to keep reminding myself that this short was made in 1934. The animation has held up well over the years and is as good as anything you'll see. The colors paint a bright picture and the attention to detail is amazing. This film is also an important milestone as it marks the first appearance of Donald Duck, it remains one of his best films.
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9/10
You know after this gem, you gotta love Donald Duck!
TheLittleSongbird21 September 2009
This is a gem. The animation is beautiful, with lovely colourful backgrounds and the character animation is very good. The music was brilliant, very playful and jolly, and the theme tune somewhat reminds me of that for Peculiar Penguins. The characters are engaging, with the exception of Peter Pig, whose presence seemed unnecessary at times. The hen of the title is fun, the chicks are ADORABLE(I know I keep using this word, but most of the silly symphonies are), but what makes this short for me is the presence of Donald Duck, voiced by the one and only Ducky Nash. Everything else was fine, but my favourite duck's presence elevates this gem to a greater level.

Two words for this- wonderful gem! 9.5/10 Bethany Cox
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6/10
No eating without helping
Horst_In_Translation16 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"The Wise Little Hen" is a Technicolor 7-minute cartoon from Disney that was made over 80 years ago. And it is interesting to see how Donald is still everybody's favorite dog today while Peter Pig, his co-star in here, has been forgotten completely. The 2 fake tummy aches when the wise little hen asks them to help with planting and cropping corn because they are 2 very lazy fellas. Unfortunately for them, fortunately for us, she finds out about their charade and in the end they get disgusting medicine instead of tasty corn. Bad luck for the 2. There's always next year though. Maybe they'll learn something from it. Wilfred Jackson, Pinto Colvig and Clarence Nash worked on this little movie and the three of them are really known for their work on many other cartoons. This one here is not among my favorites from its era, but it's still a decent little Silly Symphony with a nice message (very unusual for a Donald Duck cartoon), solid music and also hilarious voice acting by Florence Gill. I recommend the watch.
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10/10
Donald Duck's first theatrical appearance as well as for Clarence "Ducky" Nash
ja_kitty_719 March 2009
I had never knew that this Silly Symphony was Donald Duck's first theatrical appearance as well as for his voice-artist Clarence "Ducky" Nash too. And besides I love Donald Duck, along with Mickey Mouse, his canine pal Pluto, which is unusual to me because I am a cat-lover and Chip n' Dale. This Silly Symphony is adapted from "The Little Red Hen" fable, and I know that story well. I love it whenever the Wise Little Hen says: "Will you help me plant my corn? Will you help me plant my corn?" Donald and Peter Pig would say in this cartoon: "Who? me?! Oh no! I've got a belly ache!" I thought that was great rhythmic timing. So anyway, it's a great cartoon.
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6/10
The wise little hen.
a-moss19 May 2005
The last three days I've probably watched this thing 13 times. Not because I liked it, but because its highly addictive. Its one of those things that is so stupid, but at the same time so catchy you just can't not stop playing it.

What I kind of like about it is how every sound and every movement in this Disney short seems to be going alone in a tune, with verses and all. And the singing along with it... Argh. Its annoying, but its, well, catchy. Everything. Especially the little hen. God, its like a caressing nightmare.

This is Donalds first appearance ever yeah. He's basically a little tw*t, but yeah, compared to Peter Pig he's a bit funny.. and you can probably see why he got a second chance, and finally grew to be one of Disney's biggest characters. What is a bit interesting though is that he lives on a boat, so his costume for once makes a bit sense.

The little hen and her little slave chickens steals the show though. God I hope she never turns up ever again! Her presence in this 8 minute short is more than enough for a whole eternity. The horror!
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6/10
Not a great cartoon, but in many ways still a must-see.
planktonrules25 September 2010
If you are looking for this short, try the "Disney Timeless Treasures: Volume 3". It's there along with several other seldom-seen cartoon shorts.

This Silly Symphony cartoon is, like the rest of the series, wonderfully animated--as Disney was the producer of the best looking cartoons of the 1930s...period. However, like many of the films in the series, the story itself wasn't always so hot. Because of that, I can't recommend it to the casual viewer. HOWEVER, to the cinemaniac or Disney-phile it is STILL a must-see for two reasons. The first is that the animation is terrific--just like all the Disney shorts of the 1930s. But a much more important reason is that this film marks the first appearance by Donald Duck--and that is something to celebrate. To those unaware of his evolution, he does look quite different--as he did until the very late 30s.

As far as the story goes, it's the familiar tale of the Little Red Hen--and the lazy farm animals who refuse to help her plant and then harvest her grain. No major surprises here--just some nice animation and Donald.
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10/10
The Wise Little Hen is notable as the debut of Donald Duck
tavm31 December 2008
Just watched on YouTube this Disney Silly Symphony that's important for one reason and one reason only: It's the debut of Donald Duck and that of his creator, Clarance Nash. In this one, it's the musical version of the moral fable "The Wise Little Hen" with Florence Gil voicing the one who asks Donald and his friend Peter Pig (Pinto Colvig) for help in first planting the corn and then harvesting them. The both fake bellyaches and when it comes time to eat the results...well, watch the short. Both entertaining and educational, The Wise Little Hen is highly recommend for fans of Disney and animation and especially that lovable short tempered duck! And it's all because of Mr. Nash that we owe a heap of thanks so thank you, Clarance, wherever you are!
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10/10
Reminds me favorably of the old story, "The Little Red Hen".
llltdesq7 April 2002
This is an excellent example of early Disney and the first appearance of Donald Duck. There was also a Peter Pig, who did not fare as well as Donald in his movie career. Donald is, if anything, more obnoxious and disagreeable here than he was later. The animation here is splendid and the short is well worth seeking out. Attempts to locate Peter Pig have been unsuccessful, although there are rumors that he lives in semi-retirement in Encino, having wisely bought stock in Disney and, later, in IBM. Recommended.
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8/10
There's a Lesson to Be Learned
Hitchcoc4 February 2019
Donald Duck and Peter Pig are a couple of lazy guys who just want to sing and dance, but do nothing productive. When the Little Hen needs someone to help her plant corn, they make excuses, claiming to have tummy aches. During harvest time, they don't help. But when it comes time to eat the corn, they drool and accept. But they are in for a surprise. There is a little bit of grasshopper/ant in this one. Some of the were quite moralistic. This is really early Donald.
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View on "The Wise Little Hen"
kelsey-willingham19 November 2008
"The Wise Little Hen," this cartoon from 1938 is a very good carton for being so early in our time. It is a very short film, but for being so short it is really catchy in many ways. From it bringing back your childhood days to the music that is played is really addicting you can not stop watching it. The story is actually a really good story and also can be put in to now day's perspective very easily. This short film is not the best that I have ever seen but if you look at it; it is one of the best cartoons I feel I have ever watched.

The first thing to bring up is the sound that is in this short film, and how it goes along with the short film very well. The music is very catchy and after you hear it you can not get it out of your head. The music is very up beat and goes along with what is going on in the film. When the little hen is walking with her babies and looking for someone to help the words are very uplifting and happy. But when the hen asks the pig and the duck for some help and she realizes that they are not going to help the voice of the singer goes into a deeper more depressing tone. After that though when the hen keeps walking the music goes straight to back to being happy. When she is done asking them if they can help her and them telling her no her and her babies go to the field and start planning. This part of the story the beat gets really catchy when the baby hens go up and down and move they move along with the beat. This is an important part of the film and is the reason I think that you can not stop watching it. It is just like a song most people like songs that have a good beat and the words go along real well with the beat. It is the same way with a movie, but instead of the words being with the beat it is what you're seeing that is in beat with the music. The last part about the music is when the pig and duck find out that the hen did not really give them any corn to eat the beat is kind of funny and goes along with the disappointment that they are feeling.

The plot to this short film is another big reason that you can really comprehend this story, and put it into things that have happened to you. Every one that I know has gone through what the hen goes through at least once in their life. You always think that you have friends and they will be there for you, but the truth is they are always just looking out for there selves. This is the same thing that the hen goes through; every time she asked the pig and duck to help her they did not want to because they thought it would not help them out at all. Then when the hen comes and asks them if they could help her eat her corn instead of planting it they were more than welcome to. Before though when they saw that the hen was starting to walk towards them they starting acting sick again because they thought that she was going to ask them to help her do something. But when they find out that she is going to feed them they starting acting all nice to her. What the hen does next is what most people should do when they face this situation, she puts a prank on the pig and duck. When they open up the bowl that the hen had gave them, which they thought was going to be corn, they find out that it is only stomach medicine. I think just about every person can put this into perspective about a time in their life. That is why I think this is such a good short film and also a very addictive one. Most might say it is just because of the music but I promise if they really sit down and think about it that they will understand that this is a big reason too.

Overall though this a great short film and it is also a little bit funny, especially when the hen says the simple word "corn" in her very hen-like voice. Behind all of that though the main reasons I liked this film and thought that is was addicting was mostly because of the music and the story line. The music being very up beat and catchy, and then the story line really fitting into what I have gone through in life. If you have never watched this short film I suggest you do so but be careful it is kind of addicting, and you might want to watch it a couple more times. Last, though this film will make you laugh a little bit and it will also bring back the younger side of your life.
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7/10
Some ducks are irritating AND funny, while other ducks . . .
oscaralbert20 September 2021
Warning: Spoilers
. . . are just plain irritating. Donnie Quack-Quack falls clearly into the latter category, especially nowadays when free-range bullies are discouraged from mocking the verbally challenged. Sure, their may be some if not many tangle-tongued duck fans out there, just as there's doubtless an equal number of miscreants eager to join the mobs yelling at suicidal people to jump from bridge trusses and high-rise ledges. Where Daffy is almost always totally hilarious, Don is a sad fowl ball best left in the gutter.
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4/10
Mildly entertaining cartoon for 3 year olds.
The 'Silly Symphony', The Wise Little Hen feels more like one of those huge, books with thick cardboard pages you read to infants in order to help them learn basic words and morals. It may be notable for the first appearance of Donald Duck (in a supporting role) but the rest of it is mainly annoying.

I seriously do not like the Peter Pig character and I do not ever want to see him again. He was fat and rude with a rubbish voice. And the mother hen had this irritating gimmick of clucking out certain words.

The story goes that the Hen and her chicks need help planting her corn. Pete and Donald pretend to be ill but once the corn grows (no thanks to them) they feel well enough to eat it. Too bad the hen is only serving them Castor oil.

Hope the lesson isn't too subtle.
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8/10
The Wise Little Donald.
morrison-dylan-fan15 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
With having found Walt Disney's 1921 Laugh-O-Grams to be surprisingly fun,I decided that with a poll being held on IMDbs Classic Film board for the best films of 1934,that I would take a look at a short from that year.Getting caught completely by surprise,I found out that Disney had made a short in 1934,which featured Donald Ducks debut! This led to me getting ready to find out how wise this hen could be.

The plot:

Gathering up all of her chick-lets,a hen begins walking round town,hoping to find someone who will help her farm the corn,so that she can have dinner with her chick-lets tonight.Visiting Donald Duck & Peter Pig,the hen is sad to find both of them suddenly becoming "ill" when she asks for their help.With their being no one else around,the hen and her chick-lets decide that they must farm the corn themselves.

View on the film:

Delivering the first of his landmark performances as the character,debuting Clarence Nash shows that he is far ahead of the animators (who make Donald's head a size 0!) by giving a superb performance which hits all of the wild notes that Donald would soon become famous for.Along with Nash, Florence Gill gives a strong performance as the Wise Little Hen,with Gill showing a remarkable skill in saying the dialogue sung.

Giving the hen a sweet,rosy appearance,director Wilfred Jackson creates a wonderful atmosphere by using acrylic colours to give the film a forgotten nursery rhyme feel,and also keeping things lively with sight guys such as Donald Duck & Peter Pig dancing round the "Idle Hour" building,which leads to this being a wise hen,and a very wise film.
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8/10
Donald Duck's first cartoon!
OllieSuave-0076 October 2015
This is Donald Duck's first cartoon, where he plays a supporting character, along with Peter Pig, opposite the Hen. She wants them to help her plant corn, but Donald and Peter fake a belly ache. When she asks them to help her eat the corn, they gladly accept but instead get more than they were bargained for.

It's a colorfully animated cartoon short with innocent-sounding music and lovable characters that kids would enjoy. Even though Donald plays a secondary character, his classic voice (by Clarence Nash) and sailor outfit are seen and heard here and will preclude his iconic character in many cartoons to come.

It's not a terribly funny cartoon, as Donald's trademark slapstick misadventures and comedy are missing (since this is considered a "Silly Symphony" cartoon), but nonetheless, it's a fine one to introduce Donald Duck.

Grade B
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Donald's debut
Coolguy-76 March 2000
This is it. The first appearance of Donald Duck. In the short, Donald looks a little different than he does today. He was smaller and had a rounded bill instead of a flat one. Two things, however, have remained constant about Donald Duck: his sailor suit and his short temper.
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6/10
Just Ducky !
redryan6424 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
PLEASANT AND CLEVERLY set to music, THE WISE LITTLE HEN was just one of a series of Walt Disney's SILLY SYMPHONIES; that being an anthology series of Technicolour animated shorts. Being that there were so many titles, this one may well have remained in the shadow of obscurity had it not been for its accidentally discovering a future Disney star and mainstay for years to come.

WHILE OTHER ENTRIES in the series were declared to be outstanding works of art, such being the likes of THREE LITTLE PIGS, FLOWERS AND TREES and THE OLD MILL, little was said about this short. It was the unheralded appearance of Donald Duck that made it so Historical.

APPEARING AS ONE of the three main characters, DD is decked out in his familiar blue & white sailor's suit; but somehow he looks a trifle thin and worn out. Also his beak seems just a little thin and long.(Or is it his bill?) Perhaps his underweight condition is amplified by the co-star and partner in crime, one Peter Pig.

ANY WAY, TIME, the introduction of proper duck nutrition and plastic surgery for a shorter beak/bill were all that was needed. Shortly there after, the DONALD DUCK Series was launched and Uncle Walt had him joined with Mickey Mouse and Goofy in a sort of animated comedy team.

IT IS HIGHLY likely that you may not enjoy THE WISE LITTLE HEN, it not being your cup of tea; its certainly not being typical Donald Duck fare. Do make sure to see it, pretty please!
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7/10
Donald Duck's first movie appearance
dimadick26 October 2001
Donald Duck had been mentionened as an idea since 1931 but this was his first actual appearance.I was introduced to the character mainly by the comicbooks and at a lesser extents by some great shorts as "Commando Duck".Donald is obviously the most interesting character in this short.According to comics continuity he was 14 years old.Not bad for a teen-ager.But this short introduces as to his voice actor"Clarence"Ducky"Nash.Why should Donald's speaking be almost incomprehensible?I usualy hate hearing it.Since his name is Donald a slight Scottish accent would be more acceptable.A nice short but Clarence ruins it for me.I greately preferred Scrooge's voice in Ducktales.
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9/10
A little corny in more ways than one, but nonetheless a lot of sweet charming fun!
Okay so the structure of this short animation repeats itself a little, but it's so darn cute and sweet that I just love it and the song is bound to stick in your head for a while afterwards! It has a good homely rhythm to it and the animation is bright and beautiful, with the feast of corn treats at the end looking so good you could eat it! I remember being read "The Little Red Hen" when I was a kid and I think the moral of the story is still a very good one that never gets old. It makes me laugh every time the mother hen asks for help with her corn farming and bukaws out the word corn, so that "Would you help me plant the corn?" comes out sounding more like "Would you help me pluck the cow!?" Absolutely hysterical voice-work, in fact a very fun thing about this short is that it has three very different and funny voice performances to enjoy. I love the little squad of chicks who helped their mother the hen do all the hard work when she can't get any from the lazy pig and duck, it's so impossibly cute when they're riding their watering can with their little Chicky boots on! It's a rather innocuous first ever appearance of arguably the greatest Disney icon of all time Donald Duck, in a bit part in this animation about going hungry if you're too lazy to do a little toiling to get your supper, and I like the weird first design of him, looking more like a goose than a duck and having a longer beak, eyes and a hat that are white. He was a bit of a sly sneak right from the start though, but he wasn't cranky just yet! Good old fashioned wholesome stuff, it's a lovely short and I for one think that it holds up just splendidly.
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5/10
Birth of Donald Duck
hannibunny22622 November 2021
I love Donald Duck's cute blue sailor suit💙

He is a bit selfish, But that duck knows how to reflect!

Hmmm, btw I need some grilled corn with butter.
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