Wide Open Spaces (1947) Poster

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A Sleepy Duck Tale
Ron Oliver9 December 2002
A Walt Disney DONALD DUCK Cartoon.

Forced to sleep in the WIDE OPEN SPACES, the last thing a desperately tired Donald needs is trouble with his air mattress...

This little film is routine in respect to animation & story, but it's always enjoyable to watch the Duck deal with inanimate objects. Clarence "Ducky" Nash supplies Donald's squeaky voice.

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 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 simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.
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Not even Donald can make it work
Warning: Spoilers
"Wide Open Spaces" is a 6.5-minute cartoon from 1947, so this one is from shortly after WWII and it has its 70th anniversary this year. The names of the two writers are probably not known to too many, at least for their writing, but director Jack King could be. In any case this is another from the gigantic amount of Disney cartoons from the Golden Age of Animation. It is a Donald one-man/duck show here as he arrives after a stressful day at the motel, but unlucky for him, it is all full and 16 bucks for sleeping on the porch? Not with Donald. A strenuous night outdoors begins that has him even run into sharks. The very ending (poor Donald has to pay even more eventually) was somewhat funny, but other than that it is far from Disney's finest achievements in terms of comedy or wit. I love Donald, but not even he can make the material work. No surprise, this one is nowhere near Disney's most famous despite Donald, Bletcher and Nash on board. I give it a thumbs-down too.
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Donald's sleeping problems continue...
OllieSuave-00728 December 2015
Donald Duck's sleeping problems continue in this cartoon short from Disney. Here, while traveling in the countryside, Donald decides to check into a motel to turn in for the night. However, after balking at the high room fare, he decides against staying in the motel in favor of camping out in the wooded area.

It is entertaining seeing Donald go through all sorts of hassles trying to get to sleep, from blowing up his air mattress to dealing with a boulder by the hillside.

It's classic Donald with his fiery temper and iconic personality. This cartoon is one of at least three that deal with Donald's sleeping problems, and it's full of gags and laughter from start to finish!

Grade A
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"There's nothing left sir, but the cot on the porch. Thank you sir, thank you sir. That'll be $16. $16!!!"
TheLittleSongbird13 January 2013
Wide Open Spaces goes wonderfully with Early to Bed and Drip Dippy Donald, the other insomniac Donald shorts, the latter being my personal favourite of the three. The three shorts have the same formula but in different settings and different gags, so it never feels derivative. Talking about Wide Open Spaces, it focuses more on the gags over characterisation. The good thing is though that the gags are very imaginative and hilarious, especially the one with the boulder and the priceless bit with sleeping Donald and the manager. While Wide Open Spaces doesn't quite play to Donald's strengths and trademark temperament he is still likeably characterised. The animation is truly excellent, full of vibrancy and detail in a decade that saw Disney in their absolute prime, while the music is gorgeous and also enhances the humour brilliantly. The ending is also a nice touch. Overall, wonderful stuff. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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