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At the home of Austrian composer Johann Strauss, lived Johann Mouse. Whenever the composer played his waltzes, the mouse would dance to the music, unable to control himself. One day, when ... See full summary »
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In this short subject (which mostly represents a departure from Disney's traditional approach to animation), a stuffy owl teacher lectures his feathered flock on the origins of Western musical instruments. Starting with cavepeople, whose crude implements could only "toot, whistle, plunk and boom," the owl explains how these beginnings led to the development of the four basic types of Western musical instruments: brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion.Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
This was the first animated cartoon in CinemaScope. See more »
[plays a band song]
Did you ever stop to think, when the band plays "rink-a-tink", where all the music comes from? From a Toot, and a Whistle, and a Plunk, and a Boom.
That's where the music comes from!
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Like many of Disney's early Cinemascope films, a "flat" version shot in 4:3 ratio was made for theaters that were not equipped for Cinemascope. This required rearranging the artwork for some shots to accommodate the smaller screen. Shots of multiple repeated characters (like the bird chorus at the end, for instance) were literally cut in half, using two repetitions instead of four. The most notable change comes at the transition from the end of the "Boom" section to the parade that starts the finale. In the Cinemascope version, the background and characters fade out, leaving the drum in the last scene alone; the drum then jumps from the side of the screen to the center, and the parade fades in. In the flat version, the camera zooms in on the drum, dissolves into the parade and zooms back out. See more »
As I said above, I really wanted to hate this film...but I couldn't. The reason I wanted to give this film a savage review is that it represents a style of animation that I hate--the very modern and minimalistic animation that came into vogue in the 1950s and lasted through the 70s. Up until films like TOOT WHISTLE PLUNK AND BOOK and films by (uggh) UPA Studios, animation had been very detailed and higher quality. Gorgeous backgrounds and high frame-rates were the norm in the 40s and into the 50s with studios like Looney Tunes, MGM and Disney. But, with the success of very simplistic UPA films like Gerald McBoing-Boing and Mr. Magoo (beating out traditional films for Oscars AND costing a fraction to make), Disney decided to experiment with this splashier but tremendously easy style of animation. So, for the style of this film and what it represented, I wanted to hate the film.
The problem is that although I disliked the art, I couldn't help but like the film--even though it was quite educational. In fact, now that I finished the film, I am still amazed because I usually watch animation to have fun--not learn things! But, I found that I enjoyed the learning.
The film is about the basic parts of music and how all instruments fall within four broad categories--those that go 'toot', those that whistle, those that are plucked ('plunk') and those that are struck ('boom'). This may seem silly, but it really did make sense and made me understand and appreciate music a lot more. In particular, I learned why horns are all curvy and how a trumpet works--and that's really cool.
Overall, a great film to teach anyone (not just kids) about the fundamentals of music AND it does it in a way that isn't boring. Who would have thought this was possible?!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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