Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Vintage Mickey (Animation)

Vintage Mickey (Animation)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Animation: A-



We hear so much about Walt Disney the company that we do not hear enough about the man or his great early work.  Though he put the animated feature on the map, his achievements go far beyond that.  Before inevitable competition from Warner, MGM, Paramount/Fleischer and other studios in the animation field, he was breaking ground in shorts.  Vintage Mickey is a single DVD release that offers the early evolution of the Disney short beginning with the immortal Steamboat Willie (1929), acknowledged as the first sound animated short.  This caused a sensation and Walt Disney’s reputation as an innovator and creative force just grew and grew.


Though not 100% dead on, the short was as significant as The Jazz Singer (1927) in breaking sound into film forever.  The following shorts show the evolution of the monochrome sound short at the company up to 1934, though is hardly the entire output Disney managed in the field:


1)     Steamboat Willie

2)     Plane Crazy

3)     The Karnival Kid

4)     The Birthday Party

5)     The Castaway

6)     Mickey’s Orphans

7)     Mickey’s Review

8)     Building A Building

9)     Mickey’s Steam Roller



All show a love of the art form and hold up remarkably well for their age.  From the rubbery form otherwise solid objects take, to the innovation of the click-track, to absurd rules of physics that govern the live action world but not that of animation, many of the innovations are still with us 80 years later.  They are all also authentically funny and very entertaining.  In an age of computer-generated animation, they become all the more remarkable.  Though a basic DVD, Vintage Mickey is a key release and one of the best non-feature titles from Disney on DVD to date.


The shorts are all 1.33 X 1, though Steamboat Willie has been centered in the middle of the screen invisibly at a 16 X 9/1.78 X 1 ratio, though without image loss and sadly not anamorphically enhanced.  Though the prints have some artifacts and other signs of aging, they get better as they go along.  Hopefully, the company will have these saved in pristine copies by the time digital HD rolls around.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is varied but as clear as possible for these copies.  The first seven shorts originated in the Powers Cinephone analog mono format, while the RCA Photophone optical sound system the company became associated with was used on the last two.  You can hear audio differences, though ironically, it was the competing Westrex system that Hollywood used more.  RCA would work with Disney on the experimental stereo for the 1940 classic Fantasia dubbed “Fantasound” that surprised everyone.  There are no extras except previews that start before the shorts and can be accessed through the menus, but a more comprehensive collection should be issued down the line.  For all ages, Vintage Mickey is a must see set worth your time.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com