Saturday, January 1, 2011

001 Der Fuehrer's Face

Title: Der Fuehrer's Face
Studio: Disney
Date: 01/01/43
Credits: (directed by Jack Kinney, song by Oliver Wallace)
Series: Donald Duck
Running time (of viewed version): 9:15 with Leonard, 7:56 without
Commercial DVD Availability: Chronological Donald volume 2, On the Front Lines (also a Donald volume?)

Synopsis: Donald Duck is a funny nazi, but it turns out to be a dream.

Comments: Disney abandoned this short to the "From the Vault" section of On the Front Lines. Especially egregious as it's the Academy Award winner for 1942 (how precisely this is to be accounted for is unclear to me; it is possible the date rules for the Academy Award were not the same then as now, or perhaps there was a token release of the cartoon before January 1 to qualify it; the cartoon seems to be solidly identified as a New Year's Day 1943 release). In addition to interrupting cartoon watching, forced introductions also taint the viewer's perceptions of a given cartoon, which is of course quite probably the point. There's some strange framing for some of the rank and file, cutting off the top of heads. Shadow shot. I wonder how much people reflected on the problems depicted as in Germany were also problems in the US (rationing, forced patriotism, working long hours for the war effort, etc.). And to what extent did people find it odd that Donald was a German, and a Nazi (until the eraser at the end)? The working in the munitions factory is more or less like "Lucy in the candy production line" skit. Crazy bombs look great. In shadow, the Statue of Liberty is the same as Hitler; bit of a dicey message. The dvd prevents you from skipping the intro, and screws up the audio if you skip around in a timeline as available on a computer dvd player. The song sounds very much like "It's a Small World", tho the songs do not share a composer. I wonder if celebrity caricature will be uniformly replaced with political caricature this year...

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