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Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit


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Product Details

  • Actors: Walt Disney, Bernice Hansen
  • Directors: Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks
  • Writers: Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks, Carl W. Stalling
  • Producers: Walt Disney, Charles Mintz, Roy O. Disney
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2007
  • Run Time: 234 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VE4UCO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,074 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" on IMDb

Special Features

Oswald Comes Home

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Before Mickey there was Oswald, the floppy-eared star of Walt Disney's first cartoon series, THE ADVENTURES OF OSWALD THE LUCKY RABBIT. Fun and mischievous, the cheerful rabbit's popularity quickly multiplied, and so did his shorts. Between 1927 and 1928, Disney created a bounty of legendary and rarely seen Oswald cartoons. Now for the first time ever on DVD, we present the premiere collection of Disney's Oswald shorts -- all featuring new scores composed especially for this release. The long-lost rabbit's life story, from his birth to his long-awaited return to Disney, and a documentary on the legendary Ub Iwerks set the stage for the comeback of one of the most important stars in Disney's menagerie. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.

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Before Mickey, there was Oswald: By 1926, Walt Disney's first series, the live-action/animation "Alice" comedies, had run its course. Under pressure from distributor Charles Mintz and Carl Laemmle of Universal, Disney and his artists created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1927. Within months, Moving Picture World praised the cartoons' "astounding feat of jumping into first-run favor overnight." During the "Oswald" series, Disney's talents as an organizer and story man began to emerge; his friend and head animator Ub Iwerks designed Oswald's appearance and imbued him with a jaunty style of movement. But in 1928, Mintz took the character away from Disney. To replace Oswald, Walt created Mickey Mouse.

This important collection includes the 13 surviving silent "Oswald" shorts (of 26). Many of them feel like rough drafts for later Mickey cartoons. When Oswald enters a trans-Atlantic race in "The Ocean Hop," the antics he performs in his airplane prefigure the ones in "Plane Crazy." In "Sky Scrappers," Oswald takes a job on a construction site where his girlfriend (an unnamed cat) sells box lunches, anticipating the Mickey and Minnie cartoon "Building a Building" (1933)--down to the opening shot of a dinosaur-like steam shovel at work. The silent "Oswald" shorts have rarely been seen since they were first released 80 years ago: Some viewers may grow impatient with these relatively crude cartoons, but they remain intriguing examples into Walt Disney's early work.

Leslie Iwerks' informative documentary The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story (1999) traces the life of her grandfather. One of the greatest talents of the silent cartoon era, Ub Iwerks animated the first Mickey shorts and "Silly Symphonies" almost single-handedly. Iwerks left Disney to start his own studio in 1930. Although it attracted an impressive array of talent, it closed in 1938. Two years later, Iwerks returned to Disney, where he won two Oscars for innovations in visual effects technology. Hand suggests that the Iwerks cartoons were too sophisticated for the era of the Hays Code. But for all his talent as an animator and technical innovator, Iwerks was not an effective director: His studio's cartoons simply weren't very good. Included on this disc are three "Alice" comedies, "Plane Crazy," "Steamboat Willie," and "The Skeleton Dance," which showcase Iwerks' endearingly bouncy animation. (Unrated: suitable for all ages: cartoon violence) --Charles Solomon

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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By the way, some of the post-Disney Oswalds are also now available on DVD.
Julie Neal
The shorts are very funny with no dead space and the documentary taught me much about a man I knew little about, Ub Iwerks, who was way ahead of his time.
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b
The documentary takes up more time than all the Oswald cartoons included, and it's fabulous.
Steve Ramm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Julie Neal VINE VOICE on September 2, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
They may be too primitive to enjoy for their entertainment value alone, but these 13 silent, black-and-white cartoons from the 1920s have a ton of historic value. They're what remains of the 26 shorts Walt Disney did just before Mickey Mouse, during 1927 and 1928. The animation team included a trio of future stars -- Ub Iwerks, who would go on to draw Mickey, Friz Freleng, who later drew many Bugs Bunny cartoons, and Rudy Ising, who went on to run Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies unit.

Though he got off to a rocky start, Oswald was plenty popular. With the same engaging, spunky personality as his rodent successor, the Lucky Rabbit even had his own merchandise -- a chocolate-covered marshmallow Oswald candy bar, a stencil set and a pin-backed button. In 1928 Disney lost the rights to the rabbit to the shady distributor for Universal, replacing him with the very similar looking mouse we know and love today. Disney regained them in 2006, in exchange for allowing then-ABC television sportscaster Al Michaels to go to work for Universal's network, NBC.

The cartoons have new, orchestral soundtracks by Robert Israel, who earlier created the scores for The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Vols. 1-3.

What makes the set terrific, however, are two unexpected additions. First, most of the shorts come with audio commentary, which really makes them interesting. Second, Disc 2 is a Academy Award quality (really!) documentary about Iwerks, called "The Hand Behind the Mouse," that was produced by his granddaughter, Leslie. Since it wasn't created by the Disney company, it's an honest, balanced, warts-and-all portrayal.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Mular TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 15, 2007
Format: DVD
While not classic Disney animation, these cartoons are far ahead of the other cartoons produced at the same time. This is one of the most historic Disney DVD releases ever. The loss of Oswald was the thorn in Walt's foot. This drove Walt to change his business practices. Sadly less than half of the Walt Disney produced Oswald Rabbit cartoons survive today.

DISC #1

Here is the list of the 13 Disney Oswald cartoons known to exist & included in this set:

1927
TROLLY TROUBES - Oswald orpeates a trolly car with wild results.
OH, TEACHER - Oswald's sweetheart is stolen by a schoolyard bully, so he has to fight him during recess to win her back.
MECHANICAL COW, THE - Oswald aopeates a milk stand using a robot cow who gives milk like a gas pump.
GREAT GUNS - Oswald goes to war, his nurse gilrfriend helps to keep him in one shape as he fights in the trenches.
ALL WET - Oswald takes a job as a lifeguard to keep an eye on Miss Rabbit, who fakes an accident for his attentions.
OCEAN HOP, THE - Oswald goes up in a Trans-Atlantic airplane race.

1928
RIVAL ROMEOS - Oswald and Pete rival for the attentions of Lady Love.
BRIGHT LIGHTS - "Stage Door Johnny" Oswald sneaks backstage to pursue a dancing girl.
OH, WHAT A KNIGHT - Oswald's medieval sweetheart is being help captive in a castle, he mist rescue her.
OZZIE OF THE MOUNTED - R.C.M.P. Ozzie pursues Pete in the guise of Foxy Wolf.
SKY SCRAPERS - Oswald takes a job on a construction site working high steel with Pete as his foreman.
FOX CHASE, THE - Oswald rides a reluctant horse against a smarter-than-usual fox.
TALL TIMBER - Oswald goes out into the great outdoors where he canoes down the rapids and finds himself captured by a pack of bears.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By xxgrendelxx on September 9, 2007
Format: DVD
If you're like me, you've taken great pleasure in watching vintage cartoons over the years and have only heard of the existence of some - cartoons you might never have expected to see.
Regardless of what the actual quality of the material may be, it is an itch that until recently has been very tough to scratch without hundreds of dollars for low-print run laserdiscs or a doctorate in pop culture and letters of introduction to all the major studios.

I'm just about 39 now and have heard of the Oswald cartoons for years. In this instance - and in others - the rarity of the material, the legalities involved, and the virtual absence of major commercial interest meant that these might have stayed locked in a vault 'til Judgement Day and I would never have the chance as a layman to see them (much less OWN them!).

I can hardly express how pleased I am to witness Disney release these in a popular format for the general public - and at a dynamite value, too!

As an enthusiast of 1920's/1930's era cartoons I'd like to say "Thank you!" to the Disney Co. and express my appreciation for their blazing a trail other companies and distributors might follow in releasing so many of the '30s era short films on dvd and proving that there IS a market for such material.

Happy Viewing! -Jon, NY
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 50 REVIEWER on December 24, 2007
Format: DVD
Lately I've been reviewing a whole bunch of DVDS that, for some strange reason, have titles and packaging which hide the real gems inside the boxes. This latest volume in the "Disney Treasures" series is just another one. NO.. I'm not saying not to buy it. You should. I'm just harping on Disney for keeping the prize hidden inside.

In this case the "prize" is the wonderful two -hour documentary on UbIwerks made in 1999 by his granddaughter, Leslie, which was out on VHS but is long out of print. Yet, surprisingly, this whole "Oswald" set should have been called "Ub Iwerks: The Link between Walt and Mickey (featuring Oswald and Alice)". THAT would have said something. The documentary takes up more time than all the Oswald cartoons included, and it's fabulous. You'll learn about all the work he did when he created his own studio. (In fact this documentary led me to seek out more of Iweks films. And you'll learn how he is the one who made Hitchcock's "The Birds" work! This documentary should have been promoted more.

But as to Oswald, the cartoons are well done and the prints are decent. (As you'll learn in another short featurette, they had to see out existing prints as most of the originals were discarded.) And the story of how Oswald was re-acquired by Disney in a trade for a TV sports commentator is fascinating.

I'm glad that Disney is reissuing this material in these nice collectors sets and only wish they'd come out more often. If nothing else, you need this volume to learn more about, not Walt, but Ub and the amazing things he did!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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