The Disney shorts of this era offer beautiful animation, lavish special effects, and elegantly painted backgrounds. But by 1942, Walt Disney's interests had shifted away from short films to features and war work. The artists at Warner Bros. and MGM were pushing the boundaries to make cartoons that were faster, brasher, and funnier. Compared to the work of Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, and Friz Freleng, the wartime Donald shorts feel tame. The mystery spoof "Duck Pimples" is one of the nuttiest shorts the Disney Studio ever released, but it can't match the take-no-prisoners insanity of Avery's "Red" cartoons, its obvious model.
Any serious Disneyphile or student of animation will want The Chronological Donald, as it's been impossible to see many of the cartoons for decades. The extras include "A Day in the Life of Donald Duck," a 1956 episode of "Disneyland" that features Donald arguing with Clarence Nash, the actor who provided his voice; and a conversation between host Leonard Maltin and Tony Anselmo, Donald's current voice. (Unrated, suitable for all ages: cartoon violence, tobacco use, ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon