By 1939, when the earliest films in this collection were made, Mickey Mouse was the most famous cartoon character in the world. The unsuccessful hunter in "The Pointer" (1939) and the irrepressible magician in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (1940) rank among his finest performances. In both films, he sparkles with vitality. But as Mickey grew more popular, more restrictions were placed on what he could do, and the character grew dull. Those restrictions become obvious when the viewer compares these films with the shorts on Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color
. In "Mickey's Birthday Party" (1942), he clowns and stumbles through a comic dance routine, but it feels like he's working for the laughs. In 1936, when a more impish Mickey danced with a deck of cards in "Thru the Mirror," the fun came from the stylish grace of his movements: That Mickey didn't need to mug for the camera. In the later films, Mickey serves as a genial straight man, with Pluto and other side characters supplying the comedy.
A new generation of animators faced the same problems and restrictions when they tried to revive the character in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (1983) and "The Prince and the Pauper" (1990). The extras include some deleted animation from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and the five opening sequences from the "Mickey Mouse Club" (1955), the last time Walt Disney provided the character's voice. (Rated G, suitable for all ages: minor cartoon violence, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
The celebration of Mickey's color capers continues in this second volume of shorts -- from "Society Dog Show" in 1939 to his last short, "The Simple Things," in 1953 -- and feature film appearances, giving you a decidedly colorful history of the most famous mouse in the world. This outstanding review of Mickey's color career spotlights some very special features, including his groundbreaking performance in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." You'll also get an inside look at Mickey's recent career through the eyes of his most recent animators, Mark Henn and Andreas Deja, and voice actors Wayne Allwine (Mickey) and Russi Taylor (Minnie). Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.