Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Here is the list of the 13 Disney Oswald cartoons known to exist & included in this set:
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.
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.Read more ›
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
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well, this set has been out for nearly 10 years, and I only just got around to viewing the whole thing, but at least it is still available for purchase at an... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Monty Moonlight
This is so fun! We've been looking for Oswald DVDs for some time and were thrilled to find these. The collector case plus bonus inserts make this a fun present. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Wonderwicket
the cartoons are the bonus feature for me. Best documentary I've seen since marwencol. It shows just how great iwerks was and how a great man can make a bad decision. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Bill Lumberg
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