A Mickey Mouse Reader just arrived in my mailbox a week ago and so far it has been fascinating reading. The general public does not seem to even comprehend the popularity of Disney’s Mickey Mouse in the late 1920s and early 1930s, least of all among the intellectual crowd.
The above cartoon, The Jazz Fool, is hardly anyone’s favorite Mickey Mouse short these days. Amongst the “Mickey and friends put on a show” shorts from this period, I much prefer Blue Rhythm. Yet one of the pieces in this book, an excerpt from French writer Pierre Scize’s 1929 “The Cinema,” declares it nothing short of a “masterpiece” and goes on to praise animated talkies in general:
“Animated cartoons. Synchronized with sound on film, these new creations offer a hundred pure delights. Of course, they would be remarkable even if silent. Their technique, their lyrical fantasy combined with the freedom, nay, the incredible imagination that informs their production would touch the soul of a mute. Never have pictures achieved greater, more varied effects, never has freer rein been given to lively antics and subtle humor. The inventiveness of their creator is astounding. Nothing impedes his verve, nothing limits it. At each instant, the wit summoned forth by the most whimsical and amiable extravagance seems to push back the bounds of the medium– when suddenly, the next instant, a new and unexpected twist sends it off, towards even more drollery, and an ever greater and more astounding level of laughter.” ( A Mickey Mouse Reader 12)
Fascinating stuff. I cannot wait to dig in more.