Minnie

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.....A no-brainer for marketers (but a bit of a challenge from a practical standpoint), this volume clearly displays a certain level of desperation by Disney Home Video, as three of the shorts on this volume feature Pinocchio's Figaro, which is in stark contrast to the other four shorts, which are a companion piece to the Mickey volume (as one would expect for a Minnie Mouse-themed video release). The four Mickey series shorts add to the portrait of Mickey, with an obvious focus on the long-lived romance between Mickey and Minnie. However, even with these four shorts, one cannot help but presume that this cassette was one of the lower-selling volumes of the series. Running Time: Approx. 52 Minutes

Contents


Introduction - Unsurprisingly, the intro stuff is exactly the same as the other volumes, with the exception of the Minnie title card.
"Plane Crazy" - The first Mickey Mouse short to be produced is quite the primitive affair by today's standards, but still holds its charm when measured against the many, many great hours of entertainment that it spawned. The print used here is in very fine shape, if just a little too dark, and centered poorly (as was the case with just about all of the early Disney shorts from 1928-1930 in the videos, due to the odd 1.27:1 aspect ratio the films were shot in). The only real flaw with the short as presented is a video mastering error as Mickey finishes turning his car into a plane-the tape transfer seems to have gotten garbled in the mastering process (and is consistent over multiple copies of this volume).
"Mickey's Rival" - It is a well-known fact that Mickey was originally intended to be named Mortimer, before Lillian Disney convinced her husband that the name sounded too pretentious. So, with a keen wit (and a deft parody of Walt Disney himself), Mortimer Mouse was created as a rival for Mickey. While he appeared just this one time in the classic era, Mortimer has remained popular to this day, including a revival of sorts in MouseWorks and House of Mouse. Mickey and Minnie look quite anachronistic in their classic '30s designs, compared to the more modern looking Mortimer, who is definitely the city mouse to Mickey's country cousin. The print here is unfortunately quite blurry, but still maintains a great vibrancy for such an enjoyable short.
"First Aiders" - Perhaps the most curious short in this collection, "First Aiders" is not only a Pluto cartoon featuring Figaro, but a now obscure World War II-themed cartoon that places Minnie in the role of a volunteer nurse. While the scenario is quite dated, the application is strong enough so as to allow for an enjoyable cartoon. For Minnie, it presents her as a bit of an independent woman, something that was largely unheard of at the time, but would eventually become a key facet of the modern Minnie. As seen here, the cartoon is in fine shape, and has aged quite well.
"The Nifty Nineties" - Often regarded as the height of classic Mickey design (and the beginning of Mickey's more ovular ear design), this short is an enjoyable romp through the gay nineties, starring Mickey and Minnie and featuring cameos by Donald, Daisy, Huey, Duey, Louie, and Goofy in a delightful period setting. The centerpiece of the short is the vaudeville show, with features a silly and melodramatic slide show, "Father, Dear Father", and a comedy act by Fred and Ward-clever insertions of Disney staffers Fred Moore and Ward Kimball. An enjoyable must-see (which oddly predates "First Aiders" by three years), this short looks old on this volume, but still maintains its loving charm.
"Bath Day" - Built around one of the classic "cat" clichés, this short seems oddly out of place, as it barely features Minnie, instead focusing on Figaro (no surprise, since it's his short, after all). While it's always good to see a rare cartoon like this on home video (and in such reasonably good shape), one has to wonder if there wasn't a better short (and possibly another black and white Mickey, at that).
"Mickey's Delayed Date" - An enjoyable latter day Mickey, this short is sadly pandemic of Mickey's fading personality. However, this makes it a perfect addition for the Minnie cassette, as it helps to flesh out Mickey's career path as seen in his volume. The reissue print used is quite darkened, though.
"Figaro and Frankie" - Another oddball on this volume, "Figaro and Frankie" was very derivative even when it premeired in 1947, as Sylvester and Tweety were first paired together that same year, to Oscar winning results. Minnie isn't well served in this short, which scores points for a high quality transfer to video, but loses those same points for its inappropriateness on this volume.

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