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RUNNING TIME: 230 Minutes
• Introductions by Leonard Maltin
• "A Day in the Life of Donald Duck"
• Various interviews and featurettes
• War Years Timeline
Does Donald Duck really need a pitch? Most popular Disney Character…hell…one of the most popular cartoon characters ever.
"I’ll be a damn unicorn if I wanna be!"
(Yeah I know that was lame but gimme a break!)
Since Donald’s Voice is as popular as he is I’ll list Clarence "Ducky" Nash…oh and Leonard Maltin.
Donald Duck starred in a lot of shorts from ’42 – ’46. They’re all here. Basic nutshell of a Donald Duck film? Something pisses him off. His reactions to said "something" are what makes these shorts irresistible.
Donald tried to deny his relationship with the Abominable Snowman, but the evidence was as plain as the nose on his face.
First thing you’re going to notice, obviously, is the artwork. As with all releases under the Treasures umbrella, you have a tin case with the raised Disney Treasures Logo with an image of Donald inset in the center. Classy, sleek…very well done. When you open the tin case, you’ll see the standard 2-Disk amaray case. Problem here (again – if you read my stuff regularly) is the use of the same artwork on both the tin case and the amaray. There are MILLIONS of images of Donald Duck that could have taken up the space on the amaray case. I can understand the interest of continuity, so while I don’t find it necessarily lazy, I do see it as a lost opportunity.
Quality-wise, this is a very decent set. Not a demo disc but nothing to complain about. At least – not to me. What I mean by that is the original prints on all of these shorts are damaged in some way. Scratches, pops and dust litter the screen at every turn. I don’t mind because, for one, these prints were made in the forties, so you got to take that into consideration, but not only that, we’ve all grown up watching these on The Disney Channel and that’s what we’ve gotten used to seeing. I notice the anomalies in the print when I watch this DVD but I don’t feel like it hurts the quality. If anything, it kind of maintains some nostalgia. These wouldn’t be the same if they were super-polished. Now I will say they did clean up the audio and it sounds very nice, even if it is only in Dolby 2.0 Mono.
One of Donald’s least successful films was his adaptation of Thor. It was a valiant effort but he just couldn’t pull it off.
In the bonus department, I wouldn’t call this a stacked set, but there are some decent features. Disney Historian Leonard Maltin introduces each disc and segment and even though he comes off like a total fanboy (which, well, he is) it’s still fun to see his enthusiasm. Maltin also does an interview with Tony Anselmo, Donald’s voice from ’87 to now. Another notable feature is an episode of Disneyland called "A Day in the Life of Donald Duck." It’s mostly boring fluff but it’s worth watching just to see cartoon Donald get into an argument with his (then) voice, Clarence Nash. Above and beyond that there are some art and animation featurettes (including one about Donald Duck Comic Artist Carl Barks) and some still galleries. There’s also a news-reelish War Era Timeline that showcases Disney Studios’ achievements during the war.
It’s Donald Duck. Possibly my favorite cartoon character of all time. And not just me – Donald was Disney’s number one star at that era. Between the ‘40s and ‘50s, Disney made 106 Donald films, 49 Goofys and 14 Mickeys. Those Mouse Ears may be the iconic faceplate of the Disney empire, but Donald Duck is without a doubt the big horse in the stable.
I really can’t write too much about this without it sounding masturbatory, but I will say that every episode in this set is fantastic. A few notables (hell they’re all notable, but I digress) include Donald’s Ice Fight, in which he gets into a snowball fight with his nephews, Duck Pimples, which is actually the first Donald short I ever saw, Donald’s Crime, which was nominated for on Oscar and Der Fuehrer’s Face, which is the only Donald short to ever win the Oscar.
The guest IS always right – unless of course that guest is Chester Rush. Then the guest is fucking awesome.
Now, speaking of Der Fuehrer’s Face, there are two sections on the first disc. One section is the regular shorts, and the "From the Vault" section contains all of Donald’s Wartime Shorts. Now they fall in the same timeline as the others, they are Donald shorts, so I don’t understand why they had to be separated. Although it does bear mentioning that all of the "From the Vault" shorts had been previously released on the On the Front Lines Treasures set.
All-in-all this set is a must have. If you’re a fan of Donald, animation, Disney Studios or WWII-era America then you’ll find plenty to love here.
9.0 out of 10