This classic Academy Award winning Silly Symphony released in 1933 is one of the most famous Disney cartoons, and a leap forward for character development.
Watching it brought back a wave of nostalgia. I had seen this as a child, and the scenes with the Wolf blowing down Fifer and Fiddler Pig's homes was especially vivid.
On the right, the Wolf about to blow the house down.
Photo taken at The Walt Disney Family Museum.
There are some edgier little visual gags, such as the picture of "Father" as a link of sausages, which hangs in Practical Pig's house, and the Wolf's disguises are especially funny.
I was happy to discover the Disney Animation Collection 2, available on Netflix, not only features the The Three Little Pigs, but 2 of it's 3 sequels (I'm not sure why all 3 aren't on this) along with 4 other shorts.
Following the Three Little Pigs is it's 1934 sequel, The Big Bad Wolf, which adds Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandma into the mix.
While this isn't as strong as a whole, I feel the animation is better. The edginess continues, with the Wolf dressing as Grandma and breaking the 4th wall by asking how he's doing at one point. There is even a moment which "dates" this, when the Wolf imitates Jimmy Durante at one point.
This is followed by another sequel, Three Little Wolves, from 1936. By now I started wondering why Practical Pig continued saving his ungrateful and lazy brothers. But save them he does with his "Wolf Pacifier". This is even edgier, and, well, a bit odd, when at one point the Wolf dressed as Little Bo Peep, locks Fifer and Fiddler in behind him, to which the Pigs reply with a blush, "Why, Bo Peep!"
It's interesting to see the progression in the skill of the animators from one short to the next, and while this is the weakest of the 3 cartoons, it's the strongest animation.
The next cartoon is a wonderful short from 1952, which I featured here on Disney Musings in the past, Lambert the Sheepish Lion about a lion cub who is mistakenly left with a flock of sheep by a stork.
I've used the word edgy several times in this post, and this next animated short is the edgiest of the bunch, if not one of the edgiest cartoons by Disney ever! Chicken Little, released in 1943, is obviously an allegory for World War II, and has a very dark, disturbing, and cautionary ending.
The next cartoon is a Silly Symphony I'd never seen, The Three Blind Mousketeers, from 1936, which takes the 3 blind mice and makes them swashbuckling Musketeers, fighting a tyrannical cat trying to keep them from feasting. It starts rather slow, but gets more enjoyable as it goes on.
Rounding out the set is another Silly Symophony I'd never a seen, even though I've seen the star several times. Elmer Elephant, from 1936, is invited to Tillie Tiger's birthday party. Tillie loves Elmer, but the other animals incessant teasing drives him off, until an emergency flares up, and Elmer saves the day, and Tillie reveals her love for our hero. This is a very sweet cartoon, and a nice way to end the set.