Walt Disney Home Video presents
Classic Cartoon Favorites: Starring Donald (1937-1950)
"Oh, so you want to be obstinate, eh?"- Donald Duck (Clarence Nash)
Stars: Clarence Nash
Director: Jack Hannah, Ben Sharpsteen, Wilfred Jackson, Jack King
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:59m:33s
Release Date: 2005-01-18
DVD ReviewAlthough Mickey Mouse is the Disney Studio figurehead, it didn't take long for Donald Duck to become the most popular of the cartoon characters from the studio. Donald starred in over 150 one-reel shorts over a period of twenty years, sputtering and raging incomprehensibly over the vexations caused by his enemies or just his life in general. This disc collects eight classics of Donald's career, with emphasis on the earlier years.
Donald often ends up being defined by his enemies. In a pair of shorts here, a feisty bumblebee is after Donald, first as the duck attempts to paste wallpaper in Inferior Decorator (1948) and again in the sequel, Bee at the Beach (1950). Golden Eggs (1941) finds Donald up against a rooster who thinks Donald is overworking his hens. Mickey's dog Pluto unwillingly finds himself the center of Donald's attention in Donald's Dog Laundry (1940). In Donald's Vacation (1940), probably the funniest short on the disc, Donald runs up against a bunch of chipmunks (prototypes for Chip n Dale, apparently), a recalcitrant folding chair, and a brown bear.
But Donald is perhaps funniest when he's just up against himself. In the first Donald Duck short proper, Don Donald (1937), he attempts to romance Daisy (here called Donna) and ends up making a fool of himself. Chef Donald (1941) features the duck trying to make waffles along with a radio cooking show, but he accidentally gets rubber cement into his batter and soon the house is in ruins.
This is a good collection if you want a smattering of Donald and aren't up to the comprehensive treatment in the Walt Disney Treasures series. The artistry of the cartooning is evident, and the writing (often by noted Donald Duck comics artist Carl Barks) is clever and inventive.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The shorts are rather uneven in visual quality. Most of them look very nice, apparently as a result of restoration prior to inclusion in the Walt Disney Treasures series. But Inferior Decorator looks, well, substantially inferior. It's very soft and dupey, with poor definition. It looks like a videotape that has had excessive digital noise reduction applied, which ends up eradicating a fair amount of line work with it. The rest of the films look sharp, crisp and colorful though aliasing is evident throughout.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono tracks sound quite nice, with minimal hiss and noise. The background music has good depth and presence for a mono track. Donald is as always impossible to understand, but on DVD at least you have the benefit of subtitles (and in this case, also closed captioning).
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Extras Review: There are no extras. Disney extols a "FastPlay" feature that starts the disc without going through a menu, allowing youngsters to play the disc without using the remote. Unfortunately, that also means having to watch the ads for the upcoming Bambi and Cinderella DVDs, though they are skippable...if you use the remote. The "over an hour" stated on the keepcase is true only if you count the durations of these ads.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsDVD is the best medium for the Duck for a simple reason: subtitles. One lousy transfer and seven excellent ones, but no extras to be seen.
Mark Zimmer 2005-01-18