Registering the Registry 2021: Flowers & Trees (1932)

Hang on, the lady tree in the short doesn’t have…
Staff photo, 1932.
Round out the body and it’s a natural fit for Mickey Mouse.
Disney with his honorable Oscar for creating Mickey.
Gillette (left) with Walt and their star.
  • Nobody on the animation team seems to have possessed the slightest idea or agreement on how to make the trees walk, as sometimes they slide around with amorphous globs for feet, sometimes there’s detail work to show their roots breaking from and reentering the ground, and sometimes they’ve completely normal feet, with no consistency.
  • The attention to detail when the lady tree powders herself with a daffodil and her reflection in the pool has softer linework and colors is very nice.
  • Our evil tree shifts his design throughout according to his menace, starting with harder shadows at his borders and little sharp fangs before his defeat transforms him into lighter tones and buckteeth, and the moment when the animate flames leap upon his back finds him completely cartoony and nonthreatening, even comically pitiable.
  • I ADORE the confluence of the gnarled tree engineering his own downfall by using a weapon just as likely to consume him as anyone else, and the last little hotfoot taking shelter under a leaf until his flame burns through the underside and releases the water pooled above, extinguishing him.
  • No matter how many times old school Disney used the idea of an owl’s neck extending and balding as his body comically inflates and deflates with each hoot, I never grow tired or find it any less amusing.
  • Someone please tell me if I’m crazy seeing this: the sunflowers are designed with big round eyes, all-black faces, and overlarge white lips, and they spend a not inconsiderable amount of the short dancing as accessories to the trees and providing service by arranging themselves into a bouquet. If there IS anything to it, it’s the most benign example I’ve ever seen, but I’ve watched a good deal of early Disney cartoons, and it dawns on me the flowers are drawn with a fair deal of similarity to other characters who are 100% meant as animated blackface. Am I off the mark on this? Sound off in the comments.
Right?????
Just ain’t the same.
All screenshots of the cartoon come courtesy the Internet Animation Database.

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Gargus

Gargus

I write on the National Film Registry. Articles appear biweekly. Any pronouns will do. Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/gargus