|Posted by Moviefan12 on September 20, 2012 at 7:00 AM|
Tim: Hello and welcome back to Classic Shorts Showcase. Today, I'll be taking a look at one of the most powerful and haunting shorts from Disney. Today on Showcase, I'll be looking at The Old Mill but I will not be alone as Jason will be joining me in looking at this short. Please, help me in welcoming Jason to Classic Shorts Showcase.
Jason on the House: Tim, thanks a lot for allowing me to join you on Classic Shorts Showcase. As The Old Mill, I first came across the short during when I was looking at early Academy-Award-winning Disney's short animared films, and The Old Mill was one of them. The Old Mill is a special film not only because of that, but also it introduced a number techniques and approaches still used in modern animation today.
Tim: Well, to be honest there really isn't much of a plot here. Instead this short like Farmyard Symphony is more like a series of vignettes that are only connected through the location. In this case being The Old Mill. Although I must say unlike Farmyard Symphony, I find that short is more freeing in what it does with the animals featured. Who are one of the biggest highlights of this entire short. I'll talk about one of them in a bit as instead of talking about characters, here I want to focus on one of my favorite moments. Although if your curious, this moment was parodied in The Simpsons. (I only know this because of the site I use for the pictures for these reviews).
Jason On The House: This short reminds me of a peaceful, memorable essay by a French writer Alphonse Daudet, who wrote about his life in a countryside. The essay was about an old, abandoned mill with its sole inhabitants as animals. There were so many amazing scenes in the short, but my favourite moment is the singing of the frogs in the night, where they sing so cheerfully and happily with their friends in a playful rhythm. It was also very interesting that the animals in the mill are looking at us and react as if there is a cameraman filming them.
The first meeting of the Budweiser Frogs
The Old Mill
Tim: While the animals are a highlight of this short, there is no doubt while watching the short who the star is. It's The Old Mill. There are is just so much life & detail put into The Old Mill. I think we of course have to attribute the life of The Old Mill to the usage of the new techniques used in the short such as the mutliplane camera. Going back to The Mill feeling as though it is alive, I also believe this comes through in how the short shows the Mill age and the damage that it takes after a big storm as it looks even more wore down and tired than it already was. It is almost hauntingly beautiful, how this short is able to convey how old this place without have to have characters talking about it.
Jason On The House: Indeed the star of this short film is the old mill. I once visited the inside of the ancient, still-working windmills when I visited Netherlands several years back, and the inside was very intimidating and imposing, but filled with life. This milll felt as real and alive as those mills, and it was very haunting and ironic that a peaceful shelter for animals turns into a frightening, perilous hell during a storm. The details and how they showed the mechanism of the mill is stunningly beautiful, and an interesting thing in the short film is that we never see the full view of the inside of the mill, and we only see parts of it.
Tim: I've decided that to understand this short, we also need to take a look at what I believe are the short's memorable moments.
Tim: Now one of the first big ones to talk about is of course the storm
Tim: This again ties into what I was saying about the short showing the mill aging and I highly believe that the storm is the best example of that. There's a sense of you know it's coming and you think it's going to do a lot of damage but you just don't know how hard it's going to hit until the wind comes.
This is just an indication of how rough the storm'll be. Okay, now I want to talk about the moment I referenced uptop.
Tim: This sequence right here is my favorite from the short. It's a simple moment but watching the bird trying to avoid the wheel as it kept on turning had me saying "Get out of there". Luckily the bird survived but with the way, the scene was presented I didn't know if the bird would make it. I honestly think that says something for this one little sequence.
Jason On The House: Although I know Disney wouldn't let us see a mother bird die with her eggs, I'm always at the edge of my seat in that scene, terrified of the little bird's fate. It was the most memorable moment for me too, but not my favourite, because the scene makes me very scared every time. During the chaos from the storm, however, the passionate pigeon couple made me smile.
This short film was released during the production of Snow White, and many effects make me think of the climax of the film, where we see thunders, rainstorms, and lightening which made the climax much more terrifying. I think this short film was Walt's special experiment for special effects before being used for his first feature length film, and he succeeded. The strom is one of the most frightening one I have ever seen, as it starts from stirring the roots of singing trees and grass and then threatening the fragile mill.
Our Final Thoughts
Tim: This short is quite amazing and very beautiful to look at. Everything works in this short. This is a short that has a lot of intense moments yet it's also quiet at the same time. It's amazing how those two things came together to make such an entertaining short. This is one that I highly suggest and if you know me, I'm going to use my favorite phrase of beautifully simple but I feel the need to clarify. There are a lot of great and intense moments such as the storm and the mother bird but I believe that overall that this is a simple but enjoyable short and simple in this case is good.
Jason On The House: I couldn't agree more with you that this short is so beautiful, but it was also haunting during the storm scene, because the only place the animals can take refuge in times of danger was threatened, putting the fragile animals in danger. The mommy bird scene still scares me very much; however, it's indeed a simple and a really delightful short overall. Tim, thank you so much for inviting me to my favourite section of A Look at Disney, and it was truly an honor.
Tim: My pleasure and I hope the rest of you enjoyed this special edition of Classic Shorts Showcase. Join me, next time when I look at...
Babes In The Woods