HTF MINI REVIEW: "Silly Symphonies"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Silly Symphonies

    I have to applaud Disney. If you took a look
    at their Walt Disney Treasures collection
    and had known their home video history these past
    10 years, you would be shaking your head in total
    disbelief.
    We used to constantly mock Disney for their lack
    of interest in the Home Video format during both
    the laserdisc era and the early DVD era. Trying to
    get them to release their most prized product to the
    formats became a hopeless cause.
    But over the past year or more, changes took place
    with management at the studio. Somebody over there
    smelled the coffee and realized the significance
    of this format and the need to get material released
    to the format. This change of attitude at Disney
    towards DVD has significantly skyrocketed business
    for the studio.
    Take these tins, for instance, that were released
    at the very end of last year. Mickey Mouse:
    In Living Color and Silly Symphonies.
    For those of us that knew Disney Home Video, this
    is a true earth-moving event for the studio
    to release this sort of material.
    I bought Mickey Mouse: In Living Color and
    have not had the opportunity to even look at its
    contents yet. I will admit that I staunchly hesitated
    to hold off on buying Silly Symphonies,
    because I felt that these would ultimately be
    cornball cartoons.
    Well, a friend of mine urged me to buy this set.
    He told me quite frankly, "You better buy this tin
    now as you can't readily find them anymore and these
    are cartoons that may never see the light of day again".
    In fear that I may miss out on a Collector's prize
    that may never be available again, I just ordered
    and received the Silly Symphonies 2-disc
    collection encased in a numbered tin.
    I am calling this a mini-review, because
    I have not had the opportunity to watch this entire
    collection. After watching a few of the cartoon shorts
    this morning, I felt the need to come to the forum
    and urge members to buy this set before it is gone.
    If nothing else, THIS is animation history.
    Silly Symphonies are the very earliest
    cartoons produced by Walt Disney starting in 1929
    and going through 1939. The premise was simple:
    put out fun little cartoons set to original music.
    Not only were these cartoons groundbreaking as far
    as animation was concerned, but the newly developed
    technicolor process also played an essential role
    in some of these early shorts. It's interesting
    to note that Walt Disney took a huge risk with the
    early 3-strip Technicolor technology and ended up
    having his short, Flowers and Trees win an
    Academy award (1932) as a result.
    I watched 4 of the 31 uncensored cartoons presented
    in this 2-disc collection. I can't begin to tell
    you how impressed I was with these cartoons. After
    70 years, these cartoons still seem fresh, displaying
    unique personality that hasn't dulled with age.
    Three Little Pigs was fun to watch. I
    remember seeing this short as a kid, and was thrilled
    to watch the pigs playing theit flute and violin
    dancing around without cares of the looming wolf.
    Skeleton Dance, a black and white short, is
    extremely eerie and entertaining. It's amazing to
    see how well black and white suits this cartoon.
    Flowers and Trees is a uniquely imaginative
    tale of singing flowers and trees who are suddenly
    disrupted by fire that rages through their forest.
    To watch the imaginative minds of the writers and
    animators who show flowers washing themselves in
    puddles or birds poking holes in clouds for rain,
    will bring a smile to your face.
    The quality of these shorts look great. Of course
    there are blemishes on the source material, but you
    can plainly see how carefully these shorts have
    been preserved for DVD. The audio sounds very clear.
    Many of these shorts have a personal introduction
    by film historian, Leonard Maltin who has
    great knowledge of the material as these were shorts
    that he grew up with and has fond remembrances of.
    I urge everyone to buy this tin before it disappears
    from shelves forever. It's a pinacle piece of
    Disney history that clearly shows why the studio
    quickly rose to historical status.
     
  2. Jeff Swindoll

    Jeff Swindoll Supporting Actor

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    The DVD Gods must've been smiling upon me because I came across the Silly Symphonies set wandering through Walmart. Looked like the only one they had. I havent had time to give it a spin, but it looks most impressive. Pity that Wallymart didnt have the Mickey Mouse one or I'd have gotten it as well. Looks like the House of Mouse is coming around to DVD with these sets and the nice 2 disc Tron set [​IMG].
    I'd disagree a small bit with your comment about LD. Disney produced some of my favourite LDs (methinks they called it the Archives series), 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (when it comes to DVD it better get the Tron treatment [​IMG] ) and the SE LD of Peter Pan. We'll see how much of the LD Peter Pan makes it to the DVD. I recall the LD had a great amount of conceptual drawings and I'm wondering if all of those will make the DVD cut.
     
  3. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  4. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    Great review, Ron. Luckily I have mine.

    As others note, Disney was actually quite good to the LD Collector....many box sets, "Classic" releases and rarely a bare bones offering. I do recall they got kind of pissy when the MICKEY MOUSE B&W Collection failed to sell well-but that was late in the game.

    I hope we see 20.000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, soon...
     
  5. Michael St. Clair

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    Disney on LD was fantastic and I don't remember any complaints. I'll never sell my 'Toy Story' box with the lenticular print and the cool booklet and especially the complete (up to that point) set of Pixar shorts!
    And you certainly can't have my full bitrate DTS discs like 'Hercules' and 'Hunchback' (not that the new DVDs typically have DTS at all).
    We can only hope that they have enough sense to include the Work In Progress version of 'Beauty and the Beast' when they release said film later this year.
     
  6. Kevin Porter

    Kevin Porter Supporting Actor

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    So do ya'll think this will be a limited production thing? If so, then I need to order mine from deepdiscountdvd.com right away.

    ~Kevin
     
  7. Kevin Porter

    Kevin Porter Supporting Actor

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    BTW, how much did U pay for it? The cheapest I can find it for is 23.00.

    ~Kevin
     
  8. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Totally agree, Ron. I have the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony collections. They are magnificent and form pride of place in my collection. Many years ago I used to buy Disney films on 8mm and it would have cost a fortune to have bought this Disney collection - even if they had been available! These DVDs in comparison, are an absolute bargain.
     
  9. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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  10. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Disney, I think, has learned that UNCENSORED animation sells!

    Both the SS and Mickey DVD's are top-notch and are highly entertaining. I would have liked more Mickey cartoons on the MM DVD (It's 2 single layered discs), but I know the Mickey cartoons are hot property. Thanks to these two Walt Disney Treasures cartoon DVD's, Fantasia 2000, and Snow White, I now have 66 Disney cartoons on DVD.

    I hope Disney continues this line of limited edition sets with compilations of Donald, Goofy, and B&W Mickey cartoons as well as DVD's with WWII animation and even seasons of Zorro. The other studios with libraries of cartoons..

    Warner Bros: Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies, 1933-1957 Popeye, Tom & Jerry, Tex Avery, the 1941-1943 Superman cartoons, and the pre-1986 MGM cartoons. (One unremarkable Tom & Jerry DVD has been released)

    MGM: Pink Panther and some assorted Depatie-Freleng cartoons (One laserdisc re-package of some PP ashorts on DVD.)

    Republic: Koko The Clown, Betty Boop, The rest of the Max and Dave Fleischer cartoons (other than the Popeyes), and the 1942-1950 Paramount cartoons.

    Paramount: Heckle and Jeckle, Mighty Mouse, and 1962-1967 Paramount cartoons.

    Universal: Woody Woodpecker, and other Walter Lantz cartoons

    Columbia: Fox & the Crow, Gerald McBoingBoing, Mr. Magoo, other assorted Screen Gems cartoons

    Blackhawk Films: ComicColors (Ub Iwerks cartoons), Van Buren cartoons (The 3 Felix the Cat cartoons, for example)

    Of these, only Blackhawk has released volumes of cartoons. All the studios need to do what Disney is doing...RELEASING CARTOONS TO DVD!
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I need to further clarify my statements

    concerning Disney and laserdiscs.

    While it is very true that Disney did put out

    some incredible laserdisc releases -- those of us

    involved in the format from the beginning can clearly

    tell you that all this did not come until several

    years into the format.

    It was a bit of a struggle to urge Disney to put

    product out on laserdisc. When they finally started

    to, it was a struggle to get them to put out better

    product.

    By the time Disney was doing justice to the laserdisc

    format, DVD was on the horizon.

    History repeated itself in 1997 when the studio

    withheld from entry into the DVD format and then

    when initially entered, lagged behind other studios

    in releasing quality product.

    Of course, this is now all forgiven history as

    Disney is putting out incredible DVD packages and

    has done a remarkable contribution to the format's

    growth.
     
  12. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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    This bears repeating. And I've watched all 37 (or whatever) shorts, easter eggs and all.
     
  13. Kevin Porter

    Kevin Porter Supporting Actor

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    I'll ask once again, is it a limited thing or will production continue for a long time?

    ~Kevin
     
  14. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin,

    Each of the sets are limited to 150,000 copies. After those are gone thats it. If I was you I'd grab them while you can.

    Richard
     
  15. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    The that because this Tresures series has sold so well we will be seeing more and more Disney on DVD!!!
     
  16. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    I give Disney the highest of praise for these sets. They truly made my Christmas special.
     
  17. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the heads up, guys! I just ordered my copy from Amazon! Can't wait to get it!
     
  18. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    Thanks for the review Ron, I was sorta on the cliff with these releases and your review just toppled me over. I just ordered the Silly Symphonies and Mickey Mouse tins from Amazon.com ...woohoo [​IMG]
     
  19. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

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    Would Amazon still have then in two weeks, because I don't get my allowace until then, and I starting to like ordering from them a bit(finally got our widescreen Wonka from them).
     
  20. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    Kenneth, I wouldn't count on getting the Mickey Mouse tin 100% in two weeks at Amazon. I usually don't order from them, but both Deep Discount DVD and 800.com are out of stock of the Mickey Mouse tin and I have not seen it at any of the stores around here (just the other tins at Walmart, Costco)
    ...maybe ask the parents for a payment advance [​IMG]
     

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