Donald has a temper, and therefore, he expressed the fighting spirit of the American people (as in Commando Duck, and the other Donald "private" shorts). Also, Mickey Mouse would never need convincing to pay his taxes on time (The New Spirit, Spirit of 43). Lastly, Donald was the most popular character by that time, and the struggling Disney studios were simply following the marketplace. That's why Donald also shows up so prominently for both Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros, also created for the Coordinator of Inetr-Amercian Affairs (if you want to complete a "war films" set on DVD, Amigos and Caballeros are still available on DVD, although a shot in Amigos has been altered).
Great review, David. This set is my favorite out of Wave 3. The cartoons in the "From the Vaults" section look superb, and Leonard Maltin does a great job (as usual) putting these cartoons in their proper context. I've watched about 20 minutes of Victory Through Air Power, and what I've seen looks fantastic. The picture quality on this set is beautiful - Disney must have kept the elements in very good condition.
Mine arrived yesterday from Amazon, I was really surprised at the Vault section, having only seen clips from Der Fuehrer's Face , I thought it looked very clean. Education For Death was pretty shocking. Tonight I hope to finish Disc 1 and get started on Disc 2.
Der Fuehrer's Face and Education For Death were the only two I watched from it last night. Education was such an intense experience, I decided to go for something lighter and watched some of the Tomorrowland set.
Bravo to Disney for this set. These are historic films that I am very glad to have in my collection.
After absorbing the bulk of the 2-disc set last night, I have to agree that the content is amazing. The animation of Victory Through Air Power is on par with the best of the Fleischer's realistically drawn Superman cartoons, and thoroughly fleshes out what was seen briefly in the closing half of The New Spirit (and its footage reused in The Spirit Of '43). It's unfortunate that hand-drawn animation realism of this calibre was never reached again.
I have seen countless 16mm and VHS dubs of Der Feuhrer's Face, Reason & Emotion, Education For Death andThe Spirit Of '43, and it is amazing how much better the vault materials are. Even the NFB content survives well, in spite of its sub-par on-model animating, and use of the Disney music stems.
Thank goodness the acceptance of DVD as a viable form of series collection has allowed this material to be made available to collectors and the general public. I hope Warner HV is paying attention to sales of this material and considers allowing discerning buyers to make their wartime output (as unflattering as some of it may be) available in such context as well.
Question regarding some of the educational shorts on Disc 1.... they ones that deal with the "Department of Inter-American Affairs" or whatnot... who was the original target audience for these? They seem to be aimed at rural farmers in Central America. Lots of talk about healthy eating and building a good latrine. I'm curious as to their relation to the war effort.
"They seem to be aimed at rural farmers in Central America. Lots of talk about healthy eating and building a good latrine. I'm curious as to their relation to the war effort."
Hitler was making overtures to Central and South America, and an envoy suggested the Mexican Government join the Axis to "reclaim lost territories" in North America. The Goodwill / Good Neighbor policy was an effort to foster positive relations between the three Americas and combat Axis influence.
Besides the educational shorts seen on Front Lines, Disney produced two latin-American themed animated features - Saludos Amigos and the bold Three Caballeros. These were also part of the CIAA program, though Walt rejected the CIAA subsidy on both.