DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "Mickey Mouse In Black And White" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Nov 13, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Mickey Mouse In Black & White

    Studio: Walt Disney
    Year: 2002
    Rated: NR
    Feature Length: 250 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
    Subtitles: English

    It's moments like this that you really come to
    appreciate not only the DVD format but studios like
    Walt Disney that offer you to hold such precious
    history in the palm of your hand.
    Last year, Disney began releasing some of its most
    prized animation under its Walt Disney Treasures
    banner. Arriving in tin case packaging, these DVDs
    offered consumers the opportunity to own a piece of
    Disney history. Some of the initial titles that have
    become my most prized possessions include Mickey
    Mouse In Living Color
    and Silly Symphonies,
    both showcasing the incredible animation talent that
    made Disney a household name.
    In December, Disney is set to release its second
    wave of Treasure titles. Three of them arrived
    at my door today: Behind The Scenes At Walt
    Disney Studios; The Complete Goofy
    ; and the one
    that I tore open immediately, Mickey Mouse In
    Black And White.
    Walt Disney was a man that will be remembered through
    the decades for his imagination, creativity and the
    magical worlds he provided. He is an individual who
    has left a legacy of memories, joy and laughter within
    the minds of people throughout the world.
    His greatest creation was of course, Mickey Mouse.
    Mickey Mouse was created in 1928, and his debut was
    actually in a silent cartoon entitled "Plane Crazy."
    The cartoon never hit the big screen due to the fact
    that sound was being introduced into motion pictures.
    That gave Walt quite an advantage, as he took a big
    gamble and produced the first animated sound
    cartoon, "Steamboat Willie," starring his lovable
    Mickey Mouse. Mickey and Minnie were instant hits.
    In fact, Mickey Mouse was so popular that over a
    million children joined the original Mickey Mouse
    Club between 1929 and 1932.
    For the first time on this format, consumers have
    the opportunity to own a most important piece of
    Disney history. These are the original cartoons
    that started it all.
    Arriving in an attractive individually numbered tin
    case, this handsome 2-disc Collection contains 34
    of the original B&W Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts
    starting with Steamboat Willie (1928) and
    ending with Mickey's Service Station (1935).
    Inside the tin box lies the two DVD discs resting
    in double-cased Nexpak housing. In the side pocket
    is an 8-page collector's booklet printed on durable
    paper. Through text and photos, this booklet gives
    you a little bit of a brief history of how Walter Elias
    Disney made "an indelible impact on the landscape
    of popular culture." Also included is a poster
    card from Steamboat Willie.
    Who better than to introduce this set than film
    historian Leonard Maltin. Leonard appears many
    times throughout this collection, most notably at
    the beginning of each disc, giving historical
    background to the material you are about to watch.
    There's one sequence featuring Leonard Maltin that
    made me stand up and applaud. It comes on Disc
    One, before the short Mickey Steps Out.
    In an introduction, Leonard talks about the racial
    stereotypes that were common in cartoons during
    the 1920s and 1930s. As he talks, we are actually
    shown examples of cartoon stereotypes via film
    clips from early Disney B&W films. Leonard goes
    on to make this very important statement about
    preserving these cartoons insisting we learn
    from them instead of removing them from public
    view. The fact that Disney has included these
    works uncut in this collection and having someone
    like Leonard Maltin offer an explanation of them,
    is quite outstanding. Perhaps Warner Brothers can
    learn from this before they butcher their Bugs
    Bunny releases for DVD.
    How is the transfer?
    Despite the condition of shorts that are now
    nearly 75 years old, these cartoons come across
    well preserved. Sure, they have their share
    of scratches and blemishes but it's amazing to
    see how clear these images look after all these
    years. I would expect these films look better
    than they did theatrically. Sound is quite good
    despite the fact that it contains a considerable
    amount of background noise, something that is
    to be expected when considering the age of these
    cartoons. Still, audio never becomes too shrill
    nor overmodulated. In all, I think this is the
    best possible presentation that one would expect
    of this material.
    Special Features
    Let me begin by talking about the Main Menu.
    I give much credit to the folks at Disney for
    putting some thought into the overall presentation
    of these shorts. Through the menu you can arrange
    the selection of shorts either by alphabetical
    or chronological listing. You also have the
    option of English subtitles, which is certainly
    an unexpected welcomed addition here.
    Each disc contains a variety of Bonus Material.
    Let's begin with Disc One...
    Frank and Ollie...and Mickey introduce us
    to legends Ollie Johnson and Frank Thomas. It was
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt who called his
    Supreme Court the "nine old men." As a joke, Walt
    Disney named his earliest key animators by the same
    term. Here are two of the original "Nine Old Men"
    of the Walt Disney Company who talk about what
    Mickey Mouse has meant to them after all these years.
    Along with conversation, we get a look at some
    original drawings by Ub Iwerks including some early
    pencil tests. It's wonderful to spend some time
    with these animators who talk about the early
    animation process as well as what it was like to
    work with Walt Disney.
    (length: approx. 18 minutes)
    Story Scripts for Steamboat Willie
    and Mickey Steps Out clearly shows the
    the meticulous planning that went into the the
    production of his cartoons from the detailed
    scripts to storyboards. Using your remote, you
    have the opportunity to leisurely browse through
    this historical collection of material.
    There are seven Story Sketch presentations
    that give you an idea of how these cartoons were
    previsualized before going to the final animation process.
    These sketches play as full-length cartoons along with
    musical accompaniment. You'll even notice some of the
    artist's own personal notes scribbled within the drawings.
    Let's move on to the Bonus Material that
    appears on Disc Two...
    Pencil Test: The Mail Pilot takes us through
    the next step of the animation process after a
    storyboard is completed. These were photographed
    pencil test animations that were done before going on
    to the ink and paint department. This is the only
    test that still survives, and it's simply amazing
    to watch. Aided by the film's original soundtrack,
    we get to see how fluidly this cartoon animation
    flowed even in its most primitive stages. It's no
    wonder these tests played an important part
    in Walt's aim for animation perfection.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    There are a few more Story Sketch presentations
    here -- twelve to be exact -- that give you an idea of
    how these cartoons were previsualized before going to
    the final animation process. These sketches play as
    full-length cartoons along with musical accompaniment.
    You'll even notice some of the artist's own personal
    notes scribbled within the drawings.
    A Poster Gallery featuring 21 original
    posters can be viewed using your remote control.
    Some of the work contains audio commentary by
    Leonard Maltin.
    Final Thoughts
    How can you put a price on something like this?
    This is perhaps one of the greatest video releases
    to come out of the studio since it began releasing
    DVD. It's nothing less than a piece of nostalgic
    It belongs in every collection!
    Release Date: December 3, 2002
  2. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

    Nov 3, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the review Ron! Hopefully Costco will have these tins again at a reasonable price. I love 'em [​IMG]
  3. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

    May 31, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Castaic, CA
    Real Name:
    Jonathan Burk
  4. Chad Gregory

    Chad Gregory Supporting Actor

    Oct 11, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Great review Ron.

    Can't wait to hear about the "Behind the Scenes" set. Especially whether or not the complete version of "The Reluctant Dragon" is included.

    I will definitely be boosting my WD Treasures collection next month.

  5. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

    Mar 4, 2000
    Likes Received:
    League City, Texas
    Real Name:
    Craig Seanor
  6. DavidBL

    DavidBL Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 19, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Excellent, thank you for reviewing this so quickly! Will you be reviewing Goofy soon?
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    Looks fantastic....I haven't seen any B&W Mickeys save for clips of Steamboat Willie. Looks like the 3 Treasures DVDs will be my 3 Disney DVDs of 2002.

    One tidbit of info... Ub Iwerks usually animated some of the cartoons entirely himself.
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Sure, I'll get to GOOFY sometime over the next
    few days.
  9. Joseph_mx

    Joseph_mx Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 14, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Great review Ron, I cant wait to receive it. By the way, the Tin case is gold or silver color like the first releases (it looks like gold color in the picture) but I guess its because of the flash.
  10. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

    Jun 20, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I wonder how this compares to the laserdisc version, as i have a platter with rot.
  11. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Apr 25, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Thanks for the review Ron, another must have for classic animation collectors.
    Looking forward to your next goofy review, um I mean the next review for the complete Goofy box set thingy coming up.[​IMG]
  12. Guy_K

    Guy_K Second Unit

    Aug 14, 2001
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    Do these have any re-watchability, or are these basically just for the collectors?
  13. James L White

    James L White Supporting Actor

    Jun 29, 2002
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    I can't wait for this and Goofy, I sure hope Disney puts out Donald Duck in wave 3.
    and Guy yes they are rewatchable[​IMG]
  14. DavidBL

    DavidBL Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 19, 2002
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  15. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

    Oct 22, 2001
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  16. James_Garner

    James_Garner Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 1, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    James Garner
    Is there any way you can do a comparison on the shows on the "Behind the Scenes" DVD with tapes of their Disney channel airings? I'm a little hesitant to buy "Behind the scenes" after their "Rights issues" butchering of the shows in "Disneyland U. S. A" without any editing notices on either the packaging or the actual DVD. That was the only DVD I had to ever ask for a refund, & I don't want to do that again.
    However, I have the highest of praises for the other three "Treasures" from last year, especially The wonderful restoration of "Davy Crockett". I was only expecting the DC shows to be taken from the late-60's Early-70's airings that showed up on The Disney channel the same time the DVD was released. However, It was complete with the Walt intros, the "Next week" promos & the End-credit announcements for the original theatrical releases of "20K Leagues under the Sea." talk about surprises!
  17. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

    Nov 20, 2000
    Likes Received:
    How to play football, How to play golf, How to swim and so on.
  18. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Can't wait for this set, even so I have to admit, I never watched all of the Silly Symphonies when I got it. But I have faith in this set and Goofy as well. By the way, is this all of the cartoons or there still one more half of the black and white collection out there?
  19. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

    Oct 20, 2001
    Likes Received:
    One question that I just have to ask, guys...do these cartoons on the DVD collection have the original front and end credits (as opposed to the 'modified' reissue credits we've all seen through the years)?
  20. JohnDMoore

    JohnDMoore Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 16, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Finally... a good copy of "Steamboat Willy."
    This is a set I'm dying to see. In fact, it's probably my most anticipated. And bravo to Mr. Leonard Maltin.
    However, I'm still hoping we get to see a wartime shorts compilation in Wave 3 (along with Donald Duck).
    I doubt it'll be on there, but one of my longtime dreams is to see "Der Furher's Face."

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