Friday, April 2, 2010

043 The Ugly Duckling

Title: The Ugly Duckling
Studio: Disney
Date: 4/07/39
Credits: None listed on print
Series: Silly Symphonies
Running time (of viewed version): 8:59

Synopsis: Swan is born to ducks, who expel him, as do tree birds, and a decoy; he is accepted by other swans.

Comments: (title 6) Note this is the second Silly Symphony of the Ugly Duckling, as well as being the final Silly Symphony. (And it has a '38 copyright date in the titles). "But what of its popularity compared to the dried out husk of Mickey Mouse, who still had many cartoons before him?" you may well ask. I couldn't tell you. The duckling looks a lot like the guy almost hit in the head by a golf ball in Columbia's Golf Chumps the day before. Coincidence? Yeah, almost certainly. As an adult, the subtext of the duck fight is more about the swan being the result of the mother duck's interspecies affair. Or from the scientific perspective, the expulsion of the swan underlines the genetic imperative of ensuring your own genetic offspring's survival and the need to curn other species' brood parasitism. Or from the social perspective that the swan is a douchebag who returns spite for spite at the end. As a kid, I thought it was just about the callous cruelty of the world (I still thought the swan was a douchebag at the end, tho). The distorted swan is almost the same type of drawing as other studios. There's a side wipe, which is unusual for cartoons, especially with such a soft edge to it (it's clearly not animated as a transition, which is not entirely uncommon; this is showing off non-animation editing skills). This really shows skill with wordless film making (tho the parent duck vocalizations are pretty clear in meaning); shame it's not very funny. I wonder if the swan waggling its butt at the end as it goes off into the sunset is taking Disney's place, waggling its butt at the world as it leaves the Silly Symphonies behind...

There's a comic strip of the Ugly Duckling pictured on the DVD, but I haven't found it online. However, here are some bonus images of some post-'39 merchandising. I wonder if the one image forgot the swan should be white, not yellow, or if it's just showcasing one of the ducklings from the cartoon instead...

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