08 July 2013

Mickey Mouse Mondays: Week 10: Mickey's Follies

Mickey's Follies is comprised of a vaudeville-type revue being held in a ramshackle barnyard. Mickey cedes the screen to his opening acts for the short's first half. These performers include a quacking quintet of dancing ducks and an operatic, offkey pig, who is booed off the stage by the raucous crowd. The strangest and therefore most interesting section comes from a hen and rooster who throttle one another in a slapstick routine. After smacking and choking one another to the delight of the spectators, the hen pauses the shenanigans and mumbles something to the rooster before scuttling offstage. It looks as though the hen has excused herself to relieve herself and in a way she has. We see her climb atop a wooden box where she stresses and strains to expel an egg. As the egg tumbles down a series of pipes before landing in a pan for the audience to see and cheer, the rooster appears, puffing out his chest, another proud father. Despite their strange shenanigans, none of these performers have the panache of the follies' titular star.

Unfortunately for the film's sake, once Mickey does take over it is in the worst way possible, performing a hackneyed musical number in a completely uncharacteristic voice that is introduced boldly as Mickey's Theme Song. The song, officially entitled "Minnie Yoo Hoo", is the first original song written for a Disney production. "When You Wish Upon a Star" it is not. The song does fit its ramshackle performance but it does not leave much of an impression. It is a generic pop song of the day with Mickey Mouse talking of his "sweetie in the hen house". Before we start to think that perhaps the proud rooster may not in fact have paternal rights to the recently revealed egg, the camera cuts to Minnie in the audience, waving to her grinning, gesticulating beau.

Mickey hams his way through the tune and we get one more crowd shot which concludes with two cats falling through the roof an outhouse upon an unsuspecting pig. This would not be the last time that Mickey, the ostensible star of his shorts, stepped aside for the performances of other cartoon creations. These cameos would allow the studio to work with other designs and test out new ideas for future films. While some characters stuck around, none would come close to claiming the spotlight of the studio's flagship creation. That is, not until 1934 when another dancing duck, this one cursed with one heck of a temper, demanded to be seen.

Viewing Verdict: Avoidable

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