Jun 1, 2015

Review: Lend a Paw (1941)

I've been watching lots of Disney short films for the last little while but Lend a Paw is (if I'm not mistaken) my first short with the famed Disney mascot himself, Mickey Mouse. Seriously. I believe that I've maybe seen Steamboat Willie by chance when I was a kid, but that doesn't really count. That was long before I kept obsessive records of the movies I watched and religiously rated them on IMDb. So definitely a pretty big deal here.

Anyhow, Lend a Paw won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and was the first non-Silly Symphony film out of Disney to do so. I'm sure there would've been winners from before Disney's Silly Symphony phase, but don't forget that the category was only created in 1932. It's not like Disney was really hurting anyway since they won the award eight times in a row before having their run broken up by MGM's The Milky Way. Can't win 'em all I guess.


At a Glance

Genre: animation, short, comedy
Directed by: Clyde Geronimi
Produced by: Walt Disney
Written by: N/A
Music by: Leigh Harline
Running time: 8 minutes
Production company: Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by: RKO Radio Pictures
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry

Starring: Pinto Colvig, Walt Disney



While doing dog things in the middle of winter, Pluto (voice: Pinto Colvig) hears the sounds of a kitten meowing coming from a sack sitting on a floating chunk of ice. Springing into action, he clumsily rescues the kitten from an inevitably frozen fate. Pluto quickly regrets his rescue mission however as his owner Mickey Mouse (voice: Walt Disney) gives the kitten attention that would otherwise be his. He needs a solution and fast.



Lend a Paw features some pretty strong animation as Disney shorts usually do. It's nothing otherworldly, but seeing Pluto leap from ice chunk to ice chunk is a great example of the kind of animation talent there was at Disney. Everything is unfailingly smooth, even the sequences that move at a quicker pace. There's just nothing that will necessarily knock your socks off.

For me it's the humour that's just a bit of a let-down. Honestly the best part of all comedy-wise is the opening sequence of Pluto sniffing the ground and hearing the sound effect change as he goes over the bumpy terrain. It's a simple little thing that's nicely amusing though. Other elements are maybe enough to get a half-chortle, but nothing very definitive. 

After being spoiled with the great comedy of Silly Symphony, I guess I expected a bit too much out of Lend a Paw. It's certainly cute and well animated, but nothing much more than that. Lend a Paw will surely delight children though which is something that Disney has pretty much never failed in doing.



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