Fiddling Around (1930) Early Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Directed by and Starring: Walt Disney

RATING: 2.5 Stars

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In this short, Mickey is seen alone on stage, playing the violin for an unseen audience, heckled by an audience member and overcome by emotion during a particularly moving piece.

This quick little short has all the marking of early animation. Repeated sequences to fill the time, a small amount of dialogue, relying mostly on the image to tell the story, and a very simple plot. None of these things are criticisms of the cartoon though, they are of course limited by the technology available to them, but I point them out because if these are things that have bothered you about vintage cartoons, I am here to tell you that this one won’t change your mind.

The story isn’t particularly engaging, and very little is really going on, we are mostly watching Mickey play violin on stage. Most of the interesting stuff, the heckling etc, is happening off screen. There are a few minor mishaps throughout the performance that are designed to get a chuckle out of the audience, but overall it’s very mundane in terms of the actual cartoon.

However, compared to some of the other animation studios at this time, you can still see how ahead of his time Walt Disney was, even at this early stage. If we compare it to WB and the early Bosko cartoons, there are a lot less repeated frames, a lot more of a coherent plot, and the backgrounds and characters have a lot more detail to them. A great precursor to the work that he would become renowned for in a few decades time.

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