92. Little Hiawatha – David Hand

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SUMMARY: Little Hiawatha goes hunting but finds he is unable to bring himself to kill animals. His kindness is rewarded when he in turn is pursued by a large bear and the woodland animals he spared team up to help him escape.

WHY IT’S HERE: The late-era Silly Symphony was made at about the same time as the groundbreaking ‘The Old Mill’ and, as such, its achievements have been rather overshadowed. Nevertheless, ‘Little Hiawatha’ contains similarly breathtaking artwork and the kind of naturalistic animal animation that would soon populate Disney’s features. Hiawatha himself is a well-realised central character and it is only the pantomime antics (including a recurring gag of Hiawatha’s trousers falling down to reveal his cherubic bottom) that date the cartoon, harking back to the earlier Silly Symphonies style while more forward looking shorts were experimenting with new narrative and non-narrative structures. In a sense this makes ‘Little Hiawatha’ even more worthy of celebration, as one of the last great Silly Symphonies in the original house style, albeit with significantly more sophisticated visuals.

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