213. Pluto’s Blue Note – Charles A. Nichols

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SUMMARY: Pluto wants to sing along with the birds and bees but he is simply tone deaf and his howling strikes terror into the hearts of anyone listening. But a local music shop provides the solution to this problem.

WHY IT’S HERE: With the gag and slapstick driven cartoons of MGM and Warner Bros. dominating the animated short, it’s easy to forget by this stage that Disney were still churning out great cartoons alongside their more ambitious projects. The problem with some of the Disney shorts of this era was that they were attempting to emulate some of their competitors, leading to some ill-at-ease and sometimes mean-spirited cartoons in which the violence didn’t really fit with the established Disney world. But when Disney cartoons stuck to what they did best they were still something special. The Oscar-nominated ‘Pluto’s Blue Note’ is a case in point. Focusing on the trademark Disney semi-realism and steadily-paced character comedy, ‘Pluto’s Blue Note’ is an utterly charming, gentle treat that bewitches through the sharp characterisation of the non-speaking central character and the dedication to the simple story and telling it well without making concessions to audience demands for belly-laughs every couple of seconds.

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