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I like this cartoon because it really draws you into the story. The storymen
were able to make the audience experience Pluto's feelings. They used music
and color to enhance the story. When Pluto falls in a well of freezing water,
he turns a cold blue color. Pluto becomes jealous of the kitten he has saved,
and a devil springs from his head, and he is colored green to symbolize jealousy.
When the devil is confronted by Pluto's angel he turns yellow to symbolize
cowardice. In another part of the cartoon, Pluto tries to get the kitten
in trouble by making it look like he has been bothering the goldfish. Mickey
comes in and tries to figure out who's to blame. He stares at the kitten
and then at Pluto, with one eyebrow raised in an intense look. This was a
caricature of Walt Disney's famous expression. When he was mad at someone
or was concentrating intently on something, he would get this intense look
on his face. If he looked at you that way it sometimes meant that you were
in trouble. Many Disney characters gave that same look when they were mad.
At this point in the cartoon, Mickey asks the goldfish "Who done it?" and
the fish tells on Pluto. Pluto looks up in fear, sweating. He's afraid of
what Mickey will do. In the next scene, Pluto is shown getting thrown out
of the house by Mickey. This scene was funny because it played on the emotions
of the audience. Almost everyone can relate to this situation...being mean
to a brother or sister, trying to cover it up, and being afraid of getting
caught. This cartoon was great because it drew the audience into the story
in a personal way.
The most common of these is the use of the angel and devil Pluto, playing out a scene from both angles, advising Pluto what to do. In Lend A Paw, we see probably the most memorable version of this trick. It’s a short that I remember fondly, even if I can’t recall where or when I saw it first.
The whole thing is meant to demonstrate kindness to animals, which is funny since it’s Pluto, not Mickey who ends up being kind to the stray kitten. When he hears a meow from a bag floating down the river, Pluto rescues the kitten, who then follows him home. Pluto’s rescue across the ice flow in the snow is a great scene, with some nice animation.
The real trouble starts when the kitten follows Pluto home, and suddenly is a fair haired child for Mickey’s affections. That’s when the angel and devil come out, to tell Pluto to either be nice to the kitten or to get him kicked out, respectively. The devil has a nice tough guy voice, while the angel is more of a high pitched, shrill voice.
Pluto sets up the kitten by placing it on the table next to the fishbowl. Cats being cats, the kitten reaches into the fishbowl to try and nab the fish, causing a big commotion and things to come crashing down. The aftermath of that, when Mickey comes out to survey the scene is a favorite image of mine.
Pluto gets kicked out of the house after the fish turns “stool pigeon” in the words of the Pluto devil, and is left out in the snow. What I love about this short is although it’s obvious, it goes for the satisfying story, not the cheap gag. There could be tons of great gags of Pluto trying to get back in the house or doing something funny outside, but instead, he saves the kitten from drowning in the well.
The kitten jumps into the well by accident, and Pluto has to fight off the devil to get the kitten out. It’s a fantastic scene, that really examines Pluto’s character, and shows us why he’s a good dog after all, despite the trouble he causes. Normally, I don’t enjoy the angel/devil device, but here, it works to illuminate Pluto, not diminish him.
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