Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Fox Chase

Well, just after I noticed a formula developing in the Oswalds, The Fox Chase bucks the formula, with a short featuring only Oswald, and none of his supporting cast. It’s a short one in length, clocking in just under five minutes, but packs some interesting action in with Oswald and his horse especially.

As you can probably tell from the title, the whole idea is that Oswald is involved in a good old fashioned fox chase, where he and his cohorts ride a horse and follow some dogs in chase of a fox. As frequently happens in these shorts, Oswald gets left at the start line as the gun goes off, trying to get his horse to follow the pack.



Then, the horse gives him no end of grief as he tries to mount it and get going. He even goes so far as to use a ladder to mount the horse, but the horse moves. Oswald, thinking he has the problem licked, ties the ladder to the horse’s tail, but the horse instead takes off, leaving Oswald clinging to the ladder and being dragged along.

Meanwhile, we get to peek in on the fox and the pack of dogs chasing him. There’s some pretty funny stuff as all the dogs try to hone in on the fox. Several of them knock over a big black dog, then use his stomach as a trampoline to vault over a wall. A dachshund of course snakes his way over the wall, and a small dog has to scale the wall like a mountain.



Oswald, of course, is still trying to make things work with his horse, but he gets separated from the horse. The ladder starts galloping with Oswald on top, trying to catch the horse. They catch up, but only enough for Oswald to get one foot on the horse, stretching himself between the two.



The dogs manage to chase the fox around a tree, tying the dachshund in knots and sending the fox careening past Oswald in the opposite direction. This knocks Oswald’s poor horse backwards and upside down, a situation that Oswald has to try and fix while still chasing the horse.



The final scene comes as two of the dogs trap the fox in a log, where the fox attacks them with a club. Oswald catches up and has a great idea, to roll the log up like a toothpaste tube, forcing the fox out. He does so, but instead of the fox, out pops a skunk! Well, at least it looks like a skunk, because after Oswald and the dogs run away, we see the skunk lift its stripe to reveal the fox.



This short is a great, quick little piece of fun. It does deviate from the formula of having Oswald compete with Pete for Sadie’s affections, but in a good way. There are no real standout gags or animation here, but it’s a simple, serviceable cartoon that is still entertaining. That’s not to discount it, because part of learning how to be a studio is how to keep churning out films while maintaining some kind of quality. That is something that the Disney Studio has learned in 1927-1928 with the Oswald shorts.
All images copyright Disney. All rights reserved.

3 comments:

  1. One other notable thing is Oswald's horse – could this be the first appearance of Horace Horsecollar? We've had some horses that were a bit similar to Horace in earlier shorts, but this one is so close I wonder if it's actually him. When we get to his early appearances in the Mickey shorts, we'll have to compare!

    –Mac

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  2. Good call. It looks a little like Horace, you're right.

    Off topic - I actually saw Horace at the Magic Kingdom back in December, and freaked out. I'm screaming "It's Horace Horsecollar! Look, honey!" And my wife walked the other direction as quickly as possible.

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  3. Ha ha! That's cool! I didn't realise Disney had made a costume of Horace for the parks. If I'd had seen this obscure character the time I went to Disney World as a kid, his name undoubtedly would have been the prize jewel of my autograph book!

    -Mac

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