Thursday, July 14, 2011

Straight Shooters

It’s refreshing to see Donald mixing it up with his nephews again, if only for the sake of my sanity. The interactions between Donald and the boys are fabulous in almost every regard, and in Straight Shooters, we get to see one of the best ever. This kind of short is exactly what Donald is meant to do.

Donald has set up shop at a carnival in this one, running an old-fashioned shooting gallery game where he delivers candy as the prize. Huey, Dewey and Louie show up in their best faux military dress uniforms to crash the party, managing to win a prize on their very first shot. This, of course, enrages Donald, because he thought he had everything set up to ensure that no one would win.

From there the gags start flying, and they do not let up until the end of the short. It’s always the interaction between the boys and Donald that is the core of the gag, however. That’s a key difference from some other shorts that Disney has put out in the 40s. In other shorts, we have seen gags that are about the environment instead of the characters. This short gets it right all the way through.

Take the example of when one of the boys is in the back of the booth breaking things regardless of where the shot goes or IF it is shot. When Donald finds out, he confronts his nephew, and the comedy takes place between the looks and gestures. This is physical and emotional comedy done right, and it is a pleasure to watch.

Donald’s charm, as I’ve said many times, is that his frustration and anger rise so easily. Watching the tensions ramp up is the joy of seeing Donald, because we can all relate to him. The other part of Donald that I love so much is that he is so easily fooled. In this short he gets fooled twice by the boys, using the same trick of standing on one another’s head to imitate a full size person.

The combination of the boys outsmarting Donald, some amazing visual gags and fabulous acting in the animation makes Straight Shooters a classic in the Donald Duck canon. You cannot beat a shot of Donald on a shooting gallery duck line. You just can’t.

All pictures copyright Disney.  All rights reserved.

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