Has anyone else noticed that Donald Duck has a preoccupation with food in the latest shorts of the 1940s? I mean, everything he has done in the Chip and Dale shorts has been about protecting his feasts. Now, for want of honey, Donald is going after an innocent bee that has been taking the honey from his flowers. Thus, the basics of Honey Harvester are in place for a pretty enjoyable short.
While this short doesn’t have much of the trademark Donald temper tantrum, it replaces it with Donald plotting against the bee. A plotting Donald is generally pretty entertaining, because his plots rarely work out and will inevitably involve the main duck getting his comeuppance. In this case, the bee is quite the character, which makes it doubly satisfying, because he is a joy to watch.
The short begins with the bee demonstrating his technique for removing honey from the flowers, and storing it in an old rusted out car’s radiator. It’s an ingenious system, because it hides the honey from other animals, especially Donald. Once Donald gets wind of the little guy, he begins to do the math in his head. Quite literally, actually, as we get to see Donald adding the pieces together to come up with the idea that he needs to steal the honey.
Donald’s dogged pursuit of the honey is something to behold. He continually tries to trick the bee into leading him towards the prize, but to no avail. It’s quite an accident when he figures it out and begins to steal the honey from the car. As you may imagine from my previous statements, this is a big mistake. The bee goes on a rampage, stinger to the wind, and starts divebombing Donald from all over the yard. To say this section is funny would be a huge understatement.
The bee manages to steal a stinger off of a cactus to overcome some of Donald’s defense mechanisms, making for a very potent stinger. Everything works about this part of the short. The sound design of the bee as a bomber, the fast moving animation, Donald’s expressions – it’s all top notch. Every single piece works together beautifully. Honey Harvester is that rare example of a Donald short where Donald doesn’t have to lose his temper in order to make a really fun cartoon.