Poster

Alice the Peacemaker

An Alice Comedy

Release Date : August 1, 1924

Running Time : 7:35

Synopsis

Alice tries to break up a fight between two newsboys by telling them a story of a feuding cat and mouse.

Characters

Alice and Julius
Ike the Mouse
Mike the Cat

Credits

Director
Walt Disney
Animation
Ub Iwerks
Rollin "Ham" Hamilton
Camera
Harry Forbes
Live Action Actor
Virginia Davis
Leon Holmes
"Spec" O'Donnell

DVD

United States
Disney's Alice Comedies : Volume 1

Technical Specification

Color Type: Black & White
Animation Type: Combination live-action and standard animation
Sound Mix: Silent
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by M. J. Winkler Productions

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : It’s no understatement to say that viewing this film made me understand once again why I’m doing this project. With Ub Iwerks joining the Disney studio to work on this film, my eyes are now opened as to his full contributions to the success of the Disney films. What do I mean? Let me summarize the short, and then we’ll talk about Iwerks’ contribution.

The whole thing opens with the live action framing sequence, featuring two newsboys fighting over the same territory. After they scare off a couple of prospective customers with their fighting, Alice wanders in, and tries to get them to be friends. To do so, she tells them a story about a cat and a mouse that she used to know that had the same exact problem.

With that, it’s on to some wonderful Ub Iwerks goodness. The cat is back! Our friend the cat from the Laugh-O-Grams fairy tales has returned. That was my first revelation, was that the cat had to be an Ub Iwerks creation, because he has not appeared in the Alice Comedies before this, that Ub was not involved in. Although he would eventually be known as Julius, right now, the cat has no name.

The cat is trying to get into the icebox, as is a little wily mouse. The second thing I was stunned by was how much this mouse looks like Mickey. It should not be surprising, considering both were drawn by the same man, but this mouse is simply a smaller version of what we would later see in Steamboat Willie.

The cat and mouse fight, getting thrown out of the house after disturbing a couple about to kiss, and they land on Alice. Alice and the two animals flee the house, and once again, Alice begs them to behave and support each other. At first they refuse, but soon they’re grudgingly seeing eye to eye.

The happiness does not last, as the dog from the earlier fairy tales comes back as well, playing the role of a police officer. The dog spots a wanted poster with the cat and mouse on it, and the chase is on. Finally, after some quick dodges and jumps around the dog, Alice devises a plan.

The cat and mouse hang a sheet in front of a horse’s rear, paint their pictures on it, and watch as the dog attacks the sheet, gets kicked by the horse and goes sailing through the air. It’s a clever sequence that uses the cat’s tail as a paintbrush, and features a giggling horse. How could you not like that?

We return to live action to see Alice and the boys deciding to work together, and we are done. And with that, Disney is back to being an animation studio. It had become unclear watching the evolution of the earlier films, how committed Disney was to animation, or if he was simply using that as a tool to get into the marketplace. By watching this film, it seems clear that he simply did not have the artists to make animation work, because the cartooning in this short is vastly different than the others, because of Ub Iwerks.

The quality is back up to the level of the Laugh-O-Grams, which were markedly better than the later Alice shorts. It was a slight drop off at first, but became more and more noticeable, to the point that Alice the Dog Catcher barely had any animation in it. But now, with Ub on board, Alice the Peacemaker really shows the studio rounding into a fully realized cartoon outfit.


From Jerry Edwards : Live Action: Two newspaper boys fight over working the same corner. When Alice appears, they start fighting over her. Alice tells them to be friends and help each other. She tells them a story about a feuding cat and mouse. Animation: Cat and mouse fight over trying to open an ice box, then fight in a bathtub and around the bathroom. They then fight in the living room where a man and woman are dancing. The woman faints and the cat and mouse fight within the man's clothing. Alice arrives as the cat and mouse are thrown out of the house, each hitting Alice as they land. She tell them to be friends and they shake. A dog cop seems a wanted poster on the cat and mouse and chases them and Alice. After a merry chase, Alice has a plan. The cat paints his and the mouse's likeness on a sheet hanging on a laundry line. The cop charges the pictures and bumps the mule on the other side of the sheet. The mule kicks the cop out of sight. Live action: The boys shake hands.

Some fun gags in this one. The ice box has a lock like a safe on it. The mouse slides on top of a bar of soap in escaping the cat from the bathroom. Alice, the cat, and the mouse jump over a cliff and land on a see saw. The cop lands on the other end and tosses Alice, the cat and the mouse onto the top of a bull. The gag of painting their likeness on the sheet was fun for me.


Referenced Comments