Alice the Toreador

An Alice Comedy

Release Date : January 15, 1925

Running Time : 732

Synopsis

Alice is in a bullfight where she thinks she will win since she is matched against a peaceful bull. But the tables are turned when her bull is switched with one with a worse temper.

Characters

Alice and Julius
Terrible Tom

Credits

Director
Walt Disney
Animation
Ub Iwerks
Rollin "Ham" Hamilton
Thurston Harper
Camera
Mike Marcus
Live Action Actor
Virginia Davis

Video

United States
Alice in Cartoonland
Weird Cartoons #2
Cartoon Classics #2

DVD

Alice in Cartoonland
Disney's Alice Comedies : Volume 2

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 : Our latest film is Alice the Toreador, a truly amazing effort in the quality of the animation and the sheer number of gags. At this point, the improvement from the first films to the latest is measurable. Whether it’s Ub Iwerks’ influence, as it appears, or the work of other animators learning their craft, I’m not sure. But the quality of the shorts has picked up considerably in the last 4-5 I’ve reviewed.

This film starts off with Alice and her cat friend (he’s not Julius until they’ve named him in the films!) seeing a billboard advertising a bullfight with a big cash prize. The funniest part to me is the “Bring Your Own Bull” at the bottom of the sign. That’s a different BYOB than I’m used to, I don’t know about you.

Deciding that they can defeat a bull, Alice and the cat find a nearby run down steer, manage to scoot him over to the arena, and enter the bull fight. Animals from all over town show up to see the fight, with some really clever gags, like an elephant using his trunk to lift the spectators into the bleachers being labeled “Elevator” and a cat with lots of children using a see saw to catapult the kids into the arena.

Inside, Alice and friend are reveling in how easy their victory will be, when an evil cat overhears. You can tell he’s evil because he has a handlebar mustache. Of course, he’s evil! The soon to be named Terrible Tom convinces a bull from a nearby billboard to come and switch places with Alice’s bull, in a clever bit.

The problem comes when Tom starts fighting Alice’s broken down bull, and accidentally swings the steer into a cactus. His rear end full of thorns from the cactus, the bull cleans Tom’s clock, to the delight of the crowd.

Meanwhile, Alice is faced down with the billboard bull, which is a frightening proposition. She does what any self-respecting youngster would, and runs like crazy. Eventually, the chase leads the bull into the pen, where the cat defeats the bull and runs back out dressed up in the bull’s skin.

Alice handily defeats the faux-bull, and is celebrating her victory when a dog wanders onto the arena floor. The dog drags the skin off, leaving Alice and her cat alone. The crowd starts throwing things and chanting “Fake” as we fade to black.

This one is jam packed full of fun, with gags happening almost every second. There are visual gags like the bull being coaxed off the billboard and Tom’s tail turning into an exclamation point, but there are also some great subtle gags like the cat’s tail turning into a hand to scratch his head while he’s thinking. This short shows the Disney animators working hard to amp up the entertainment value. It’s one of the first ones I have watched that was not hard to get through. If this short shows how the rest of the silents will be, then I’m looking forward to them.


From Patrick Malone : This is one of the themes that Disney always returned to; bullfighting. We saw it before in Puss in Boots and we'll return to it again in Ferdinand the Bull and the Goofy cartoon For Whom the Bulls Toil. There doesn't seem to be anything in Disney's biography that pointed to an interest in bullfighting which would have justified this scenario being returned to as many times as it was; I wonder if there was some interest by someone else in the studio.
From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : That's a very good point. I had not thought of that. Something Iwerks was interested in, perhaps? Or maybe one of the other Kansas City artists? Harman or Ising? Great thought to keep in mind, Patrick.
From Steven : This was an enjoyable Alice Comedy with some funny gags. There was one disgusting scene where Alice and Julius (who looks exactly like Felix the Cat) rip a leg off of a dead bull. One funny part is when a father cat tries to get his kittens in the arena without paying and soon gets in trouble with a cop. I give this one a 7 out of 10.