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Cock o' the Walk

A Silly Symphony

Release Date : November 30, 1935

Running Time : 8:23

Synopsis

When a prize fighting rooster comes to town, a celebration is held, complete with elaborate parodies of Busby Berkley dance routines. When the cock sweeps a young hen off her feet, however, he is challenged to a fight by her jealous suitor.

Characters

Cock o' the Walk
Hick Rooster
Prunella Pullet

Credits

Director
Ben Sharpsteen
Asst. Director
Roy Williams
Animation
Jim Tyer
Leonard Sebring
Bill Tytla
Eric Larson
John McManus
Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi
Wolfgang Reitherman
Hardie Gramatky
Backgrounds
Mique Nelson
Story
Otto Englander
Music
Frank Churchill
Albert Hay Malotte

Bloopers

Prunella Pullet's pupils and hat band are green in the scene where she is sitting with Hick Rooster by the fence. However, when she goes off to see Cock O'the Walk in the next scene, both her pupils and hat brim have become purple, and they stay that way for all scenes afterwards.

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 14 : Animal Tales
France
Silly Symphonies Volume 2
Italy
Silly Symphonies Volume 1

Laserdiscs

United States
Cartoon Classics : Animal Tales

DVD

Disney Treasures : More Silly Symphonies

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 58: Silly Symphonies Go To the Birds
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 48

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by United Artists Pictures

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Back to work today, after a fun two weeks off. Hope you all enjoyed the reviews over the holidays, but today we’re back at it with Silly Symphonies, specifically Cock O’ The Walk. It’s a short that relies on knowledge of the trends and ideas of the time, which makes it a little tough to relate to for modern audiences.

The basic idea is that a fighting rooster comes into town, and is celebrated by all the occupants of the town. There’s a parade, followed by some pretty elaborate dancing routines. He ends up catching the eye of a young hen, who leaves her current suitor in the dust and jumps into the ring to dance with the rooster.

This is where you really need to know something about the films of the time in order to appreciate the film. The majority of the middle section of the film is taken from parodies of Busby Berkeley films. Dance sequences that mirror scenes from Berkeley are all throughout this part of the film. From dancing chickens twirling worms to a huge spectacle of hens and finally some peacocks, each sequence seems to have something new and different.

If you didn’t know about Busby Berkeley, or if you are reading this and you don’t, then you should. His films were the dancing musical spectacles of the 1930s that you probably have seen, but may not remember. For Walt Disney World fans, Berkeley is mentioned in the Great Movie Ride, as his work in Footlight Parade is one of the first scenes in the ride, and the trailer plays in the queue.

This short seems to be Disney’s version of a Berkeley film, which plays okay, but doesn’t come off quite as well. The glamour, glitz and acrobatics of those films don’t translate to animation, and the barnyard setting further dampens things. The animation work is good, but it seems that in trying to accomplish the parodies, it falls short on several counts.

In the end, it’s a clever gag that resolves the whole thing. The hen discovers a picture of the fighting rooster with his family, including a wife and children. She leaves the rooster and kisses her former suitor, sparking him to victory in the ring over the rooster. They finish the short in a dance just the same as the one the hen did with the rooster.

Cock O The Walk is interesting as far as the Berkeley parodies go, but it lacks a lot – there’s no big visual punch, the story is weak and the characters are not memorable. It’s the weakest of the recent Silly Symphonies in my opinion.


From Mac : A cast of thousands! The characters and story aren't the strongest in this one, but the fantastic high energy, festival atmosphere and excellent poultry parody of Berkeley routines make this a winner for me. There's some amazing stuff in this cartoon – at certain points there around a hundred individual birds on screen.

This is one cartoon I'd really like to see restored, as I suspect the colors we see in the print on the DVD are not what they once were and have become a bit garish. Speaking of the DVD, I strongly recommend listening to J. B. Kaufman's commentary on this one.


From Jerry Edwards : While nicely done, I just can't get interested in the characters. I also dislike boxing, resulting in a "loser" short for me.
From Chris : An average silly symphony, with some of the strangest dance maneuvers I've ever seen undertaken by the characters. But I'd recommend it.
From Baruch Weiss : My, isn't it amazing how Disney makes a cartoon like this and yet it wasn't banned because of the chicken constantly holding a cigar in his mouth. Anyway, great cartoon the music was nice and I enjoyed all those scenes of the poultry dancing!