The Worm Turns

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : January 2, 1937

Running Time : 7:45

Synopsis

Chemist Mickey concocts a super strength potion that turns a fly into a fighter and a mouse into a super-mouse.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Pete
Pluto

Credits

Director
Ben Sharpsteen
Animation
Hamilton Luske
Charles Couch
Al Eugster
Berny Wolf
Wolfgang Reitherman

Bloopers

In the beginning scenes where Mickey is mixing his formula he pull a cork from a bottle with his teeth. In the following frames, the cork slowly and mysteriously disappears.

Cut Scenes

Pete sticks gun against Pluto, saying "I'm gonna blow your head off."

Video

United States
The Spirit of Mickey
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I : Mickey
Germany
Pluto Räumt Auf
Mit Mir Nicht
Donald und Company
France
Disney Parade 3
Donald et Company
Italy
Pluto Aiutante Offresi
Sono Io ... Topolino
Cartoons Disney 6
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions : Topolino

CED

United States
Limited Gold Editions - Mickey

Laserdiscs

The Spirit of Mickey
Japan
Donald and Company
Disney Cartoon Festival 3
Mickey : Limited Gold Edition

DVD

United States
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
Germany
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
France
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
Italy
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 55: Oooh! Scary!
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 41

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 : This is one of the Mickey shorts I have seen over and over again, even before I started the Disney Film Project. It’s a favorite of my kids, my wife and myself, so I admit to a little bias from the get go here. That said, The Worm Turns is a fantastic piece of work, and it carries little clues about where things have been and where they are going in the Disney films.

Mickey is shown here in a very different light than we have seen before, acting as a mad scientist of sorts, mixing up a formula for courage. What I find interesting is that this setting is very similar to what we will later see as the Evil Queen’s lair in Snow White. There’s the percolating chemicals, jars of things on the shelves, and even a leather bound book propped up on a skull.

The story then proceeds much like one of the old Silly Symphony “season” shorts would, progressing from one animal to the next. It begins with a fly, who gets terrorized by a spider. Mickey sprays the fly with his potion, and suddenly, things change – the fly starts wailing on the spider.

The action goes from that point, as Mickey realizes that it works. In rapid succession, he turns a mouse on a cat in the house, then the cat on Pluto outside, and finally, Pluto on Pete the dogcatcher. Once again, one of Walt’s shorts features a dogcatcher getting abused! You’ll recall that dogcatchers have been the butt of violence in Disney shorts going all the way back to Alice and the Dogcatcher.

What I love about this is that it takes the same gag, but applies it differently throughout the short. The things that the fly does to the spider are quite different than how the cat attacks Pluto. And Pluto attacking Pete is just a classic moment. After Pete has terrorized Mickey and friends for so long, it’s nice to see them get some revenge.

The throwback to the format of the old Silly Symphonies is something new in this for me, though, as I had never seen those shorts prior to last year. Seeing the evolution of that progression tactic from the seasonal shorts to here was a revelation. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s now clear looking at this short that Mickey is merely a bystander in his own series.

Mickey’s appearance in this short is merely as the facilitator of the intervening scenes with the various animals. Sure, it’s a trend that has been going on for some time now, but it’s glaring to me when I watch this short that I have seen so many times before. It’s also interesting to see Mickey’s new neighborhood. Rather than the barnyard setting, he’s now in a Spanish looking neighborhood of the type you would expect in Southern California. Mickey has now mirrored Walt and his team’s rise in the world.

This is the kind of short I enjoy the most, with Mickey and his pals showing their comedic chops. It’s funny, charming and most of all, fun. The Worm Turns is definitely one of my favorites.


From 411314 : I really enjoyed this one too. Never noticed the similarity between Mickey's lab and the Queen's, good eye! Not only is the dogcatcher abused in lots of Disney shorts, but also portrayed as a villain in many of them. This time, we have the dogcatcher trying to shoot Pluto! I can't help but think that this strikes me as a little immature on Disney's part. Would he rather dogs run wild in the streets, getting hit by cars and perhaps threatening people (in the case of the fiercer ones)!
From Mac : This is one of the best Disney shorts. Check out how well crafted it is. It's funny and exciting both at once and backed up by some dynamic camera angles and excellent music. Also this has some of the wildest Disney animation ever. Endlessly creative and inventive, check out the mad scrambling actions and reactions in this cartoon. If there was ever a Disney cartoon to watch frame by frame it's this one. There's some individual drawings you would not believe. Eye's bulge out til they're longer than the body, heads get squashed into necks, a cats face is almost snapped into two.

I'm honestly amazed the animation in this one hasn't been analyzed more thoroughly and been given special attention by the experts.


From Jerry Edwards : Additional censorship deletes Pete's shadow showing the gun being cocked. In more recent showings, gun scenes with Pete and Pete saying "I'm going to murder you, I'm going to fill you full of lead" are censored. Enjoyable, odd, quirky cartoon. The scene of Mickey performing his experiments with all the chemical bottles and tubing seems to be a forerunner of the Wicked Queen's apparatus in turning herself into an old gag in Snow White. I especially enjoyed the scene of Pluto chasing the cat and the cat getting revenge after Mickey sprays the magical strength potion on the cat.
From Ryan : Even though this short starred him, Mickey was actually just a background character while the short seemed to focus more on the different animals (users of the strength potion). I liked the scene where Pluto chases the cat into the shed and the cat's lives float right out. When he's down to his last life, Mickey squirts some potion on him and his eight other lives jump back into his body. Another funny scene was where Pluto looked at the fire hydrant and was about to "do his business" when Mickey squirted the hydrant and it sprayed Pluto. Wonderful short. I'd give it an A-.
From Per Nilsson : This cartoon feels a bit un-Disney-like. Its style is more like a Tom and Jerry or Tex Avery cartoon. The only thing that clearly makes it a Disney cartoon is the appearance of Mickey and Pluto, but other characters could easily have played them. A lot of chasing is going on, first small animals, like a fly beating up a spider, later on moving up to a mouse chasing a cat. The cat chases Pluto, Pluto going after Pete and so on. Still it's nice to see something different, so it gets an ok grade in my book!
From josef : Great short with lots of fun gags. I really enjoyed the animation in this short.
From Baruch Weiss : This is one of my favorite Mickey cartoons. I wonder if the sequence with the cat and the mouse was the inspiration for Tom and Jerry as three years after this cartoon the cat and mouse team made their debut in "Puss gets the Boot".
From Bryan Hensley : This is one heck of a great short. Mickey concocted a bravery potion and had a bunch of test subjects. A fly caught in a spider's web, a mouse being cornered by a cat, then the cat meowing ferociously at Pluto to stop chasing him. Later on Pluto for getting back at Pete the dogcatcher, and boy was he angry! (At least he saved the dogs and sent Pete off a cliff, as far as I remember.) Finally, on a fire hydrant that sprayed water at Pluto! The music used on nearly all these predicaments was pretty much the same as what had happened previously. If you listen closely to this short, you'll see what I mean. I don't trust dogcatchers, whether they have guns to shoot dogs or not!

Referenced Comments