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Moth and the Flame

A Silly Symphony

Release Date : April 1, 1938

Running Time : 7:45


A swarm of moths tear into "Ye Olde Costume Shop" as one pretty girl moth is beguiled by a hypnotic candle flame.


Dave Hand
Bert Gillett
Dick Heumer
Win Hoskins
Archie Robin
Izzy Klein
Milt Schaffer
Ed Love
Louie Schmitt
Don Williams
John McManus
Andy Engman
Bill Cottrell
George Stallings
Tom Palmer
Hal Helvenston
Albert Hay Malotte
Inpiration Art
Gustav Tenngren


United States
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I : Silly Symphonies
Silly Symphonies Volume 2
Il Meglio di Disney
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I : Il Meglio Di Disney


United States
Limited Gold Editions - Silly Symphonies


Silly Symphonies : Limited Gold Editions


United States
Disney Treasures : More Silly Symphonies


The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 38: Infested Silly Symphonies
The Mickey Mouse Club : October 22, 1956

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 RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.


From Rod Bennett : A wildly elaborate update of early 30's efforts like The Spider and the Fly and Midnight in a Toy Shop now features the fully mature "Snow White" house style which the Symphonies were so instrumental in bringing about.
From Jerry Edwards : The story is generally not that interesting to me - I just can't get interested in the boy and girl moth main characters. The only saving grace to the short is the amazingly realistic flame that the special effects animators create as a character onto itself.
From Amanda J : This was another one of my favorite Disney animated shorts. I thought the girl moth was so pretty, and the boy moth was goofy looking. The animation was so fun and creative, like when the moth ate the hat like it was a turkey. The music for this Disney short was chosen well, like when the girl moth was dancing near the flame. This is definitely one of the most memorable Disney cartoons from my childhood.
From Matthew Cooper : Okay, this short is awesome! Very good animation and excellent character design. I especially like the beginning when the boy and girl moth look through the window and vision the clothes as food (great animation here!) The flame is animated both very realistically and excellently. This short also has great effects like when the flame grows giant from the gasoline or turns blue from the ink! The only thing I don't enjoy about this short is the goofy look of that Scottish mannequin the moths get the bagpipes from! It's not that I think Disney was trying to be offensive to the Scotts, it's just that I'm sure it could have been drawn prettier.
From DaVon : This is another addition to my top ten list of favorite Silly Symphonies. I agree that the effects with the flame are great. That female moth surely is fine. I like how the male moth and other moths come to rescue her and manage to save, and prevent, the shop from burning down before it could all simultaneously. So in the end, there are two victories in the same night. I find everything else about this cartoon great, from the characters to the colorful artwork to the backgrounds. For me, I consider it to be one of the more outstanding Silly Symphony shorts of the latter half of the '30s and to outdo some, certain others. In the league with the best of the best of them, recommended, I give it a 10/10 and A+.
From Richard Sutor, Ph. D : Two observations about the "flame" character. The first is a kind of subliminal bit. When the girl moth is first seen by the flame it blazes up and acquires a face. The girl moth reacts and the action turns back to the flame again. This is at about 2min 45 sec into the cartoon. If you use the single frame advance feature on you DVD player you'll see, for just one frame, the face of the flame turns into a caricature of Clark Gable. I'm not sure if this was for the ladies in the audience or to make the flame seem more alluring to the girl moth. The second observation regarding the flame character is its design. To my eyes there is a strong resemblance between the facial design of the flame the the jack in the box who tries to win over the ballerina in Fantasia 2000 "The Steadfast Toy Soldier" set to Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No 2. The resemblance becomes most pronounced after the flame has grown in strength due to the boy moth's accidentally dousing it with a flammable fluid.

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