Poster

The Pointer

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : July 21, 1939

Running Time : 8:34

Synopsis

Pluto becomes a hunting dog, learning how to point for Mickey.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Pluto
Bear (unnamed)

Credits

Director
Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi
Animation
Preston Blair
Ollie Johnson
Lynn Karp
Lester Novros
John Lounsberry
Norm Ferguson
Frank Thomas
Claude Smith
Art Palmer
John Meador
Seamus Culhane

Awards

Academy Award Nominee (Best Short Subject) of 1939.

Milestones

Most critics consider this short to be a milestone in the evolution of Mickey Mouse. Although Fred Moore (long considered the "Mickey expert") tried to do something new with Mickey in every short, "The Pointer" is where it all came together into a more modern Mickey. The "acting" as well, especially in the scene showing the showdown with the bear, is considered to be Mickey's finest to date.

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 2 : Pluto
Germany
Happy Birthday, Pluto!
Happy Birthday Mickey
Mickys Größte Show
France
La Collection en Or des Studios Disney Volume 1
Joyeux Anniversaire Mickey
Italy
Video Parade 6
Le Avventure di Caccia del Prof. de Paperis
Cani e Simpatia

CED

United States
Cartoon Classics - Pluto

Laserdiscs

Cartoon Classics : Pluto
Japan
The Hunting Instinct
Mickey's Golden Jubilee

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Mickey
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
Italy
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
Canada
Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Mickey
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 2: Mickey Landmarks

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

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.

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : It’s been a while since we have seen Mickey Mouse in the Disney shorts, but he returns in a big way with The Pointer, a short that sees a number of changes in our main mouse. This is a new Mickey, and it’s much closer to the Mickey we would see in cartoons today than what we might have seen in the past.

This is the first time Mickey’s design has been so close to what it is today. The main difference is the addition of pupils to Mickey’s eyes, but there is more too it. The pupils help make his face more expressive, which has been a focus of the tweaks to Mickey for a while now. There is also a great use of shading on Mickey in this short, adding much more dimension to the animation.

It’s also interesting that Mickey in this short is very much the celeb. When he is threatened by a bear, he even lets the bear know that he’s Mickey Mouse, and won’t hurt the bear. It’s a neat window into Walt, who is still providing the voice to Mickey. Rumor has it that Walt’s recording session was filmed, and his gestures were used in the scene of Mickey talking to the bear. Once can imagine Walt saying, “It’s me…Walt Disney!” to someone on the street here as well.

The artistry of this short cannot be overstated. Scenes of Mickey and Pluto walking through the woods are breathtaking. The detail of the backgrounds and the use of color to establish tone and mood are fantastic. It’s a great difference from something like Sea Scouts or The Beach Picnic, where the focus was more on Donald and his exploits. This is much closer to Snow White than a short.

The plot has Mickey trying to teach Pluto to be a quail hunting dog, to no avail. Pluto isn’t cut out for the pointing business. In fact, when he does finally get to work, he gets separated from Mickey, and when he points at the quail, he doesn’t get anywhere. Mickey is off in another part of the forest, being trailed by a bear that he mistakes for Pluto.

The cross cutting of this short between Mickey’s hunt with the bear and Pluto standing perfectly still with animals all around him is very funny. Each of these are funny gags, but both require a little extra to make them truly remarkable. The slow build of the two coming together into a final chase sequence with the bear is very well done.

It does seem now that Mickey has not been the main star that his shorts are much more of an event. Originally, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was supposed to be Mickey’s next short, but it was shelved and The Pointer came next. Regardless, this short shows a leap forward for Mickey, where his shorts are now events.


From Tom Wilkins : I am only 27 and still can't believe that I first saw this cartoon in a movie theatre, paired with 1938's Ferdinand The Bull. Unfortunately I did not recall the full-length feature I saw after that. But still, this is one of the finer hunting movies ever made, circulating around Pluto's frozen stature. The birds certainly loved playing basketball with Pluto's eyelids. Mickey is his classic self trying to divert the bear from ending his short 11 year career, but as usual they escape. No "beans" about it, this cartoon sure gets its "points" across.
From Brad Bethel : The Pointer was a rather interesting cartoon for Mickey Mouse. Not because of the humor, but because of the realistic artwork. I'm totally unsure how Walt Disney, even as far back as the late 1930's and without modern computer technology was able to make his cartoons look so beautiful. A method like this was used in his first three animated features, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. The Pointer also marked one of the earliest versions of the Mickey Mouse of today. Other than the artwork, the story was well presented, and both Mickey and Pluto learned a lot on their hunting adventure. With the United States' cultural aspects of today going down in flames, society could use more cartoons like these, especially from Disney.
From Ryan : This short, aside from being a turning point of Mickey's appearance, has some high quality animation. As an artist myself, I just love how the forest has been painted. If I had been around when this short was produced, Disney could have hired me to paint the background scenes. I also noticed that the animals in this short looked like the ones that were in the movie "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."
From Trae Robinson : The animation is very brilliant in this short. This is the first time Mickey has human eyes. Society Dog Show was the last short to feature Mickey's dot eyes.
From Baruch Weiss : Yes this is definitely a turning point in Mickey's appearance. As Ryan mentioned the forest creatures look like the ones in "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs". The Bear also looked like the one from Good Scouts, Little Hiawatha and Donald's Vacation!

Referenced Comments