Home Defense

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : November 26, 1943

Running Time : 7:47

Synopsis

Donald mans his listening post while his three nephews wait in readiness to attack the enemy. But chaos breaks out when the enemy turns out to be nothing more than a wandering bee.

Characters

Donald Duck
Huey, Dewey and Louie

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Paul Allen
Story
Carl Barks
Jack Hannah

Cut Scenes

Some gun scenes have been cut out of this short.

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : An Officer and a Duck

Laserdiscs

Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : An Officer and a Duck

DVD

Disney Treasures : On the Front Lines
Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 51: Triple Trouble
The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 31: The Unseen Disney
The Mickey Mouse Club : November 19, 1957

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 : So far in the wartime shorts, we have seen quite a bit of military and foreign action. Donald has gone off and joined the Army, and we have seen how he has gotten into trouble with Pete. We’ve seen the propaganda shorts bashing Hitler and Germany. But there has been only one that dealt with the homefront – Victory Vehicles. Now, you can add Home Defense to that list.

Home Defense adds a dimension to the war at home that we have not seen so far – that of the watch commander or listening post. During World War II, there were citizens who would listen for attacks that might be coming. In this short, Donald Duck is one of those citizens, with the able assistance of his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie.

This short follows in the best traditions of Donald and his nephews cartoons, with the boys causing mischief for Donald, followed by Donald overreacting. Any good Donald short features Donald losing his mind, so this one is no different. In this case, however, it’s poking gentle fun at the listening post idea, and at the war itself.

Donald is spending his time at this listening post with the boys, when he accidentally awakens them. To get him back, the boys launch a toy plane and stuff it with cutout soldiers with parachutes. Donald reacts as though it’s real, and pulls out the guns to shoot the plane down and release the parachuters.

Then, when the ruse is discovered, Donald strips the boys of their rank and casts them off. This bit is very nicely done, as it foreshadows the end of the short. That is one thing that was missing from previous 1943 efforts, is the story consistency we saw in some of the earlier Disney efforts, especially Donald Duck cartoons.

The inevitable resolution here is that Donald needs the boys to deal with a real crisis, right? Instead, the comedic choice is to get Donald all worked up about another false threat, in this case a bee. The bee manages to get into Donald’s listening apparatus, which causes the duck to imagine all sorts of doomsday scenarios.

Frantic animation of the highest quality follows, as the boys are recalled, Donald sews their badges back on and in the end, a cannon is fired into Donald’s listening equipment. This climactic part of the short is very well done, with quick bursts of movement and racheting up the tension until we get to the end, when everything blows up.

Home Defense is a funny short not only for that, but because of the subtle satire of making fun of the listening posts. There were definitely those in America who thought the listening posts were a waste of time, since the war was in Europe. This short took some of their criticisms and put them on display. Whether that was intentional or not, it makes for a good, funny Disney cartoon.


From Jerry Edwards : When Donald Duck, a civilian war aircraft spotter, falls asleep at this post, his nephews trick him by launching a toy plane and toy parachutists. Donald also has misadventures when he thinks that a bee, as amplified by his listening device, is an enemy warship and ends up shooting his own listening post.

On the surface, this is just another typical Donald conflict with his nephews. But the war propaganda moral shines through - Donald should have been alert at his post at all times.


From Ryan : This time instead of Pete being the co-star, it's Huey, Dewey, and Louie. I enjoyed the part where the nephews play a trick on their uncle Donald by flying a toy plane into the sky that they put gingerbread figures in. When Donald wakes up and sees this, he prepares to fire, but then sees the gingerbread men (which he thinks are the enemy soldiers)parachuting out of the plane, he ducks down in a flower patch and surrenders. He then sees it's only a gingerbread man and sees his nephews shooting off guns. This scene is censored on the "Ink and Paint Club", but I saw it on the "Mickey Mouse Club" so I guess I should have taped it from that show rather than the "Ink and Paint Club (even though the "Mickey Mouse Club" version is black and white)."
From Baruch Weiss : This is the only wartime cartoon that has Donald's three nephews in it. It was ok, but again nothing to write home about.
From Alex Komar : Also cut out were references to the Japanese army during WWII.

Referenced Comments