Release Date : March 31, 1944
Running Time : 6:57
However, when I come across a short like Donald Duck and the Gorilla, I see something disappointing. After all the hard work in the previous shorts, this one just seems odd, because it’s a rehash of a plot point from an old Mickey short, and falls back onto gags that aren’t particularly new.
The setup for the short is that a gorilla has escaped from the zoo, which Donald and his nephews hear over the radio. Donald just so happens to have a gorilla suit laying around, so he picks up the gloves and uses them to scare the boys. They, in turn, put on the whole suit to scare him. This all takes place in the first couple of minutes of the short.
As you might imagine, from there the real gorilla shows up, and hilarity ensues. Sadly, it does not ensue properly, at least to my mind. There’s the obligatory gag where Donald mistakes the real gorilla for the boys in the suit, and from there it’s a bit of a mess.
There’s a whole sequence where the gorilla doesn’t show up, but the boys are sneaking around with Donald while carrying a candle. The candle ends up dripping wax on Donald’s tail, overheating a doorknob and generally is a nuisance. Is it funny? Mildly, but the whole time I was wondering where the gorilla was.
After that, the boys basically disappear, and the short is about the gorilla chasing Donald. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, but it is not necessarily good, either. Donald is funny, but we don’t get to see much of that here. We really get to see an old Mickey short revamped, and you could have dropped any character in this short and made it work. That’s why I can’t recommend this one.
The three of them decide to dress up as one gorilla and decide to turn
the tables on Donald. Donald grabs a book, and as he sits down he sits on
gorilla's lap (the nephew's one obviously) without even knowing it. He also
takes a lick of his lollipop, but the nephews take a huge "Dracula" bite
into it and eventually scares the living daylights out of Donald once he
realized who (or what) he was sitting on. As Donald runs for cover, the
real gorilla shows up by entering through the upstairs window and scares
the nephews away. It did not take long for Donald to see who played the
prank on him as costume bodyparts ran like spastic nerves all over the place.
Donald comes back and tries to jump on the gorilla knowing it was his nephews
inside the costume, but little did he realize that he was jumping on a REAL
gorilla until he sees the costumed one pass by. Donald finally realizes
what he got himself into when he yelled for the boys inside the gorilla
only to get an echo chamber as a response.
The radio made another announcement that suggested that anyone could
tame a wild animal by looking at him straight into the eye of gorilla. Donald
sees the gorilla's eye with a volatile message: "Here lies a dead duck."
Donald better run safari away that he won't be caught! But anyway, despite
my foul attempt in humor, Donald takes his defense weapon (an umbrella)
and shoves it in the gorilla's mouth, slowing him up for sure!
All four of them (Donald and the nephews) sneak all over the upstairs
part of the house, but unfortunately, wax falls on the tail of Donald, and
the wax ironically shaped up as a gorilla's hand. One of the nephews takes
the waxed hand off of Donald's tail, then later nails Donald again with
the flame in the fanny! Talk about your hot feathery butt! Donald then takes
the candle and chases the nephews away, but Donald turns completely clumsy
by burning his hand as he lights the doorknob with the flame!
As Donald "ballets" his way across the floor, the gorilla is swinging
across the wooden poles at the top of the inside of the house. Somehow,
Donald runs up on the gorilla, but as he tries to run away, he is yanked
through door by the gorilla, but without it paying attention until the duck
imprints fall off. The chase is on!
Donald speeds away with the gorilla close behind, swings down a pole,
pulls a ladder in front of him and causes the gorilla fly airborne through
about 15 stories of rooms! But the gorilla quickly recovers and the chase
resumes across long corridors and very lengthy tables. Donald tries to backpedal
away from the gorilla but leaves lots of plywood in the hands of the monster.
But Donald's luck runs out when he falls through the open insert of the
table and finds himself sandwiched as the gorilla tries to bite his hiny.
During the battle, another radio announcement is made to use tear gas,
which the nephews get. One of them throw it into the room where Donald was
getting himself crunched. The nephews saved him again as the gorilla is
hit right away with the chemical. Donald breathes a sigh of relief, then
laughs once he sees the gorilla suffering. At that instant, Donald gets
hit, and he now shares in the gorilla's misery, forcing the two of them
to share a tissue and make funny foghorn noises to close out the cartoon.
Now I'm not about to be affected by this lack-of-a-tearjerker ending,
if you know what I mean!
I especially love the ending where the gorilla and Donald sniff tear
medicine and begin to cry together, which saved Donald from being killed.
This short reminded me of a Tom & Jerry cartoon. Donald Duck and the
Gorilla gets an easy 10 out of 10.
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