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Tall Timber

An Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Cartoon

Release Date : July 9, 1928

Running Time : 7:33

Synopsis

Oswald goes out into the great outdoors where he canoes down the rapids and finds himself captured by a pack of bears.

Characters

Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit

Credits

Director
Walt Disney
Animation
Hugh Harman
Rollin "Ham" Hamilton
Camera
Mike Marcus

DVD

United States
The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 7 : The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Technical Specification

Color Type: Black & White
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Silent
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by M. J. Winkler Productions

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : The last of the Oswald shorts still available for me today is Tall Timber, which again features Oswald in a solo role. It’s a very interesting cartoon visually, and has some great gags, but there’s no connective tissue to the story, merely a succession of gags. It’s really a throwback to the Alice series in that way, and somewhat of a deviation from the previous Oswald subjects.

The story, such as it is, just features Oswald on a journey through the wilderness, first off in a canoe. There are some great close-up shots of Oswald as he paddles along the river, offering a different perspective from the normal sideways shots.

Of course, not everything goes according to plan, and soon Oswald is carried over the falls, going through all sorts of contortions and gags to try and avoid the rocks and sink his boat. Nothing especially stands out, and the sequence seems to drag on just a bit.

At the bottom of the falls, a duck menaces Oswald, causing him to shoot a hole in his boat by accident. The duck manages to get Oswald to sink the boat, but the resourceful rabbit grabs on to a moose that carries him to shore.

That does not mean safety, though, as Oswald soon is falling over forward, down a steep mountain face, with a boulder on his tail. He does his best to avoid it, but to no avail.

The boulder smashes Oswald up against a tree, which leads to the most interesting sequence of the film. In a close up, Oswald tries to stretch himself back out, which causes all sorts of distortions into the lens of the camera. It’s almost a fisheye effect, but it was done with animation. It’s a great visual, and some inventive animation.

Oswald manages to get squished back to a round shape, and rolls down a hill into a couple of baby bears. The small bears smack him around and pull him back into his normal shape. Oswald chases them, only to run right into the mother bear.

What follows is very familiar from the Alice Comedies – the bear chases Oswald into a cave, sound effects animation pop out from the cave, the bear leaves in its undergarments, and out comes Oswald in a new bear skin coat. It’s a familiar scene, but something about Oswald doing it makes it a bit funnier than when Julius did it.

So that’s the last of the Oswalds. There were several that were missing from the Disney Treasures DVD, but I don’t have access to them, and I’m not sure how many of them survive. But what does exist gives us a good idea of what was going on at the Studio at the time.


From B. D. : This is my favorite Oswald short - it may not have as much story as Oh What a Knight, but the gags and animation are just that great. It should be interesting to see how things change on this site once Mickey shows up - I suppose one could say that everything up until now has just been sort of a prologue, and the bulk of Disney's career is just getting started.
From Mac : You're right, there's less of a story this time, but it's still fun to watch. Rather than focusing on his personality, this one seems like a chance to put Oswald through as many distortions as possible and the animators sure push it – even further than we've seen before (and maybe further than we'll ever see again in a Disney cartoon). A lot of the effects are much longer lasting than before and Oswald seems really uncomfortable as he struggles to correct himself. My favorite gag is when squashed-fat Oswald ends up walking on his ears, unable to right himself. There's also some great animation of the tall-flat Oswald struggling to stand up and using a tree as support (bringing to mind the scene at the end of Roger Rabbit where Judge Doom gets run over by the steamroller.)
From Ryan : Until the release of the Oswald DVD set, I had never seen this short. One gag I enjoy is when Oswald takes away the bears' furs and makes a fur coat out of them. Another interesting thing to note is that the animation of the waterfall was reused in the early Merrie Melodie cartoon "Hittin' the Trail to Hallelujah Land."
From John Boles : It is obvious that this cartoon was directed and drawn by Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising (no doubt with the help of Friz Freleng). The style, jokes and animation is unmistakably theirs. It almost looks like one of their early Merry Melodie or Looney Tunes cartoon except for the missing soundtrack. I very much doubt Walt Disney had anything to do with this cartoon. A perfect example are the two "Cubby the Bear" cartoons Harman and Ising produced for RKO Radio Pictures. They are completely unlike the rest of the series as Harman and Ising had avery distinctive style and humor. A number of the Winkler Oswald cartoons bear their stamp as well.

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