This groundbreaking series of 31 uncensored cartoons, released between 1929 and 1939, includes six Academy Award(R) winners and provides an astonishing look inside the evolution of animation. Each boasting a unique cast of... more » characters, these musical shorts served as Walt Disney's proving ground for emerging technology, new musical styles, and experimental forms. In addition to the cartoons themselves, join Academy Award(R)-winning composer Richard M. Sherman (MARY POPPINS) for an overview of the "Silly Symphony" series, and take a peek inside the Disney archives to view some rare and remarkable merchandise, conceptual art, and theatrical posters. Enjoy a nostalgic look back at the original musical shorts that launched a revolution in the world of animation. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.« less
Great SS set, but the ommissions were painfully evident
John G | Chico, CA (USA) | 01/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Before I obtained this DVD set, I had high expectations. I had seen some of the Mickey Mouse In Living Color set, and was enthrolled at the gorgeous color and clearity of the pictures. Not to mention sound with no hiss or other pollutants. The Silly Symphony DVD set did not disappoint.It is not my intent to author a history of Disney animation. However, a few facts will lead to a greater appreciation of this set. Disney started in the 20's with a character named Alice, that later developed into Mickey Mouse. Cartoons were all in b/w, and animation not as refined as in the 30s and 40s. From 1924 through 1926, Disney produced only Alice shorts. (Now THERE would be some real TREASURES if Disney ever released these toons! They've never been released commercially!) In 1927 and 28, Disney changed his primary character to Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit. These have also never been released. As 1929 drew to a close, other studios began releasing musical shorts - remember that sound with image only began in 1927 - and Walt was under pressure to produce a new product for theaters. One with color and sound. The Silly Symphony was born. Essentially, that's what Silly Symphonies are. They are a cartoon story to a musical soundtrack with almost no dialogue or verbal exchange.The first Silly Symphonies were composed of simple themes - in fact, there were a set produced that dealt only with the seasons: Springtime and Summer came out in 1930, Fall and Winter came out in 1931. Other titles were Arctic Antics, Frolicking Fish and Monkey Melodies. The animation was nice, but the themes were simple. In 1931 as audiences tired of these simple themes, Disney had to produce something new again, so began the fairy tale editions of Silly Symphonies. Some of these ended up being the studio's best work! By the mid 30's Disney was also doing purely artistic shorts which were somewhat abstract, culminating in a short, not on the DVD, (ouch!) called Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, about musical instruments coming to life in a totally Salvador Dali-like surreal backdrop.The Disney Treasures DVD focuses on several academy award winners (such as The Old Mill) and the fairy tale/story based Silly Symphonies. Many of Disney's finest efforts are included, such as the Tortoise and the Hare, The Grasshopper and the Ants, Three Little Pigs, 1929's Skeleton Dance, Flowers and Trees, Woodland Cafe, Music Land, and Disney's most lavish Symphony, Wynken Blynken and Nod. The color is great, the sound equally impressive. Many of these shorts were previously released on Disney's VHS line called "Limited Editions Gold" series 1 and 2 in the late 80's. (each series was 6 tapes). In fact, that line contains many SS shorts not on the DVD. However, the DVD does have some 35 different SS shorts on it. Many have introductions by the host of the series, Leonard Maltin. (Note! Many also have intros by Walt Disney - but they are hidden as Easter Eggs! You'll have to search for those Easter Eggs to get Walt's commentary!) All in all, this is a wonderful package for SS fans, with a nice selection of the Silly Symphony shorts (35 shorts are on the DVD, 36 are not) with subjects to please adults and children alike, gorgeous color and sound, and very attractive packaging. Plus you get a little 6x8 "card" of collectible poster art in the box. If you love 30's animation and especially Disney's, you can't go wrong with this set of DVDs.(Now, I HAVE to mention one thing. Although the selections on the DVDs are great, I wish they would have made this a 4 disk set, and put ALL 71 SS shorts on DVD at one time. There are some shorts that truly deserved to be on this DVD set, such as The Moth and the Flame, the four "Seasons" shorts, Three Blind Mouseketeers (a precursor to the Mickey Mouse Club!), Goddess of Spring, and certainly Toot, Whistle at el. I guess these are being held for Volume II at some point, but it would have been nice to not have quite as much commentary from Leonard, and more of the shorts instead. No offense Leonard.) All in all, I give this effort 4 out of 5 stars. Get this DVD, you won't regret it and you'll enjoy it for years!"
Sumptuous Disc, perhaps too much talk.
Leealike | London | 02/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Whatever the outcome of Disney's current copyright entangles you cannot argue that the company doesn't take care of it's property.I doubt you can find better quality prints of any films dating back over 70 years - 99% of them look brand new. There are some fantastic classics on the disc, along with many Silly Symphonies I had never seen. Good to see some of the black and white cartoons aswell! Also, I haven't encountered a disc with so many "easter eggs" before, it's always nice to get free stuff!The only minor points (or major points depending on your point of view) are the following. Firstly, although the many Maltin documentaries included are fairly interesting and informative I doubt I will ever return to them. It may be nit-picking, but I would have preferred a couple more cartoons in their place. (Perhaps some of the early silent Disney "Laugh-o-grams" cartoons on which many of the ideas for the Symphonies were first based).Secondly, Disney publicity claims the disc is UNCUT, whilst many of the films have reissue titles (a minor point, but one which is not referred to) and The Three Little Pigs is still presented in it's 1940s censored version. (Although we do see a tiny clip of the original censored material Maltin talks over it - it's not presented as part of a whole cartoon - therefore is still esentially "censored"). As I said, probably minor points - Disney should still be applauded for the disc. I would have liked, however, to have seen interviews or heard commentaries from survivng Disney animators. They won't be around forever. Perhaps other companies who hold classic Hollywood animation to ransom should take note, and start releasing uncut, uncensored DVDs to the adult market - a market which accepts these films for what they are, true art forms of the 20th Century."
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 06/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With more than five hours of material, this "Silly Symphonies" collection remains the best of the limited-edition "Walt Disney Treasures" series. The two-DVD set includes some of the finest animated shorts in pristine condition - notably "The Skeleton Dance" (1929), "Flowers and Trees" (1932), "The Three Little Pigs" (1933), "Music Land" (1935) and "The Old Mill" (1937). For cartoon buffs, the "Silly Symphonies" package is a must-have. For the uninitiated, it is the perfect introduction to Disney's early work."
Warning To Marketplace Buyers
N. Stock | Australia | 08/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warning to those that want to buy this DVD set from Marketplace sellers. There is one Marketplace seller that goes by the name rhaxter that has a very belligerent and abusive attitude to any buyer that has the "gall" to complain to him about his sending damaged merchandise. Check out other sellers as I have had some very good dealings with them. The bottom line is to always check all of the reviews of the Marketplace sellers. Mr Haxter had some good reviews until you check some of those those that complained about damaged goods and then they reported his abuse and contempt for them. My comments on this DVD set is that it is a wonderful time capsule of the Disney cartoons of the 1930's. It is well worth buying and very nostalgic for those that grew up watching Walt Disney."
Great animation! Lot's of Fun!
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 12/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great DVD! I had never seen the bulk of these Disney classics, and the few I remember I last saw decades ago on "Wonderful World of Disney." Wow! Some of the finest animation I have seen.In an interview on this DVD, Disney says that the Silly Symphonies were an arena for animators to experiment, without the financial risks of a feature length animated film. This format was a fertile field for the imagination. Artists who are free to take risks tend to produce more stunning work. "Wynken, Blynken and Nod" is a really beautiful cartoon that I had never seen before. It it packed with vivid colors and dynamic animation. The cloud men are impressive. "Water Babies" is very pretty and very funny. Each cartoon is a classic.I mainly wanted this collection for "The Old Mill" and "Skeleton Dance." Those did not disappoint. I had not seen "The Old Mill" for years and it is as dramatic and perfect as I remember. "Skeleton Dance" is a spooky treat. "Wise Little Hen," the first Donald Duck cartoon, was an unexpected delight. I can see why the character took off. There are some complaints about this DVD. Too many of the Leonard Maltin picks are duplicated elsewhere on the disk. They could have used the room to put in some more cartoons. The "Easter eggs" are easy to find, but may confuse people. Some older cartoons are scratchy. However, there is so much delight in the cartoons themselves, I don't mind the minor flaws. I'll say it again. This is a great DVD!"