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With: (voices) Clarence Nash, James MacDonald, Bill Thompson, Billy Bletcher, Dessie Flynn, Pinto Colvig, June Foray
Written by: Al Bertino, David Detiege, Jack Kinney, Bill Berg, Dick Kinney, Milt Schaffer, Ralph Wright, etc.
Directed by: Jack Hannah, Hamilton Luske
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 344
Date: 03/19/2013

The Chronological Donald Volume Four: 1951-1961 (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Sweetest Disposition

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Growing up, I very much enjoyed reading Donald Duck comic books by the great Carl Barks. They often featured Donald and his three nephews traveling around the world with their rich, penny-pinching Uncle Scrooge looking for treasure. The ducks were intelligent and well-read, prepared for any emergency and all kinds of action.

The animated cartoons, however, are much simpler. They usually show Donald attempting to perform some task while some animal, insect, bully or relative interrupts him. The cartoons do feature Donald's hilarious boxing stance, with one arm outstretched in front of him, the other pinwheeling around, while hopping up and down.

This fourth volume is the final Donald collection, with some 31 cartoons, including those in Cinemascope, and one in 3-D (sorry, it's presented in 2-D here). Some of them look a little looser and not as gorgeous as the early cartoons, but others have a terrific, almost surreal Art Deco look. There's a great Halloween cartoon, Trick or Treat (1952), co-starring the great June Foray as Witch Hazel. And of course, we have the potentially offensive "From the Vault" cartoons with various with a disclaimer from host Leonard Maltin. Here we have Uncle Donald's Ants (1952), with African stereotypes, and Rugged Bear (1953), with lots of guns and shooting. On the second disc, we get Spare the Rod (1954), No Hunting (1955) and How to Have an Accident at Work (1959), with more of the same. Another highlight is the half-hour, oddly surreal Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959). And for some reason there were a lot of "bear" cartoons around this time.

Extras include a short about Donald in the comics, a short about a storyboarded, but unmade Donald cartoon, "Mickey Mousework" cartoons, and various commentary tracks.

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