Something I can talk at length about is cartoon history. So for this next batch of posts I’m going to take you on a trip. We’re going to look at some stuff you might not have seen before, some stuff older folks might remember, and possibly a few you’ve just forgotten about.
Today I’d like to tell you about the 1943 Walt Disney Donald Duck cartoon, Der Fuehrer’s Face. Originally it was titled Donald Duck In Nutzi Land but that was changed after the success of the Spike Jones and His City Slickers cover of the Oliver Wallace theme song. It won the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.
Obviously this is an anti-nazi propaganda short. It features Donald waking up in nazi Germany and going through the unhappy daily ritual of slaving away in a munitions factory, heiling Hitler, and being driven mad at bayonet point. It’s a good film with catchy music, solid animation, and very beautiful artwork. (All the hidden swastikas and whatnot make the backgrounds worth a thorough looking over.) Like most World War II cartoons there’s an attempt to make the enemy look silly, but it’s far from the most offensive or racist depictions I’ve seen of that era. It’s easily found online but since this one was released in Walt Disney Treasures – On the Front Lines and Walt Disney Treasures – The Chronological Donald, Volume Two (1942 – 1946), I urge you to either rent or buy it if you can. Usually these WWII shorts have to be passed around from collector to collector on poorly done tape dubs so anytime a studio releases a nice quality copy on DVD or something I’m gonna recommend picking that up.