The Discontented Canary (1934)

  |  Animation, Musical, Short

A canary is frustrated by being caged, particularly with a parrot taunting him when humans aren't watching. One day, he tricks the kind old lady that owns him into opening the window, and ... See full summary »


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User Reviews

5 August 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
| Doesn't leave the viewer discontented
Love animation, it was a big part of my life as a child, particularly Disney, Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera, Studio Ghibli and Tom and Jerry, and still love it whether it's film, television or cartoons. With significantly broader knowledge of different directors, animation styles and studios, actually appreciate and love it even more now.

As has been said a few times already, 'The Discontented Canary' is fairly typical of Harmon-Ising (not enormous favourites of mine but understand their importance in animation history), leaning towards the cute kind of cartoon with a lot of sentiment in alternative to the laugh a minute and hilarious kind, the latter being the one that a lot seem to prefer (understandably, though am hardly biased against the former). This approach has varied with Ising. In some instances it has been very sweet and charming, in others it can be cloying and too cutesy. Generally 'The Discontented Canary' belongs in the former category, despite the danger of falling into the latter with the premise.

'The Discontented Canary' has a lot to like although not a great cartoon, not one to completely overlook if not a cartoon to watch repeatedly.

Yes it gets a bit too saccharine in places and it is best perhaps to not talk about the story because there really isn't much of one. There could have been more energy too, it's not a dull cartoon but considering the basic idea it could have done with more liveliness.

What 'The Discontented Canary' does so well however eclipses these problems. The animation is rich in detail for design and backgrounds, vibrant and crisp. The composer for the prime-era 'Tom and Jerry' cartoons and regular Tex Avery composer Scott Bradley provides a lush and atmospheric music score. The voice acting is also on point.

It is hard not to fall in love with the fun characters, the cat being the most interesting, even if they are not especially distinctive, and it has enough likeability and personality to not be dull. 'The Discontented Canary' is rich in natural sweet charm and some very imaginative ideas and visuals in the flying moments. There is not much hilarious and the cartoon's hardly laugh a minute, but a good deal of it does raise a smile. The pace avoids being too draggy, although more energy wouldn't have gone amiss.

Summarising, nice and pleasant to watch if not a must watch. 7/10 Bethany Cox

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

15 September 1934



Country of Origin


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