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  • The Old Mill was a Silly Symphony developed as a test for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which was just going into production at the time. What came out of it is utterly beautiful. It is possibly the best Disney short, even rivalling The Skeleton Dance. 10/10.
  • Ted-518 December 2003
    Humor - Pathos - Suspense - Beauty - it's all here in this 8 minute gem! This is one I can watch again and again and again and enjoy every minute of it. A nice foreshadow of great things to come: Fantasia, Bambi, etc.
  • A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon Short.

    As evening draws near, the various creatures living in THE OLD MILL settle in for the night. Dark, fast-moving clouds, however, signal the arrival of a fierce storm...

    Winner of the 1937 Academy Award, this lovely cartoon was important for a couple of significant reasons. It exhibited the quantum leaps the Disney artists had taken since the early Symphonies in the animation of animals - the mice and birds are particularly well drawn. The cartoon also debuted the Studio's new multi-plane camera, a complicated and very expensive machine which was able to render an astonishing illusion of depth. - notice the opening traveling shot which moves through the spider web.

    The SILLY SYMPHONIES, which Walt Disney produced for a ten year period beginning in 1929, are among the most fascinating of all animated series. Unlike the Mickey Mouse cartoons in which action was paramount, with the Symphonies the action was made to fit the music. There was little plot in the early Symphonies, which featured lively inanimate objects and anthropomorphic plants & animals, all moving frantically to the soundtrack. Gradually, however, the Symphonies became the school where Walt's animators learned to work with color and began to experiment with plot, characterization & photographic special effects. The pages of Fable & Fairy Tale, Myth & Mother Goose were all mined to provide story lines and even Hollywood's musicals & celebrities were effectively spoofed. It was from this rich soil that Disney's feature-length animation was to spring. In 1939, with SNOW WHITE successfully behind him and PINOCCHIO & FANTASIA on the near horizon, Walt phased out the SILLY SYMPHONIES; they had run their course & served their purpose.
  • The Old Mill is a genuine masterpiece from Disney`s chest of treasures. It is not a witty movie, so those of you who must laugh at a Disneymovie better avoid this.

    The setting is an old mill, which you should guess from the title. The Old Mill is filled with atmosphere, nice drawings and classic music, which makes it a real joy to watch. 9,5/10
  • The Old Mill is one of the most beautiful pieces of animation I have ever seen. This comment is even more remarkable considering that The Old Mill was made back in 1937. I especially liked the plethora of colors used in this short. The most striking animated sequence occurs when the thunderstorm hits and almost devastates the mill and its animal inhabitants. Even the animals are realistically drawn well, something sort of rare for a cartoon at that time.

    The Old Mill even evokes emotion, which is saying quite a bit because not a word is spoken. I thought the frogs' song was hilarious, and I actually felt concern for the mama bird when the giant gear inside the mill could have crushed her. This is just an extraordinary, subtle piece of art from Disney.

    My IMDb Rating: 10/10
  • 'The Old Mill' was a short Disney film (about 8 minutes long) that the animators created to aid them in the production of 'Bambi'. I saw this on the Disney channel when I was younger, and the animation is so powerful that it stuck with me. Now, I've watched it again as a clip provided on the 'Bambi' DVD. The clip features several creatures that live in and around an old mill, and there is a storm. All of the events taking place are done to powerful music from the singing of the frogs to the storm, and there are no speaking parts. It's purely nature and Disney animation at its best. Hopefully, a greater appreciation for nature can be learned through this film as I think it is something taken for granted by most today. And it is amazing that an animation can be so powerful through minimalisation and sound. It's much better quality than some of the computer-animated clutter. Wonderful.
  • I can't praise this beautiful masterpiece of a cartoon enough. The animation is absolutely stunning, and the storm effects were excellent, certainly give Snow White and Fantasia a run for their money. I didn't find the Old Mill dull in any way, it was beautiful and just perfect. Another special mention has to go to the music, its lyricality somehow reminded me of the countryside on a beautiful summer's day, and the animals the swallows especially were a delight. They never spoke, but were beautifully incorporated into the story, and there was a lot of genuine fright when the storm started. Who wouldn't be frightened, it was a truly wonderful moment.

    Overall, just beautiful, I can't find another word to describe how good it really was. I will admit I forgot I was watching a eight minute or so cartoon, and insisted I was watching a work of art. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • To many, the 1930s is the Golden Age of film animation. A wonderful palette of colors runs throughout The Old Mill, a labor of love for the master artists who would continue their craft through the great Disney triumphs yet to come. It's a film of moods and impressions, all set within a brief period towards nightfall early on one summer's evening.

    An abandoned windmill rests in a pastoral setting, its productive days behind it, with only wildlife visiting the weathered old structure to seek shelter within. As evening falls, there is a play of light from the fireflies; crickets chirp and the nearby frog pond is alive with the sounds of the impending night.

    But a gust of wind signals an approaching storm - and Leigh Harline's soundtrack music now becomes ominous, as the freshening breeze begins to nudge the long-disused windmill blades.

    The creatures seek shelter, and now the only sound is the rising wind ... and soon it becomes a gale, raging at full fury, and the rotted ropes that secure the tattered blades can no longer hold against the violence of the storm. The age-weakened ropes sever - and the old windmill begins to turn one final time, the wooden gears meshing again, and picking up speed with every revolution in concert with the force of nature driving them. The storm worsens, and in an unforgettable image the windmill, silhouetted against the raging sky and rain by flashes of lightning, becomes an apparition, alive with mindless motion and energy. Amidst the roaring thunder comes one mighty bolt of lightning, and . . .

    See "The Old Mill", with its wonderful, rare artistry in sight, color, action, sound and music.

    A masterpiece, with a Top Rating of 10.

    (A note of caution: the storm scene is intense, and will frighten the very young and/or impressionable.)
  • The folks at Disney won an Oscar for this astonishing piece of work and deservedly so! It's got to be one of the most meticulously done animations I have seen in my life! The detail work is inspired and it's apparent that a great deal of time, effort and creativity was given to this gem. While it isn't available commercially (like far too much of the shorter animation done for the Mouse), it do run on the Ink and Paint Club periodically. I wish they would release more of the animated shorts and the live-action shorts and documentaries they did in the 1940's and 1950's. *sigh* The puck is on his stick, he's skating for the net, he shoots, he scores and the place goes crazy! Most unreservedly recommended.
  • utgard146 November 2015
    Wonderful Disney animated short that has a lot of significance, both artistically and from an animation history perspective. I just love this cartoon. The plot, such as it is, has various adorable animals living in an old windmill and dealing with a scary thunderstorm. It's so simple but so effective and just gorgeous to look at. The animation is sublime with beautifully drawn characters and backgrounds, rich colors, and some of the best use of lighting to create atmosphere you'll ever see in a cartoon. If you loved the spooky part of Snow White where she's running through the woods, you'll love this. This is Disney's first use of the multiplane camera, which creates a short of three-dimensional effect. It played a big role in the making of those early Disney feature-length classics we all know and love. The music in this is also very enchanting and perfectly matches the animation. This is truly a work of art. Lovely from start to finish. A real classic that everyone who loves vintage animation should see at least once.
  • The Old Mill (1937)

    *** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Excellent Silly Symphonies short from Disney takes place at the title location. We see an old mill and then we witness several animals take shelter there just as a major storm starts to blow in.

    If you're looking for some sort of plot or character driven story then you're going to be disappointed. This really reminded me of what Disney would do a few years later in FANTASIA as this here is really all about the visuals and the score that goes with it. The images are certainly quite beautiful and it's easy to see something like this and realize why Disney really did change animation and especially when you compare this to other bits of animation from this period. The colors of the creatures make them come to life and the storm itself just has so much detail that you can just feel the wind blowing on your neck. Certainly one of the studios best works.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This to me is by far the most visually powerful and thrilling Silly Symphony of them all. Despite there being no words it speaks louder than most other entries in the series. The music is so wonderfully subtle. It's there, but unlike many of the others it's by no means the only thing that this short is about. You don't such hear the themes as feel them. I love all the various and endlessly rich details there are to take in, particularly of the mill itself. It was as if the place had a life of its own like the various creatures to which it gave shelter to. You can spot something new on every viewing. The striking sense of building momentum and force during the big storm sequence is nothing short of incredible. The orchestration of the wind, rain and lightning is awe-inspiring. The award was very well-deserved. It's a stunning example of what human hands and minds can create. I for one appreciate how the happy ending has something of a dark overtone to it. This is very probably just me, but even though the danger may be over this time, that windmill is afterwards noticeably precarious. If ever such a storm were to occur once again... You know, The Simpsons, of all things, made an affectionate little homage to this in an episode titled: "Bart has Two Mommies." Something I also found very welcome indeed was how the animals really did look like the real thing, unlike the singing and dancing sparkly-eyed animal-like sprites you usually get - not that there's anything wrong with that, but it was just a very nice change! The only bit I didn't enjoy as much was that of the little froggy chorus. I love frogs, but it was a little too whimsical compared to the rest. I love the humorous antics of the grouchy camera-shy owl. He's very similar to an owl seen during the "Little April Showers" scene in Bambi, and the Archimedes character from Sword in the Stone. Definitely one of the most striking and memorable sights is the blue momma bird who so bravely shields her eggs in what would be a futile effort had she not luckily happened to choose just the right crevice in which to nest. It's funny, even though you know she's safe and isn't gonna get smushed, I still feel a little shock of peril each time the wheel comes around! It really is like a glimpse into a little hidden world of nature. A world I imagine, still thoroughly unseen and unknown to the general public at the time. If some choose to view this as symbolising survival of world war or whatever, that's fine, but to me it just plain represents the way that life is fragile, but can with a little luck weather any storm and carry on even as things fall apart. Nice full-circle like effect, with the serenity of the opening and closing scenes. The ever-changing fortunes of nature, and of life... True quality in every sense of the word. Thank you.
  • I would watch this film almost everyday when I was a toddler, now that I am a teen, I still watch it often. This film has such beauty in it with the color, music, detailed animation, and backgrounds. This film also brings out my love for windmills (which I know may sound kind of crazy). The entire film was beautiful, but I felt that the love doves were kind of a little to childish.
  • There probably are examples from before The Old Mill, but I can't think of any time prior to this film where there was such a feeling of realism - or as close to it as possible, certainly from Walt Disney's studio - in presenting a world in animation in the wild like this. Previously, of course, Disney had been doing the Silly Symphony series (and this is one of them), but this one seems different, an experiment that probably came in, did it's thing, and left. Not to say that people didn't notice (it was one of Disney's *several* Oscars of the decade), but I wonder if it was possibly taken for granted at the time, since it is, even compared to something like Flowers and Trees, so simple and bare-bones in its storytelling.

    The thing that is most striking are the sets and animals. I say sets since it is still a movie with a created facade. But look at how the animals interact and act, the birds and frogs especially. There is something of a minor gag as one of the frogs eats a lightning bug and the bug strikes a big light in its belly, though this seems to me less like a gag meant to inspire guffaws and more like a smile or chuckle. The mood here is really controlled but in a good way; it starts off fairly calm, and then it builds fairly quickly (as it is should, it's just a short), and the conflict emerges as Nature itself is coming on to the windmill.

    The drama is very small-scale - such as, will the little bird, protecting its nest, be crushed by the gears of the wheel that is set in motion - or what will happen to the owl? This is not the cutesy animation of one of the early Mickey Mouse shorts where animals were played like instruments (not that that isn't a blast on its own). I have to think this was watched and studied by a lot of people (Don Bluth for one thing, a film like the Secret of NIMH seems influenced by the colors and things as simple as the sky and clouds and grass).

    Moreover, what's interesting n the film-history sense is if you hear the audio commentary for the Snow White DVD - clips of Disney interviews are cut together to make something of a long interview really - and he mentions, once or twice for sure, that The Old Mill was a kind of test-run for some of the techniques and technology for the feature. Indeed a whole new system of a mutli-plane camera was created to meet what would be required to add depth and nuance to everything that was unfolding. In this sense, this 'experiment' proved to be a massive success.

    In other words, The Old Mill is about as stripped down and, frankly, naturalistic as a Disney cartoon can get. You won't watch it and get a lot of laughs, it's not like that. It's about finding a groove in nature, finding the very basic conflicts that come for those around it (not humans, just the animals and setting), and what this home will be when it's all over. A minor masterpiece.
  • Walt Disney's series of "Silly Symphonies," which ran between 1929 and 1939, was originally envisioned as a testing-ground for many of the elaborate animation techniques that would eventually be utilised so effectively in the studio's feature-length films. The cartoons, running less than ten minutes, began as brief vignettes of dancing animals and plants (and even human skeletons) set to classical music, such as 'The Skeleton Dance (1929)' and 'Flowers and Trees (1932),' but eventually expanded towards adapting classic fairy-tales, as seen in 'Three Little Pigs (1933)' and both versions of 'The Ugly Duckling (1931 and 1939).' Thus, throughout the ten years that Silly Symphonies were produced, the emphasis was always on visual innovation, and dialogue was always kept to a minimum. Wilfred Jackson's 'The Old Mill (1937)' is perhaps Disney's all-time greatest achievement, and certainly my favourite to date, and was originally conceived for artists to experiment with the animation of animals, rain, wind, lightning, ripples, splashes and reflection, and was the debut of Disney's revolutionary multiplane camera.

    Interestingly, that 'The Old Mill' was essentially a trial-run for 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)' probably contributed to its greatness. Unburdened by any notion of a solid narrative, the film allows the viewer to simply sit back and lose themselves in the atmosphere of the nature scene. The loose plot concerns the wildlife inhabitants of an old mill situated in an isolated swamp, and whose quiet night is suddenly violently interrupted by a terrifying and immensely-powerful storm that threatens to tear their home apart. The cartoon's attention-to-detail is simply staggering, every character lovingly drawn, their every movement and gesture almost poetic in its execution. Disney's radical and expensive multiplane camera, used here for the first time, allowed the artists to communicate animated depth like never before, and the richness of their creation feels so genuine that you could almost step into the cartoon and explore for yourself. The storm effects had come a very long way from those seen in 'Springtime (1929),' and the lightning streaks across the sky with frightening authenticity.

    Though Yuriy Norshteyn's 'Tale of Tales (1979)' holds the official title as my favourite work of animation, Jackson's 'The Old Mill' certainly comes a close second. The meticulousness of the animation work is such that I can almost feel the wind and rain beating across my face, and the miniature dramas of the rainstorm – the bird protecting its eggs from the spoke of the wheel, the owl shielding itself from the elements, the mill pitching over in the gale – always keep me gripping my seat in anticipation. The choice of music, too, plays a pivotal role in developing the required atmosphere. The musical tone early in the film is lighthearted and bouncy, with the chorus of croaking frogs forming a melody that sounds a bit like "The Sorceror's Apprentice." I'm unsure of the piece that plays during the storm's onset, but it is wonderful, bringing a frighteningly ethereal tone that suggests something epic and supernatural about this force of nature. A "silly" Symphony this is not; 'The Old Mill' remains one of the most majestic and heartwarming cartoons ever made.
  • I was first introduced to The Old Mill when footage of it was recycled into a "Blueberry Hill" music video on DTV. I liked the dark, cloudy and atmospheric animation and the video became one of my favourites. The cartoon itself features a decrepit old windmill and the surrounding pond which is home to everything from frogs to bats. When a stormy night rolls in chaos ensues and the animals struggle to make it through.

    For a 72-year-old cartoon the animation is wonderful. There's not a human or a line of dialogue in the whole 9 minutes but there's still a great little story to be told. For all of these reasons it's no wonder that it won an Academy Award.
  • I absolutely love this cartoon. I thought it's beautifully animated under the direction of Wilfred Jackson, who also directed the "Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria" segment from the film "Fantasia" and a few favorite "Silly Symphonys" like :

    1. The Cat's Out (1931), 2. The Bears and Bees (1932), 3. Lullaby Land (1933), 4. The Goddess of Spring (1934), 5. The Country Cousin (1936), and... 6. Mother Goose goes Hollywood (1938). I am quite terribly particular about that, a favorite short directed by who's who. But this short is my all-time favorite on my "Favorite Silly Symphonys" list. I love the scene at night, it is just gorgeous. I also love the little swallow family, they are so adorable.
  • Before the release of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", the animators at the Disney studios had to run tests to see if the special effects they could use at the time would even be possible. "The Old Mill" was one of those tests, and did it pay off in the end? You bet it did. Released in 1937, the same year that saw the release of the aforementioned "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "The Old Mill" would in itself be a milestone in Walt Disney's Silly Symphony series. It was unlike any other animated short released at the time, in that it was the first picture to use the "Multi-plane camera", which allowed the 2D animation to look more 3D. The use of realism and experimentations with light, color, and rotoscoping (animating by drawing over real-life images) also gave the film a distinct look amongst all of the other animated shorts released at the time, making it more like a moving painting as opposed to a moving cartoon strip.

    There isn't really that much of a story, except that we see the different animals occupy an old, beat-up windmill, such as birds, frogs, insects, mice, bats, etc. Suddenly, a storm sweeps over the land, causing the windmill to spin, and various parts of it becoming more and more loose as the storm intensifies, thus threatening all life within. As it goes on, you see the mill come apart, piece by piece, the wind flowing into the holes of a tree, making it sound like a haunting choir, and the animals trying to keep safe from the harsh weather, until finally, a flash of thunder strikes the mill, nearly demolishing it as the storm dies down. In the end, all of the animals survive the endeavor and begin anew as a new dawn approaches over the remains of the old mill.

    Imagine for a moment that you were an average joe in 1937, stepping into what was then called a movie-house, and seeing something like this for the first time before the feature begins. For many an audience, it was unlike anything that they have seen before, even by Disney standards. But it was simply a taste from what's to come from the studio later that year. Today, the film still holds up as it did back then. The animation itself is worth noting, as it's so smooth and true to life. The music, which helps move the film along, completely sets the mood, from its happiest moments to the most grim.

    The film, along with the release of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", would show that animation has a place in the industry and can be just as respected as any other motion picture. It has the power to tell unique stories that live-action films could not, and can make moviegoers emote. They began to feel uneasy when the storm came. They shook with fear and worried when the mother bird protecting her eggs as the mill wheel turned, and they sighed with relief that nothing bad happened in the end. This was what going to the movies was going to be like from there on, and as a result of that effort, Walt's team won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject.

    Today, it's a historic piece of animated art, still enjoyed by both kids and adults alike, and as of 2015, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry division of the U.S. Library of Congress. The film can be found on the first volume of the Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphony sets, or the Diamond Edition of the 1942 film "Bambi". If you have either one of these, by all means, definitely give it a watch.
  • I've seen it numerous times and it never ceases to amaze me. It takes a simple part of a landscape, an old fashioned windmill, once used to grind grain, and introduces us to an eco-system that lives in and around it. There are doves, an owl, frogs, bats, a couple bluebirds, and so on in this bucolic setting. They manage to coexist, living in a beautiful balance until one day a storm hits and the mill becomes active. This confuses the residents whose lives depend on everything at stasis. This is probably the most beautiful animation I have ever seen with every image breathtaking. There is also a score that masterfully integrates the incredible scenery with music. The storm is probably the most impressive part of this because the music raises the threat many-fold. Just wonderful.
  • This is an excellent cartoon short from Walt Disney. It is not the typical one featuring the star cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. Rather, it features a slew of animals such as birds, frogs, insects and bats going about their lives and daily rituals in or near an old windmill.

    As a little kid, I remember always rooting for my favorite part of the cartoon to come - the commencing of the storm and the windmill starting to turn. The raging storm reminds you of Mother Nature's fury and the frightened animals remind you of the innocence caught in the commotion. After the storm passes and the windmill is badly damaged, the animals return to their daily activities, serving as a reminder that life moves on.

    Grade A
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Old Mill is based upon the Rembrandt painting The Mill c. 1650 in the National Gallery. Copies have for long been for sale there. The print freezes the final frames of the mill in the Disney cartoon. This is so moving because the war was coming. Hitler was the storm. People who knew about the horrors were waiting for the storm but knew that the Mill would survive. In any event the helpless animals and the good that man had done are themes that do not require a single human character to express. I have used this cartoon over the years to come back to the great days of animation and the ways that brief breaks from the feature could involve youth, who waited for the break, in the issues that the cartoon displayed. The high quality animation was something that the youth loved but thought of differently by the fifties than the weaker animation efforts that they attended with their friends without parents.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    BABE RUTH didn't invent the Home Run; yet no one anywhere, at any period of time since his heyday can think of neither "the Long Ball" nor of the "Bambino" himself without at least a brief mental cross-reference of one to the other. Yes, George Herman Ruth may not have stated this "Homer" business, but he surely blasted his way to enshrinement in Cooperstown by way of his prowess of putin' 'em outa the Park.

    SO then why do certain people out and out excel at a particular Art Form or other special skill; completely outdistancing the competition? How is it that often one with an equal or even a lesser degree of talent manages to finish out in front of the pack than those truly blessed with natural prowess in a given area?

    LOOKING at the area of the Animated Movie, be they short subject or feature film, we see that the work of Walt Disney's Studio towers above all others. Oh, sure, Max and Dave, the Brothers Fleischer, pioneered many a great technique with their Rotoscope and their Table Top Animation, among others. The Warner Brothers Animation unit's LOONEY TOONES and MERRIE MELODIES with such great of an array of characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester & Tweety as well as many others, managed to find the right formula for tickling the American Funny-bone most consistently. There were others of course.

    BUT just what was it that set the Disney operation out in front and feted as being on a higher plateau than was the competition? We believe that it is Mr. Disney, himself, and his many talents above and beyond the old Drawing Board.

    ANIMATION, Disney Style, has some sort of internal life line; a sort of celluloid DNA or Animation Genome. Because of the Disney vision outside the proverbial box, success was built on each consecutively found success in each succeeding picture. Whereas it appears that the other animation houses did their best in getting their output completed on schedule for timely distribution; those at Disney built on any previously established successes in order that they would be constantly showing improvement.

    BEING the greatest example of this Animational Evolution is found in Disney Productions SILLY SYMPHONY Series. From the earliest, such as SKELETON DANCE or FLOWERS AND TREES we see a steadily improving succession of literary material, as well as illustrative acumen and animated technique. The decision early on to do all SILLY SYMPHONIES in Technicolor was another step in bringing the series up to a level far beyond anything else in the field.

    SO it was that with the release of THE OLD MILL, late in 1937, the combination of the scientific application of the animator's skills, outstanding Artwork (both in character & background illustration) and the implementation of a high literary standard in story content, all had brought the Art of Animation as far as the short subject would go. Walt & Company had gotten to the zenith of the Short Subject Theatrical Cartoon; but there was still another mountain to conquer; the challenge of a Full Length Animated Film lay ahead.

    OUR STORY…………………..Told entirely without the spoken word, THE OLD MILL relates the story of how a run-down and abandoned structure such as this Wind Mill was still very much useful and even necessary to a large number communities of flora and especially, fauna. It's sunset and we see the cows heading in from the fields, a family of ducks swims the pond to shore, birds come to a night's roost. Meanwhile, the night shift comes on as frogs begin their nocturnal vocalizations and the bats take to the moonlit skies.

    WE are shown how the now non-functioning mill provides home and shelter to many a great number of creatures; including a family of Bluebirds, mother sitting on a cluster of eggs. The problem is that the nest is built in a section of gear. When a great storm blows in, the rope holding the mill propeller breaks; the gear turns and the Bluebird family seemingly would be crushed. The tooth on the interlocking gear is missing and although the Birds are caught on a wild merry-go-round, they are otherwise unhurt.

    THE storm blows over, the sun rises, the frogs go to sleep and the bats return to the Old Mill. As the cows move back out to the fields, we see that the Bluebirds' eggs have hatched and all will continue; perhaps not 'Happily Ever-after', but they will continue to take life one day at a time.

    THE OLD MILL is a near perfection example of a Disney story; which also served as a morality story for a Depression Era America and the World. In it we are exposed to many dangers, of which we have little or no control; yet we will weather all by remaining together as a community in our own version of THE OLD MILL.

    AS in most any a Disney film, there is a very scary sequence involved with the out of control mill so nearly crushing the Bluebird family.(It really shook-up Schultz and me when we first saw it at the Carnagie THeatre in Chicago. It was 1975!)

    SADLY, the film marked the end of the line for those wonderful SILLY SYMPHONY Series of animated short subjects. Ahead of it was the likes of SNOW WHITE, PINNOCHIO, FANTASIA, DUMBO…………etc., etc.

  • In the 1930s, Disney Studio's "Silly Symphonies" were very popular cartoons. They lacked the cute and lovable characters like Mickey but were instead almost like music videos with cartoons--using mostly classical or classical-like music to accompany images--usually of nature. The earlier film FLOWERS AND THE TREES won the Oscar for Best Animated Short and this Silly Symphony also won in the same category a few years later.

    It's format is very similar to the usual film in the series--exceptional animation and nice music but not a traditional narrative. I honestly think that in 1937, it was seen very differently than people would generally see it today. In 1937, theater goers must have been bowled over by the first use of the multiplane camera, as it gave the film a gorgeous three-dimensional quality as the camera appeared to zoom in and out in the scenes. Crowds also would have been far more accepting of a less insane and cartoony style film--as the insanely fun cartoons that were made in the 40s and 50s were still a style you wouldn't see much of the 1930s. The 30s were filled with cutesy characters and schmaltz--something more hyperactive viewers (myself included) would hate. They certainly are NOT Bugs or Tom & Jerry!! So, overall, I loved the artwork and felt the story a bit dull and old fashioned. Watchable for curiosity sake and for fans of early animation but not to the average viewer.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is an Academy award winning Disney cartoon from almost 80 years ago and it is a great example that a (short) film does not really need a story to succeed. This one does not have any unless you count the short storm sequence maybe. From start to finish, we see a whole lot of animals living in an abandoned old mill. She is home to them and they are in danger of losing their home when a huge thunderstorm appears and the mill is struck by lightning. But in the end we see, it's all good and the animals are still in there. They are still in love with each other and their children are fine too. These 8 minutes are mostly a watch for the beauty of the animals depicted in here and also for their noises. I had a good time watching this. Thumbs up for Wilfred Jackson, who is not half as known as he should be given on how many famous Disney classics he worked. "The Old Mill" certainly also falls into that category. Recommended.
  • The Disney cartoon "The Old Mill" depicts a bunch of animals living in an abandoned windmill...and then a violent thunderstorm blows on in. As always, you're helpless against nature.

    I've never been a fan of Disney, but I liked the depiction of the thunderstorm. This Silly Symphony starts out like any other Disney cartoon: nauseatingly cute with everything drawn to look as realistic as possible...until the elements take over. Sixty-eight years later, Hurricane Katrina showed everyone just how violent the weather can get. But anyway, this cartoon is OK.

    In conclusion, the answer really is blowin' in the wind.