Pluto's Judgement Day
"Pain, torture, humiliation, and a happy ending. That's what children's entertainment is about."
(Matt Groening on "Pluto's Judgement Day")
This is another request from one of our readers. "Pluto's Judgement Day" (released on 08/31/1935) is by far one of the darkest and most disturbing Disney shorts. Also it's one of the best, but I'm sure it gave nightmares to many kids during the last seven decades. It certainly left a strong impression on me when I was a little kid (it quickly become one of my favorites).
The cartoon starts with the moody organ music that alternates with the regular jazzy score, so already during the title cards we are given a hint that this is not going to be an ordinary Mickey and Pluto adventure.
Director David Hand obviously had some affinity for the dramatic and macabre themes, as shown here, and in few of his earlier cartoons (in particular, the remarkable "Mad Doctor"). Also, we should not forget that he was the supervising director of Disney's first animated feature "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
The main animators on "Pluto's Judgement Day" were Norman Ferguson, Hamilton Luske, Fred Moore, Bill Roberts and Dick Lundy. There's a very strong indication that at least one scene has been completely animated by Ward Kimball, although he wasn't credited on the animation draft. Mark Kausler in one of his recent posts at Animation History forum noticed that Kimball was at that time the assistant of Ham Luske, and he was often handling alone the broader and more "cartoony" scenes. The "dog-shocked cat" scene certainly looks like Kimball's work and it has the funniest and most cartoony animation in the whole picture.
I leave the last word to a certain clueless and ignorant soccer mom who left the following comment at the Internet Movie Database:
"Whoever came up with the idea for this sick, twisted animated feature should be shot. I have no respect for any of the animators that were behind this disgusting tale of Pluto getting tortured by tons of cats. It disturbed me and my family so much we had to change the channel before it was over. All copies of this cartoon should be burnt and banned..."
(this is just an excerpt. Read the whole silly rant HERE , just for a laugh)