One of dozens and dozens of unregarded classics produced by Disney
Jack Hannah must be THE most underrated cartoon director of all time; in my
estimation he is second only to Chuck Jones. In quality of output, that
He MAY not have been as inherently talented as Tex Avery or even Friz
Freleng (I must grit my teeth as I say this), but he had one inestimable
advantage over them and all his other more highly regarded contemporaries:
he worked for Disney, and so was allowed to direct the most rounded,
passionate, comically inspired cartoon character of all time: Donald
Donald is not just, as popular belief would have it, someone who gets mad.
He's someone with ungoverned, ungovernable passions, of which anger is just
one: hunger, weariness, envy, spite, lust and love are some of the others.
The humour comes (in part) from the fact that all along he thinks he's in
control. And in fact, the resulting cartoons ARE more controlled. Donald
does not break the laws of physics as often or as outrageously as Bugs
does - he cannot pull a stick of dynamite out of nowhere just because it
suits the plot - but when he DOES do the impossible, one feels the sheer
force of his personality pushing him. It's like watching (and listening
a jet as it crosses the sound barrier.
This cartoon proves my points as well as any other. It's one of Donald's
and Hannah's very best. The 1950s could easily have been their finest
decade together, if the economics of production hadn't cut Hannah's Disney
career short in 1956. Very likely it WAS their finest decade even so.
if "The New Neighbor" were the routine Donald outing you'd expect from
reading a synopsis of the plot, which it isn't, the strength of Donald's
character would be enough to make it funnier and more vibrant than the
ritualised gaggery Warner Brothers was churning out at the time. -Except,
that is, for the cartoons of Chuck Jones - another director who understood
the value of building his humour on a strong foundation of
Jack Hannah directs a very funny Donald Duck cartoon, in which the comic situation is expertly built up to a crashing finish
As the new neighbor on the block, Donald Duck tries to be courteous to
Pete, the inconsiderate slob living next door. But there's only so much
a guy can take. Pete dumps his garbage in Donald's flower bed, mooches
every scrap of food from his refrigerator, steals all his dishes,
tricks him into tasting his dog's food, borrows all his gardening
tools, leaves the tools out in the rain, and more. Muncey, the dog who
buries his bones in Donald's yard, is a co-conspirator in Pete's game
of making Donald's life hell. Finally, the roiling conflict erupts into
an all-out feud. The television news covers it like a sporting event as
the neighbors gather on the roofs to watch and cheer them on.
Donald has a deserved reputation as a hothead, but no jury would
convict him of being quick tempered in this cartoon, in which he does
his level best to suffer Pete's rudeness, until it all becomes too
much. Jack Hannah directs a very funny film, in which the comic
situation is expertly built up to a crashing finish..