A Year in Shorts Day 58: "No Hunting"
Like all reasonable people, we here at The Great Oscar Baiter are great fans of Donald Duck. Across his proud and storied career, everyone’s second favorite irritable waterfowl managed to rack up a respectable nine Oscar nominations for Best Animated Short. And his final film to receive such an honor may very well be one of his finest, with 1955’s No Hunting.
No Hunting is a fairly straightforward short, presenting a satirical look at sports hunting, inspired by director Jack Hannah's own childhood experiences. But despite its simple premise and fairly short run time, the film is packed to the brim with a wonderful anarchic spirit, providing the viewer with more great gags in six minutes than some filmmakers can manage in ninety.
A great deal of the credit for this lies at the feet of the animators, who managed to fill the short with frantic slapstick and absurd sight gags while also producing a short that's still beautiful to look at. This might be a controversial opinion, but I think Disney's output in the 1950s might be their best-looking work. Think about it- you got Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty, along with a bevy of classic shorts. Regardless of what you think of those films, you have to admit they are gorgeous.
But we can't ignore the writing on this short, which is frequently sharp and clever. And the voice acting is great across the board. Robert C. Bruce's sardonic narration consistently helps sell the jokes by underplaying everything just enough, while Disney mainstay Bill Thompson gets to ham it up in multiple roles, most notably the ghost of Donald's ancestor.
(via Internet Animation Database)
Although No Hunting is not your typical Donald short (it has more in common with the Goofy shorts of the 40s than anything), when a film is this entertaining it's hard to complain. Sadly, No Hunting didn't win the Oscar that year, losing instead to Speedy Gonzales. That's a perfectly fine short, but it's nowhere near as funny as No Hunting. If you're in the need of a laugh, it's definitely worth six minutes of your time.
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