Playful Pan (1930)

Article 4288 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 8-15-2013
Director unknown
No voice cast
Country: USA
What it is: A Silly Symphony

A satyr plays his pipes for the benefit of the animals and the plants in the forest. Then a lightning storm sets the forest afire. Can the satyr deal with the crisis?

In structure, this Walt Disney Silly Symphony is standard issue for animated shorts in this period of time; the first half is mostly music, with a crisis only rearing its head at the halfway mark and then being resolved. Still, Disney was in the animation forefront at this time and there’s a real confidence at work here, especially in the ways that the music and the action are juxtaposed. I also like the way the jokes are sometimes handled subtly; it took me a moment or two to realize that in the scene where we see the rabbits running away from the fire, the turtles are also running as well… and faster than the rabbits. It ends with an amusing variation on the “Pied Piper” story, which is a fitting reference to make when your main character is Pan. It’s not one of Disney’s finest moments, but it’s amusing enough.


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