Ugly Duckling (1939)

UGLY DUCKLING (1939)
Article 5359 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-31-2017
Directed by Jack Cutting and Clyde Geronimi
Voice cast unknown
Country: USA
What it is: Fairy tale adaptation

A duck couple is shocked when one of their hatchlings doesn’t look or sound like the others, and soon the little guy is abandoned and left to find his way through the world.

This is Disney plying the whimsy trade here, and though I prefer my cartoons more comical, this has a few moments. My favorites include the reaction of the father and mother ducks to the discovery of the different-looking offspring (let’s just say that domestic bliss is not attained), and the scene where the hatchling thinks he’s found companionship with a decoy duck. There are no talking animals in the usual sense here, which is not to say they don’t communicate; the ducks do have something of a “quack” language that sounds like Donald Duck without recognizable words. That does, however, leave us in a strange position as far as the fantastic content goes; though we can’t quite call them anthropomorphic, the animals are given certain recognizable human emotions, but admittedly, that’s very light as far as fantastic content goes. It’s been a while since I’ve read the original story, but I don’t think this short follows it; the ending is certainly different from how I remember it.

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