The Shoemaker and the Elves (1935)
Article 5990 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Arthur Davis
Voice cast unknown
What it is: Columbia Color Rhapsody
As a reward for taking in a freezing, helpless waif on a winter night, a shoemaker is visited by elves who make shoes for him all through the night while he sleeps.
If I were to count the number of times I’ve reviewed each fairy tale adaptation I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be surprised if the winner was “Cinderella”. And this story is the one I suspect would be in second place, which I do find surprising, as it never struck me as a particularly popular fairy tale. Still, I do prefer the animated versions to some of the live-action ones I’ve seen; the latter tend to be filled with endless scenes of elves building shoes, which gets very old; at least a cartoon keeps the action abbreviated. The most striking thing about this adaptation is the addition of the starving waif, which implies that the cobbler has received the attention of the elves due to his unselfish act of charity for the waif (though the cartoon doesn’t make that explicit). The gags are standard, though we do get a couple of famous star caricatures in the mix, namely, those of Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo. Other than that, this is mostly business as usual.