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The Worm Turns

"The Worm Turns" is a Mickey Mouse cartoon from 1937 that fascinated me for a long time. It's a curious anomaly among Disney shorts, a cartoon that somehow looks and feels unlike any other Disney work from that period. The story of this cartoon is divided into the four distinct episodes, and it's built around the rather offbeat idea: Mickey as the "Mad Scientist" trying to create the courage potion.

"The Worm Turns" is considerably more violent than the average Disney cartoon. Also it's beautifully animated, but in the style that seems quite experimental and unusual for Disney. Many scenes in this cartoon are amazing to watch and study in the slow motion or frame-by-frame, because of the rather extreme distortions, rarely used at that time. This animation style has lot more in common with the early 40s Warner or MGM cartoons than the mid-'30s Disney.

Another very distinctive characteristic of this cartoon is the use of dramatic and advanced cinematic devices: tight and claustrophobic close-ups, simulated camera movement, wide-angle shots, the great use of space and a playful attitude towards proportion and relative size of the characters. These elements were featured in the earliest Frank Tashlin's WB cartoons released in the second half of 1936. However, the possible influence of Tashlin is probably out of question, since the work on "The Worm Turns" started already in June, 1936 or even few months earlier.
Several surviving pages from the original animator draft can be seen HERE . According to these documents, the main animators on this cartoon were: Ham Luske, Chuck Couch, Bernie Wolf, Al Eugster and Woolie Reitherman.

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