A scene from ALICE CANS THE CANNIBALS, directed by Walt Disney for Margaret J. Winkler.

Alice Cans the Cannibals (1925, Walt Disney)

The animation is a strange mix of great and mediocre in Alice Cans the Cannibals. The principals, whether it’s Julius (the titular Alice’s sidekick), the variety of animals they encounter or the cannibals presumably out to eat Alice (though why they’re chasing Julius, a cat, is never explained), all move with grace and attention. They move against a generic, barren backdrop however. Presumably it was difficult to mix Alice–a live action actor (Virginia Davis)–with the cartoon environment.

Cannibals is rather charming, especially since Alice’s friendship with Julius the cat is portrayed so well. Disney really gets a great performance out of Davis, but only when she’s opposite her “co-stars.” In her one close-up, the reality of the medium breaks.

Also of note is the importance of reading. Many gags require the audience can read, making silent cartoons a little headier than their talky descendants.

Alice‘s swell.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Walt Disney; animated by Rollin Hamilton, Thurston Harper and Ub Iwerks; director of photography, Mike Marcus; released by Margaret J. Winkler.

Starring Virginia Davis (Alice).

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