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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Various
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
Some of the most beloved stories of all time have been collected for the whole family to enjoy in Timeless Tales Volume Three. Visit the famed baseball diamond of Mudville for a retelling of the classic "Casey At The Bat," and meet the mouse behind legendary Founding Father Ben Franklin in the Academy Award-nominated short "Ben And Me" (1953, Best Short Subject, Two Reel). With unforgettable music and classic Disney animation, these stories entertain while reinforcing time-honored themes of responsibility, respect, and being happy with who you are. It's a treasure trove of classics for every family. Also includes a collectible storybook of "Casey At The Bat."

MPAA:
Rated G

DVD DETAILS

Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 65 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 1/3/2006

Bonus:
• Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Walt Disney's Timeless Tales: Volume III (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 13, 2007)

Disney aims their “Treasures” collections at the serious fans and shoots for more casual admirers with shorter, cheaper compilation packages like this one: Timeless Tales, Volume Three. This one follows a “family favorites” theme with it components.

All of these shorts have already appeared elsewhere on DVD. “Casey at the Bat” comes from Make Mine Music, while “Morris the Midget Moose” and “Ben and Me” both appeared on Disney Rarities. “Little Hiawatha” showed up on Pocahontas II as well as More Silly Symphonies, and we found both “The Golden Touch” and “The Wise Little Hen” on Silly Symphonies. (“The Wise Little Hen” also appeared on The Chronological Donald, Volume 1.)

For each short, I’ll offer the year in which it was produced. I’ll also provide a quick synopsis of the cartoon plus my number grade for each one done on a scale of 1 to 10.

Casey at the Bat (1946, Jack Kinney): Superstar Casey comes to bat with the game on the line – and chokes. Nothing about “Casey” stands out as exceptional, but the short manages to wring a fair amount of tension out of the story despite our foreknowledge of the ending. 6/10.

Little Hiawatha (1937, David Hand): I found it to be mildly charming and entertaining but not anything more. However, one scene provides the most adorable bunny ever recorded on film; Hiawatha attempts to play the hunter and shoot this rabbit with his arrow, but there' s no way he can do so in the face of its quivering cuteness. 6/10.

The Wise Little Hen (1934, Wilfred Jackson): A mother hen needs someone to help her plant her corn. Both Peter Pig and Donald Duck decline her for their selfish reasons, a decision they later regret. Donald’s stuck in a pretty small supporting role for his first-ever screen appearance, but he and his bellyache make the most of it. Whereas Mickey Mouse’s personality changed radically after his 1928 debut in “Steamboat Willie”, the Duck basically emerged fully formed. Actually, his irascible temperament wasn’t on display, but he still came across as typically selfish. It’s great to see him in this early stage, and the cartoon is very entertaining. 7/10.

The Golden Touch (1935, Walt Disney): Greedy King Midas gets the ability to turn everything he touches to gold – and quickly regrets it. We know how the story will go, but “Touch” has fun with it anyway. Some weak logic occurs – food he doesn’t actually touch turns gold – but it’s an entertaining short anyway. 6/10.

Morris the Midget Moose (1950, Charles A. Nichols): The normal-sized moose think shrimpy Morris isn’t good for much, but he eventually proves them wrong. To call this a worn-out plot would not be an exaggeration, bit “Morris” offers an entertaining take. 6/10.

Ben and Me (1953, Hamilton Luske): We see the accomplishments of Ben Franklin from the point of view of his mouse pal Amos – who takes credit for all of them. This becomes a clever way to offer an educational piece. 8/10.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

Walt Disney’s Timeless Tales – Volume Three appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Despite some ups and downs, the visuals usually seemed positive.

Sharpness generally appeared quite good. At times, some softness interfered with the presentation; periodically, sequences looked a bit blurry or out of focus. That was the case especially with “Ben and Me”, the blurriest of the bunch. Otherwise, the cartoons largely were reasonably crisp and clear. Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, but some light edge enhancement did seem visible on occasion.

Print flaws varied but generally stayed minor for material of this vintage. Overall, the most significant issues related to light dust and/or grain along with some occasional marks, speckles, grit and blotches. Some of the shorts did look moderately rough at times; print issues never became excessive, especially when we consider the age of the films.

Colors usually looked reasonably good, but they also seemed somewhat erratic. Much of the time the tones appeared nicely bright and vivid. They stuck mainly with primary colors, though some of the shorts provided more varied and rich tones, and they normally appeared fairly lush and distinct. However, the hues could look somewhat drab and flat at times. They were never bad, but they occasionally lacked much depth and vibrancy. “Ben and Me” was the primary offender in that regard, as it showed ordinary tones.

Black levels also appeared nicely rich for the most part, while shadow detail was clear and accurate throughout most of the shorts. “Morris” was the weakest link, as it showed awfully dense tones. As a whole, I was pleased with the quality of the Timeless Tales cartoons.

The monaural audio of Timeless Tales was perfectly adequate given the age of the shorts. Dialogue sounded a little edgy at times, but for the most part, the lines were acceptably clear and accurate. Effects showed a bit of distortion and harshness, but they stayed fairly clean and distinct through the shorts. Music also demonstrated variable levels of shrill and rough tones, but this wasn’t unexpected, and the score seemed reasonably solid. Decent depth accompanied some effects, such as stomping of large characters, but the track was pretty thin and tinny as a whole. The audio never excelled, but it was fine for its vintage.

When we look at supplements, we get virtually nothing. A mix of ads appear under the Sneak Peeks banner. This area includes trailers for Lady and the Tramp, Bambi II, The Wild, The Shaggy Dog (2006), Pooh’s Grand Adventure, Leroy & Stitch, Chicken Little and The Little Mermaid.

Most of the shorts in Timeless Tales Volume 3 seemed pretty good. Only “Ben and Me” was particularly strong, but none of the others flopped. They were consistently entertaining, if unexceptional. Visuals and audio were reasonably solid, but the set included no real extras. Die-hard Disney buffs will want to skip this one, as they’ll likely already own all the shorts. Casual collectors may want to give it a look, though.

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