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With: Various
Written by: Eric Gurney, Milt Schaffer, Harry Reeves, Rex Cox, etc.
Directed by: Charles A. Nichols, etc.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 60
Date: 03/18/2013

Walt Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites Vol. 10: Best Pals - Mickey & Minnie (2006)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Merit of Figaro

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Many people probably remember Disney's little black-and-white cat Figaro from Pinocchio (1940), batting things around in Geppetto's workshop. But what I didn't realize is that, at some point, Disney attempted to make Figaro a regular character with a handful of animated shorts. According to the IMDB, there were at least seven of these. It's too bad there weren't more, because I rather like the little fellow. He has a kind of bracing arrogance, a selfish quest for pure pleasure -- a real cat's personality -- highly unusual for Disney's simple, happy animated shorts. I wouldn't be surprised if some kind of cult sprang up around this little devil.

Happily, four Figaro cartoons appear in Disney's latest budget collection of animated shorts. (Eight cartoons on one disc for $14.99.)

First Aiders (1944) has Pluto and Figaro competing for Minnie's attention while she practices her first aid and bandaging skills. When Minnie leaves Pluto completely splinted (even his tongue), Figaro takes his revenge. In Bath Day (1946), Minnie gives Figaro a bath, complete with red ribbon and perfume. When he ventures outside, a batch of ratty alley cats begin picking on him. In Figaro and Frankie (1947), the little cat tries to dispose of a pet bird that's disturbing his sleep. And in Pluto's Sweater (1949), Figaro takes endless amusement at the horrible, clunky sweater that Minnie has knitted for Pluto.

The disc comes with four other shorts: Pluto and the Gopher (1950) is yet another one of those tired formula cartoons, only this one has an interesting moment in which the gopher winds up indoors, with no idea how to get back outside. Mickey's Rival (1936) has a fickle Minnie temporarily transferring her affections to an obnoxious show-off. Even Mickey's car gets into the act. The Nifty Nineties (1941) and Mickey's Delayed Date (1947) offer the usual homogeneous fare.

One more Figaro cartoon appears on Walt Disney's Classic CartonFavorites - Volume 12, perhaps the best one yet, Cat Nap Pluto (1948).Figaro wakes up in the morning and wants to play with Pluto. He swats atPluto's bed, but finds it empty. Moments later, the haggard-looking pupwanders home from some kind of all-night doggie bender (his tail frayedand his eyes bloodshot). Even weirder are the little "Chinese sandmen"characters that appear, throwing sand in Pluto's face and sending himoff to dreamland. Disney has rarely been so blatantly naughty.

Disney has also released Walt Disney's Classic Carton Favorites -Volume 11, featuring eight unremarkable Donald and Daisy cartoons.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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