Thursday, 14 April 2016

Mickey Mouse Helps the South Win

Mickey Mouse as a rebel? It’s not exactly the way you think of him, is it?

Ah, how things were different in the early days. Mickey joins the Confederate Army in The Barnyard Battle (1929) and leads the South to victory over some metal-helmeted cats who would look more at home in World War One.

There are some neat sight-gags as well as a scene with an expanded head take. Here are some poses when Mickey fires his rifle at a cat but discovers it’s a pop gun.

And, being a Disney cartoon, there are two butt-violation gags.

Carl Stalling’s score gives the cartoon most of its Southern flavour. “Dixie” and “The Battle Cry of Freedom” have places on the soundtrack, with “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” under the opening title.


  1. On the other hand, you clearly hear the Unionist song "Battle Cry of Freedom" twice during the cartoon, including when the band is playing after Mickey subdues the cat. I think you can also hear "Yankee Doodle" during the medical exam.

    The helmets the cats are wearing are clearly modeled on the German World War I Stahlhelms, especially those in use in 1917-1918.

    There would have been hundreds of thousands of ex-soldiers in the audience who would have recognized the German helmets, and even at that comparatively late date (1929), there were still a fair number of Civil War soldiers, North and South, who were still living. (An 18 year old at Gettysburg would have been in his mid-80s in 1929.) Since both sides wore kepis, and you hear tunes from both sides, while it's clear the Civil War is being referred to, it's not clear which side.

  2. You'd get a bit of the same thing 32 years later, with Warners' "Rebel Without Claws", when as writer-director, Friz made Tweety a message carrier for the Confederates, and Sylvester the Union army cat assigned to catch him.