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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Old Mill
Poster for The Old Mill
Poster for The Old Mill
Directed byWilfred Jackson
Produced byWalt Disney
Music byLeigh Harline
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • November 5, 1937 (1937-11-05)
Running time
9 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Old Mill is a 1937 Silly Symphonies cartoon produced by Walt Disney Productions, directed by Wilfred Jackson, scored by Leigh Harline, and released theatrically to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on November 5, 1937.[1] The film depicts the natural community of animals populating an old abandoned windmill in the country, and how they deal with a severe summer thunderstorm that nearly destroys their habitat. It incorporates the song "One Day When We Were Young" from Johann Strauss II's operetta The Gypsy Baron.

The Old Mill was the first Silly Symphony cartoon to be released by RKO and was added a new Silly Symphony logo, some new titles, and a burlap background which was used for several other Disney theatrical cartoon series like Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, and Pluto the Pup.

This Silly Symphonies cartoon was re-issued to theatres by Buena Vista Distribution.

Like many of the later Silly Symphony shorts, The Old Mill was a testing ground for advanced animation techniques. Marking the first use of Disney's multiplane camera, the film also incorporates realistic depictions of animal behavior, complex lighting and color effects, depictions of wind, rain, lightning, ripples, splashes and reflections, three-dimensional rotation of detailed objects, and the use of timing to produce specific dramatic and emotional effects. All of the lessons learned from making The Old Mill would subsequently be incorporated into Disney's feature-length animated films, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), which was released a month later, as well as Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940) and Bambi (1942).[2]

In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[3]

Awards and accolades

The Old Mill won the 1937 Academy Award for Best Short Subjects: Cartoons.[4] It was included as #14 in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals.[5]


Disney California Adventure

The Old Mill is featured in the World of Color show at Disney California Adventure.[citation needed]


The three mills from the short were seen in miniature on the Storybook Land Canal Boats ride at Disneyland. Beginning December 20, 2014, they were replaced by landmarks from Disney's 2013 3D computer-animated musical film Frozen. The miniature windmills were put into storage by Walt Disney Imagineering.[6]

Disneyland Paris

The Old Mill is represented at Fantasyland at Disneyland Paris by a building resembling a Dutch windmill, which serves drinks and snacks.[7][8]

Magic Kingdom

A homage to The Old Mill is included on Tom Sawyer Island at the Magic Kingdom. Inside Harper's Mill, there is an owl and a bluebird's nest inside a broken cog in the mill's gears.

The Simpsons

The Old Mill was parodied in The Simpsons episode "Bart Has Two Mommies", where Homer tries to win a rubber duck race by making his rubber duck cross the finish line first. The duck however floats to an abandoned windmill very similar to the one in the Disney short, with a sign declaring: "The Old Mill." The scene where the duck is nearly squashed by the water wheel is a direct reference to the most famous scene of The Old Mill. Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse B" is heard in the scene where Homer protected the duck from the water wheel.[citation needed]

Voice cast

Home media

The Old Mill was released on Laserdisc as part of Academy Award Review of Walt Disney Cartoons in 1985.

It was released on December 4, 2001 on the Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies DVD set[1][9] and on March 1, 2005 on the Bambi Platinum Edition DVD as a special feature.[10] The short was released for the first time on Blu-ray on October 6, 2009, on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition and would subsequently be re-released with Bambi as part of its Diamond Edition and Signature Collection releases on Blu-ray.[11][12][13]


Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki has called The Old Mill his favorite Disney film.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Merritt, Russell; Kaufman, J. B. (2016). Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series (2nd ed.). Glendale, CA: Disney Editions. pp. 192–195. ISBN 978-1-4847-5132-9.
  2. ^ Thomas, Bob. Walt Disney: An American Original. Simon & Schuster, 1976, p. 134.
  3. ^ Mike Barnes (December 16, 2015). "'Ghostbusters,' 'Top Gun,' 'Shawshank' Enter National Film Registry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  4. ^ The Old Mill at IMDb
  5. ^ Beck, Jerry (1994). The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals. Turner Publishing. ISBN 978-1878685490.
  6. ^ Slater, Shawn (December 5, 2014). "New 'Frozen Fun' Opens at Disneyland Resort January 7". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  7. ^ "Disneyland Paris - The Old Mill". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  8. ^ - Snacks
  9. ^ "Silly Symphonies: The Historic Musical Animated Classics DVD Review". DVD Dizzy. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Bambi: Platinum Edition DVD Review". DVD Dizzy. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition Blu-ray & DVD Review". DVD Dizzy. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  12. ^ Calonge, Juan (December 10, 2010). "Bambi Diamond Edition Blu-ray Detailed". Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  13. ^ Reif, Alex (2 June 2017). "Blu-Ray Review: Bambi – Walt Disney Signature Collection". Laughing Place. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  14. ^ Collin, Robbie (2 August 2013). "Studio Ghibli: Japan's dream factory". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 22 November 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 October 2021, at 11:52
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