Silly Symphonies

film 5 of 61

Birds of a Feather

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

A sylvan setting, bird species abounding, numbers of little musical and choreographical bits, with charming tiny jokes attached. Can be viewed either as a pretty primitive sound comedy, or perfect for babies and toddlers.

Birds of a Feather isn’t a fairy tale, nor is it derived from one. It has that dynamic though, including pitched conflict, and a little lesson attached. First they establish how nice this neighbourhood is, and, having done so, they allow a threat to enter in. A little chick is menaced and then snatched away by a hawk. But his little mates gang up, get out there, and save him.

Three Little Pigs has caused us to see the Depression everywhere in 1930s-vintage discourse. And  you could sure see that applying here. That’s either in the omnipresence of the crisis, or the interchangeability of the conflicts in a few too many of these pictures. (More, anon.) Still, let’s pull out a proverb here. There are real dangers, we learn. But through courage and collective action you’ll make it through.

Communism! Or the hawk would actually pretty always win this contest, if it even got that far. Or, quite right, and very nicely done.