Dr. Toon: The Animation Critic's Art - Part VIII
The cartoon opens with iris in on an animatronic clown hawking a penny arcade. A happy Donald Duck saunters in and enters a room filled with nickelodeons. Donald disdains boring titles such as "Home Life of the Ant" but sees "The Dance of the Seven Veils" (1:08). The scene pans to the right to show the next machine (significantly, it's called "Over the Andes" and features phallic peaks, a well-timed reference to Donald's impending passion). There is a rapid pan back to the "Seven Veils", and we see Donald mount the step in smear animation, Lundy's shorthand for Donald's hurry to see the show.
The Dance of the Seven veils is performed by Daisy Duck. One would have predicted a human female, but it is part of the charm of this cartoon that Donald sees one of his own species. Donald watches the salacious show from 1:15 through 2:03. During this time, Lundy manages to pace Donald watching the slides upside down (they are messed up in the nickelodeon), Donald's shadow sprouting devil horns (1:46: very significant; this not only represents Donald's lust, but also foreshadows the carnage the duck will attempt to wreak on the arcade), a second glitch that results in the machine being pummeled, and Donald tripping over the step and recovering just in time to miss the penultimate veil (2:04)."I've been robbed!" yells the angry duck, leading to a left-right wipe at 2:11)
It takes a fine sense of timing to pull all this off : In less than one minute we see Donald's lust, temper, and a foreshadowing of Donald's future experiences in the arcade and reactions for the rest of the short. So, Lundy has nailed down setting, character, pacing, conflict, and gags early in the cartoon.
An attempt to snag a camera in the iron claw machine (2:21 – 2:44) leaves Donald pelted with gumballs. He curses the machine as a "mechanical horse thief", tries again, and is splattered by an ink bottle (3:08). Donald swears revenge and this time pummels the machine into relinquishing every prize. (3:28 – 3: 59)
An interesting note: at 3:48 Donald appears to be violently humping the machine, possibly a tie in to the duck's frustrated sexuality from the previous scene. If so, this is an example of directing at its finest!)
The last prize in the machine is a perfume atomizer, which the claw discharges up Donald's nose. His mighty sneeze blows every prize back into the machine (4:18). By now we can sense that the machines themselves have taken up the fight against the duck. By setting this possibility up, Lundy adds to the power of the next scene, in which we find this to be true. The scene ends with an arch wipe at 4:23, making a point about pacing: Scenes one and two were exactly equal in length. Not only is Lundy's pacing spot on, but enough time is left to set up the third and penultimate scene, Donald's utter defeat.