Disney takes on one of the most popular bulls in literary history in the 1938 short, “Ferdinand the Bull.” In the story, Ferdinand is a gentle bull who just likes to smell the flowers. But, when a group of matadors are looking for a fierce bull, Ferdinand sits on a bee. The bee stings Ferdinand causing the bull to gore his way through a wall which makes the matadors think he’s fierce instead of gentle. Once in the bullfighting ring, Ferdinand is scared of the matador until a bouquet of flowers is introduced. Then, Ferdinand just wants to smell them, embarrassing the matador. Eventually, Ferdinand returns home and can smell the flowers all day.
The animation in this short holds up reasonably well despite being more than 80 years old. I’ve said before I love to see these early shorts from the Walt Disney Animation Studios to see how the company has grown, and this is a great one to watch to enjoy the early days of animation and still appreciate all of the technological advancements we’ve made. On top of the animation, the plot of this short is easy to follow and tells a good story. That wasn’t always a hallmark of early Disney shorts, so it’s nice to see them when Disney made them.
Early Disney works have some elements that have become less acceptable over the years as we’ve become more culturally sensitive. Fortunately for this short, there aren’t very many of those in “Ferdinand the Bull.” This is one of the best early works from Disney in that sense. I don’t think anything really needs a disclaimer. I can’t remember if there was one there at the time, but I don’t think it’s necessary for “Ferdinand the Bull.”
I really liked this short. It’s one of my favorites from the early days of Disney that doesn’t feature Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy or Pluto. If you’re looking for an older Disney work to sit back and enjoy for less than 10 minutes, give this one a shot.
Ranking: 3.5 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Ferdinand the Bull?”