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As the title implies it featured a battle between an invading army of cats and an army of mice trying to defend their homes and farms. Pete was depicted as a leading soldier of the former army and Mickey as a conscript of the latter one. Before joining the army, Mickey has to pass a physical examination. This scene depicts Mickey becoming the subject of physical and emotional abuse. After passing the examination, he is given a machine gun and is sent to battle. Mickey's combat efforts are comical in depiction but prove effective enough in forcing the enemy to retreat. Mickey is hailed as a hero by his fellow soldiers and then the short ends.
This short is notable as the first to depict Mickey as a soldier and the first to place him in combat. The physical examination scene has since often been edited out as being somewhat disturbing. However modern viewers have often pointed to this scene as being the most memorable of the short. The short did not clearly identify the war it depicted; but it has been noted that the cats are depicted as wearing military helmets similar to those used by the German Empire during World War I. On the other hand, the mice are marching in battle to the tune of "Dixie's Land", a song written in 1859 by Daniel Decatur Emmett (October 29, 1815 - June 28, 1904). The song is known to have been popular among the forces of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. The victory of the mice is celebrated in the tune of "Battle Cry of Freedom". Both the music and the lyrics to this song were written in 1862 by George Frederick Root (August 30, 1820 - August 6, 1895) and it is known to have been popular among the forces of the United States during the same conflict. In any case both wars were still within living memory of the audiences at the time of release and so it is possible that the details mentioned were intended as recognizable references to both of them.
Home video releases
- Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White, Volume 2
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