Commando Duck

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Commando Duck
Donald Duck series
Directed by Jack King
Produced by Walt Disney
Voices by Clarence Nash
Music by Oliver Wallace
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) June 2, 1944
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 minutes
Language English
Preceded by Contrary Condor
Followed by The Plastics Inventor

Commando Duck is a Walt Disney cartoon starring Donald Duck. It was released on June 2, 1944 by RKO Radio Pictures.


Donald Duck parachutes into the jungle of a remote Pacific island to wipe out a Japanese airfield undetected.[1] [2] He loses most of his equipment in the process of landing. He uses a rubber raft to travel down the river. He is located by Japanese snipers, including one disguised as a rock and one disguised as a slant-eyed and buck-toothed tree.[1] He initially mistakes their bullets for mosquitoes and presses onwards.[1]

His raft is caught beneath a waterfall and starts inflating. He makes sure the raft hits nothing that would pop it. When he gets to the edge of a cliff, he sees the airfield. The raft has already exploded, causing water to flow. This large amount of water splashes onto the airfield, wiping the whole thing clean, but leaving disfigured airplanes. Upon seeing the ruins of the airfield, a proud Donald declares his mission accomplished ("Contacted enemy, washed out same").[1]


The cartoon expresses blatant anti-Japanese sentiment. However, the focus is mostly on Donald and his efforts and less on the racial aspects of the enemy. This has allowed the short to be broadcast to modern audiences with most of the Japanese references removed.[1]

There are Japanese caricatures and depictions of the Imperial Japanese Army. There is also a reference to Hirohito.[1] The Japanese soldiers speak in stereotypical dialect and advocate firing the first shot at a man's back.[2]

The gag with the enemy soldier disguised as a tree can be traced back to Shoulder Arms (1918). It was also used in A Lecture on Camouflage (1944).[3]

Though earlier war-era shorts (e.g. Donald Gets Drafted, The Vanishing Private, etc.) depict Donald's experiences and training as a regular U.S. Army draftee and infantry private- the commando mission and Pacific Theater of Operations setting in this short are seemingly 6th Ranger Battalion or perhaps even Paramarine-inspired.[4]

This is the only film which depicts a regular Disney character engaging with the enemy at war.[5]



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