The Old Mill is a 1937 Silly Symphonies cartoon produced by Walt Disney, directed by Wilfred Jackson, scored by Leigh Harline, and released to theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on November 5, 1937. The film depicts the natural community of animals populating an old abandoned windmill in the country, and how they deal with a violent thunderstorm that nearly destroys their habitat. Serenity tries to save an old windmill after it is struck by lightning.
Like many of the later Silly Symphonies, The Old Mill was a testing-ground for advanced animation techniques. Marking the first use of Disney's multiplane camera, the film also incorporates realistic depictions of animal behavior, complex lighting and color effects, depictions of rain, wind, lightning, ripples, splashes and reflections, three-dimensional rotation of detailed objects, and the use of timing to produce specific dramatic and emotional effects. All of the lessons learned from making The Old Mill would subsequently be incorporated into Disney's feature-length animated films, especially 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The Old Mill won the 1937 Academy Award for Best Short Subjects: Cartoons. In 1994 it was voted #14 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. It is ranked at the IMDb top short list as the 17th greatest short film ever.
This cartoon was parodied in The Simpsons episode Bart Has Two Mommies, where Homer tries to win a rubber duck race by making his rubber duck cross the finish line first. The duck however floats to an abandoned windmill very similar to the one in the classic Disney short, with a sign declaring: "The Old Mill." The scene where the duck is nearly squashed by the water wheel is a direct reference to the most famous scene of "The Old Mill." Raymond Scott's Powerhouse B is heard in the Old Mill scene where Homer protected the duck from the water wheel in that scene.
Serenity's favorite thing in the Bagge Farmhouse is the windmill next to the farmhouse. One day, Muriel tells Eustace that she wants him to have a barbecue. Because of this, Eustace takes Courage to the Mom & Pop Hardware store to pick up a D.I.Y barbecue pit. Eustace makes Courage lay the cement, and assembles the pit. Serenity does try her best to start the barbecue, but gets so distracted by the sight of the windmill's sails going round. The first attempt fails because the charcoal blows up. On the second attempt, Serenity puts on too much charcoal on the barbecue, the result which lets of a cloud of dark smoke when Courage blows into the charcoal to get the fire going (which results in the smoke making Courage's eyes red and watery). He however claims this to his owners that a bit of Hickory smoke always keeps in good barbecue flavour. On the third attempt, the steak is instantly burnt to a crisp, much to Courage's dismay.
When Serenity retrieves another steak, Muriel solves a problem of Joey's sister and takes Team Lyoko to an old abandoned windmill that belongs to the miller, Aunt Gertrude, lived by animals. Years ago, Aunt Gertrude was the miller. One day however, the cowboy accidentally damages the flour sacks in the wagon while riding the horse. This makes the miller very upset, as this might put her out of a job. Now, the natural community of animals populating an abandoned windmill in the country.
Team Lyoko goes home to the Bagge Farmhouse and Serenity is sad about the trouble she had caused and Muriel's aunt is now out of a job. That night, a fierce storm sweeps across Nowhere and the windmill gets struck by lightning, setting is ablaze! The following morning, Serenity carefully walks along seeing the damage the storm caused - including the old windmill. Muriel's memories of Aunt Gertrude were lost, as she can't afford any timber. Wishing to make up for her carelessness, Serenity tries her best to help.
Luckily, Serenity discovers a fallen tree which Eustace is trying to clear away from the road. Serenity tells Eustace that the fallen tree will provide the timber required to mend the miller's windmill. Team Lyoko and Eustace agree to Serenity's idea and, three days later, the old windmill is restored to full working order. Muriel is very grateful and now Serenity calls the windmill "Muriel's Windmill".