Wednesday, September 3, 2008

From the archives

There are things I mignt blog about later on if I don't get too depressed about it. Right now I'm sticking with a topic that at least involves little wooden people dancing around.

Hungarian émigré George Pal was a gifted filmmaker and a visionary puppeteer--or vice versa--but some of his work may not translate very well across the decades. Or if you're going to enjoy it, you need to take into account the possibility of seeing things that are somewhat offensive. Here's a case in point, perhaps not work safe, but for different reasons than the usual NSFW warning.

Actually the question also occurs to me of just how much would a walking scarecrow and his talking crow friend be freaked by a haunted house. Look at yourselves!

But yeah, the big league eye-rolling and the "Spook" imprint at the end press certain buttons. Which they always did, but more people are bothered by it now.

Look beyond the gratuitous minstrelsy and it's still a beautiful piece of animation. The way things move when you know they shouldn't is miraculous.

Here's a later ('62 as opposed to '42) George Pal work, less obscure. It's a scene from The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.

Okay, so shoemaking elves have kind of an abusive group dynamic. Still, it's funny.

3D animation is quite commonplace now, of course. This is a different animal. On the one hand you see whimsy and playful motion. Yet in the occasional bout of shakiness you can feel the labor that went in. I at least have to hope--and I have no problem with computer animators doing their thing--that handcrafted animation survives.

Maybe not with all the wide-eyed golliwogs, though.


susan said...

It was neat seeing the haunted house one since I'd never seen it previously. Naturally, I especially liked the Crow.

The second I do remember and you're right that Pal and Harryhausen did work that will long be remembered. Maybe it even inspired some modern computer animators.

Ben said...

Have you seen the Harryhausen version of "Little Red Riding Hood"? That's pretty breathtaking too.