TWICE UPON A TIME uses an animation process called ‘LUMGE’ animation. This is a development of cut out animation using backlit coloured tissue paper. It gives the colours a bright, clean look. A special rostrum camera was developed for the film that uses a system of mirrors to combine up to five levels of images from animation tables that are laid out around the camera man! animator. This achieves an effect similar to a multi-plane camera without the need to climb up and down the various levels to change artwork. The film was backed by Lucas-film productions and is said to have cost one-million dollars.
The story of TWICE UPON A TIME concerns a struggle between two groups, one dedicated to giving humans sweet dreams and the other to giving them nightmares. On the few occasions that humans appear in the film they are depicted by live action footage. The villain of the piece removes the main spring from the universal clock which has the effect of bringing the world to a stand still. Ralph and friends then have a number of adventures whilst they set about returning the spring.
The animation is very fluid considering its cut out origins.
There are some nice flying sequences with vulture like birds and the settings are beautifully designed. The battle scenes at the end had the audience hooting with laughter. One person sitting in the same row as me was so carried away by it that he was clapping every time a bomb hit the villains. TWICE UPON A TIME was directed by John Korty and Charles Swenson.
THE KING AND THE MASTER BIRD was directed by Paul Grimault in France in 1980. It is written by Jacques Prevert who loosely adapted it from the story ‘The Little Chimney Sweep’ by Hans Christian Anderson. The film has been described as everything an animation feature should be and is a tribute to the mastery of Paul Grimault.
The King and Mister Bird. France 1980. Directed by Paul Grimault.
Printed in Animator’s newsletter Issue 9 (Summer 1984)