The Shadows Move – the 1950s (page 2 of 4)

With the collapse of G.B. Animation, British Animated Productions and Signal Films and the defection of Anson Dyer’s animators, the field was narrowing. It is not surprising therefore, that an American sponsor should turn his attention to the strongest remaining studio. Louis de Rochemont and his associates approached Halas & Batchelor with a somewhat surprising proposition. George Orwell’s book ‘Animal Farm’ had been published in 1945 and they believed it could work in cartoon film form. The project was an immense undertaking for H & B and their partner Allan Crick. In order to honour their other commitments and do justice to the new contract the studio began to expand, and a start was made on the pre-production planning which was to take them 16 weeks.

The Shadows Move – the 1950s (page 4 of 4)

The same meticulous attention was paid to Matyas Seiber’s musical score. Seiber was neither a newcomer nor a slouch when it came to composing music for cartoon films. He had joined the studio during the war, scoring the M.O.I. film DIGGING FOR VICTORY (1942), JUNGLE WARFARE; (1943), the famous ‘Charley’ series, and many others including a daring abstract fantasy titled MAGIC CANVAS (1948).

Metamorphosis with Cut-outs

Someone once said to me during a discussion on the various types of animation, that the cut out type is certainly a cheap way for the would be animator to start with, practice the art and gain experience, but it is very restrictive when it came to more advanced techniques, such as metamorphosis (the change of shape from one object to another).

Metamorphosis with Cut-outs

A hand and face were then inched in and the fish “popped” into the mouth, and when pulled out the fish was but a skeleton as depicted in childrens’ comics with a cat and dustbin.

The fish skeleton, when placed upright looked remarkably like a pine tree, and this in fact was its next shape complete with snow on top by the simple expedient of covering the bones by branches until fully built up.

What’s Up Doc?

CHRIS PEARSON outlines the history of Warner Brothers’ famous carrot-chewing wabbit.

When Buggs Bunny first hit the screen, in 1938, he was, as one might expect, totally different from the Warner Brothers character that we know today. In Porky’s Hare Hunt, the unofficial debut of the first prototype rabbit, Porky Pig goes hunting with his dog and before long they come across the abject of their expedition: rabbits. Unfortunately for Porky, however, the rabbit he and his dog choose as the victim of their sport turns out to be a totally obnoxious and completely insane creature who proceeds to drive the two as batty as he is. with Porky eventually winding up in hospital.

What’s Up Doc?

The farce that follows is typical of the now-familiar latter-day hunting cartoons with Bugs and Daffy, with Bugs continually eluding his pursuer in much the same way as he eluded Porky Pig in his primeval debut. Elmer is just as stupid as we all remember him to be (BUGS: What’s Up Doc?:

The photo’s of Eadweard Muybridge

MORRIS LAKIN LOOKS AT TWO BOOKS: ‘ANIMALS IN MOTION’ AND ‘THE HUMAN FIGURE IN MOTION’

Previously, if you had suggested to me that a nineteenth century photographer could be of help to me in animating I would have been rather dubious about it. But Eadweard Muybridge was more than a photographer, he was an innovator and a student of motion, the first man able to prove that he had made accurate assertions about how animals moved. It may seem incredible to us but a hundred years or so ago people did not know how animals moved for sure, until Muybridge came along and utilised dry plate photographic techniques to study the subject.

The photo’s of Eadweard Muybridge

Of course, you need not only copy life, but in the process of characterization you need a real starting point to work from. Walt Disney made a comment to that effect (but you can read all about that in ‘Disney Animation – the Illusion of Life’- for yourself). From the Muybridge books you are able to appreciate the balance and weight of real creatures in motion.

The photo’s of Eadweard Muybridge

An interesting incident is captured an plate 74. A pigeon has wandered in front of a performing acrobat and has been scared into flight and been captured by the cameras. There are more intentional studies of ‘Animals in Motion‘ in the so titled second book.