The San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the largest silent film festival in the country, will be holding their 16th Annual Festival this July 14-17 at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. This year, the SFSFF in coordination with the Walt Disney Family Museum and Pixar, will be presenting Walt Disney’s Laugh-O-Grams on Saturday, July 16th at 10:00am. Disney historians Leonard Maltin and JB Kaufman will introduce a selection of rare Laugh-O-Gram shorts from 1921—23, which have been recently preserved by The Museum of Modern Art.
Several of these shorts were thought lost for many years, and thanks to animation archaeologists David Gerstein and Cole Johnson, The Museum of Modern Art restored several lost Laugh-O-Grams cartoons (Goldie Locks and The Three Bears, Jack The Giant Killer) they had long held in their archives, previously misidentified under alternate titles. In addition to the two new discoveries, newly preserved and restored prints of Little Red Riding Hood, Puss In Boots and The Four Musicians Of Bremen will be screened. Donald Sosin will provide musical accompaniment.
Angel Vitamina is a personal project of animator Diego De Rose and a small team of independent animators in Argentina. This is the second time I’ve posted about this film’s progress (I posted an shorter teaser trailer here in 2009). De Rose has just debut a second, longer trailer – now five minutes, though the first two minutes is a talky set up – and has expanded his website and production blog. I wish them luck in getting this film finished!
My Animation Tuesday screening this month is the first in a new series of semi-regular face-offs: The Heavyweights of Cartoon Comedy. We will periodically pit two titans of animation anarchy against each other — and this month we’ll be comparing and contrasting the work of Tex Avery and Jay Ward.
Who was funnier: Avery or Ward? Does it matter? Avery was the “King of Cartoons” with his series of MGM theatrical shorts of the ‘40s and ‘50s. His animated masterpieces practically invented the language of cartoons, and are rife with exploding bombs, eye-popping doubletakes and girl-hungry Hollywood wolves. Jay Ward, the prize-winning Bay Area producer, revolutionized TV toons in the ‘60s with witty dialogue, funny artwork and zany characters like Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and Super Chicken. This big-screen contest will screen some of the best of the best (in rare 35mm film prints) – and the audience will be the real winner! The showdown begins at 8pm on Tuesday July 5th at The Cinefamily (aka The Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax) in Hollywood. Advance tickets on sale now!
In 2009, we reported on the Ghibli Museum exhibit devoted to Max Fleischer’s Mr. Bug Goes To Town (1941). I believe this was somewhat tied into Studio Ghibli’s Arrietty (2010). Ghibli and Disney have since teamed to release Mr. Bug (aka Hoppity Goes To Town) on home video in Japan.
Brew reader Rick Nodal sent us this report about the DVD (and supplied the images in this post):
“Hoppity Goes to Town (Mr. Bug Goes to Town) was released on DVD (region 2) in Japan back in 2010 by Studio Ghibli through Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Japan. I just received the copy I purchased online and it’s fantastic. The audio & video quality is excellent, and although the disc defaults to Japanese subtitles when it begins, you can change the setting to “no subtitles.” I’ve attached a few screen shots/grabs including the end title Paramount logo.”
As Mr. Bug is still protected by copyright, does this mean Ghibli, Disney or Pony Canyon (their Japanese video distributor) sub-licensed the film from Paramount Pictures? If so, that’s very interesting! Disney presenting a Fleischer cartoon?!
Click thumbnails below to see larger images of the box (with Disney castle logo clearly visible, lower left on the label) and several frame grabs. According to Rick, this is a transfer of an NTA Technicolor print, with NTA’s reissue opening titles. This is a shame as the UCLA Film Archive recently restored the film from the original Paramount three-strip negatives. Hopefully we will see that version released soon – from Disney or anyone.
In the meantime you can order the Japanese Ghibli/Disney release from CDI Japan for $46.43 (U.S. $).
While we in the U.S. await word of a domestic release of Studio Ghibli’s latest film, an international trailer of an English dub has made its way to the internet. This UK release has Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones, Atonement) in the lead. Disney’s later English dub will feature Carol Burnett, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett and Bridget Mendler (Lemonade Mouth) as Arrietty.
Here’s a great way to begin the holiday weekend (in the States): a pair of newly released animated videos from Weird Al Yankovic. For his new album, Alpocalypse, much like how he did last time on Straight Outta Lynwood, Yankovic has employed several notable animators to create videos.
Here’s the music video for Another Tattoo (Parody of Nothin’ On You by B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars). Animation produced at Augenblick Studios, directed by Chris Burns.
Party In The CIA (Parody of the song Party In The U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus) was animated by Roque Ballesteros and his team at Ghostbot (the studio behind the Erin Esurance commercials).
The rest of Weird Al’s new videos can be seen on Yankovic’s YouTube page.
Check out Loom, an amazing piece from German studio Polynoid:
Directors: Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, Csaba Letay
Technical director: Fabian Pross
Production company: Filmakademie BW
Producer: Regina Welker
Sound: Joel Corelitz / waveplant
Artists:Felix Mertikat, Jin-Ho Jeon, Roman Kälin, Tom Weber, Christian Hertwig, Silke Finger, Jacob Frey, Leszek Plichta, Georg Schneider, Anja Wacker, Andreas ‘Felix’ Gebhardt, Falko Paeper, Sarah Eim
For your listening pleasure today, a classic recording of the Abbott and Costello radio show from November 18th, 1943. This one features guest stars Bugs Bunny (Mel Blanc) and Lucille Ball. In this episode, Lou goes to extremes trying to score a pair of nylon stockings… and if you listen carefully might also hear Elvia Allman, Iris Adrian or maybe Sidney Fields.
Today’s must-read/must-view history lesson: Conelrad (which covers the Atomic Bomb era of the 1950s) has posted a thorough history of A Short Vision, the acclaimed 1954 animated short by artists Peter and Joan Foldes.
The Conelrad post, by Bill Geerhart, essentially recounts the surprising U.S. reaction to this short, which was broadcast twice on the top-rated Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. The fact that a mainstream U.S. variety show ran this art-film-with-a-message in primetime is almost as shocking as the film itself.
Hungarian born Peter Foldes was a painter and experimental animator whose work won prizes at the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals. Foldes went on to create several pioneering computer animated films including NFB’s Hunger (the first CG short nominated for an Academy Award, in 1974). He passed away in 1977.
Watch the film (below), read the post. Still packs a strong punch.
The latest music video for the French pop group, The Betwitched Hands, is a psychedelic a love story; “a metaphor for two people who miss each other”. It’s co-directed by graphic artist Sanghon Kim and Paris studio Machine Molle, in a mix of animation technics including traditional hand drawn and CG animation. And the song is catchy, too:
Buzzing about the internet today was news concerning the Tom and Jerry Golden Collection, Volume 1. Whereas I’m working on this set and had been sworn to secrecy about it, I couldn’t mention it before. Since the box art was leaked and a bunch of mis-information is now being spread, I have no choice but to violate my arrangement with the studio and clear up some facts.
First of all, some basic information about this set: It goes on sale October 25th on both Blu-Ray and standard DVD discs. The DVD will go for $26.99 and will present the cartoons in their original 1.33:1 “full frame” video aspect ratio. The Blu-Ray set will cost $34.99 and will feature the shorts also in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, but with video in 1080p high definition. Both will no doubt sell for less on Amazon.
Each set will contain the first 37 Tom & Jerry shorts, in chronologic release order (from Puss Gets The Boot to Professor Tom, for those keeping score at home). There will be audio commentaries and bonus documentaries – but none of these are finalized yet. These sets will contain new, pristine transfers from CRI negative elements. These are not the Turner TV broadcast prints used on previous releases.
Many are asking about Mouse Cleaning. The original nitrate negative has been found on this rare title and it is being restored at great expense. This film is planned for release on T&J Golden Collection volume 2. Don’t even think of asking me about that set yet.
The information leaked about Vol. 1 today was early data made available to solicit sales from the retail trade. It was not intended to be spread publicly. A formal press release about the Tom & Jerry Golden Collection, with updated information, will be released in a few weeks.
P.S. I will be moderating a Warner Home Video Cartoon panel on Thursday July 21st at 3pm at the San Diego Comic Con – with guest panelists including George Feltenstein – to discuss forthcoming Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes collections on DVD. If you are going to the Comic Con, I advise you (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) to attend this panel for more information.
The brilliant but rarely seen 1962 Academy Award nominated animated short Icarus Montgolfier Wright has finally been posted on You Tube by animator Mike Kazaleh, who had a 16mm print given to him by exec producer Herb Klynn many years ago.
This is another of those films I saw several times back in my elementary school years, in English class, and never forgot the haunting images by Joe Mugnaini — who had done illustrations for many Ray Bradbury books. Icarus is based on a story by Ray Bradbury with a script co-written by Bradbury and George Clayton Johnson. Jules Engel produced it at Format Films and actors James Whitmore and Ross Martin provide the voices.
The film was released in 1962, but takes place in what was then the near future. In this story, it is the night before the first manned flight to the moon: August 22nd 1970. The date turned out to be off only by a year, a month, and two days.
UPA veteran Osmond Evans directed the picture. Evans was a very astute filmmaker, always careful about using shapes and motion from one scene to the next to give his films a flowing but dynamic feel. Although Icarus Montgolfier Wright has very little animation, it moves at a brisk pace because of the creative use of camera moves and editing.
I love Bob Clampett, and I’m happy to announce that BeanyandCecil.com is now online! This is the official family website of Bob Clampett and for his characters Beany & Cecil.
The site is still a work-in-progress, and you’ll note a hard-sell for Beany and Cecil Vols. 1 & 2 DVDs (and everyone reading this blog should own these – two of the best DVD compilations ever, loaded with great cartoons and important historical bonus material). That said, the site has much to offer as is – and I recommend you visit there today.
A couple of tips: When you check it out, hold your curser over the black and white logo in the top left corner…after a second it animates! The video on the TV will be rotated out regularly. The first video is Beany and Cecil taglines.
There are video interview clips under “Our Creator/The Surreal Side of Bob Clampett.” Much more will be added over time including interviews with people who worked with Clampett. I’ve been told there will also be feature pages added like, “The Night Ronald Reagan Opened for Beany and Cecil“.
A newly digitally remastered Bob Clampett’s Beany and Cecil The Special Edition: Volume 1 is in the final stages of authoring. It will have some ADDED elements including new menus and audio commentaries by Bob’s kids: Cheri, Rob and Ruth Clampett. It will have a rare unproduced storyboard, Cecil’s Scrapebook, with Rob’s commentary. This same storyboard will be added to the website in sections. The first section is up now, you can find it under Creator/My Life As a Sea Serpent. Readers will be notified when the DVD available, if they go to the order page.