The Clockmaking Monkey (1938)

Here’s a rare treat: El Mono Relojero (The Clockmaking Monkey – Argentina, 1938) is only surviving film by the creator of the first animated feature (El Apostol, 1917), Quirino Cristiani (who also created the world’s first animated sound feature, Peludópolis in 1931). The rest of his films perished in a fire in 1962. Oscar Grillo says the voice is by Pepe Iglesias (aka “El Zorro”), the actor who later dubbed into Spanish the voice of the fox in Disney’s Pinocchio. A few months ago Jorge Finkielman posted a rare cel from this film on the Animation Show forum. For more about Cristiani, read Giannalberto Bendazzi’s 1983 article on AWN.


  • Rod Bennett

    Very interesting. Any evidence that “El Grupo” met with this guy on their 1941 tour of the Argentine?

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein David Gerstein

    Sad and beautiful—this is the last film I’m aware of to present an unadulterated Talkartoon style (along with a touch of Les Elton), in both look and sensibility. Here’s hoping Cristiani’s earlier, more groundbreaking work is recovered in out-of-the-way prints some day.

    Evidently a documentary on Cristiani’s life and works has been produced: http://www.quirinocristianimovie.com/ The website oddly represents two other shorts as Cristiani’s only surviving subjects; I wonder when this monkey cartoon was rediscovered?

  • Saturnome

    I’ve seen it some time ago (in this YouTube world rare shorts have become almost common), I believe this is Cristiani’s only cel movie, am I right? Not only that but it appears to be quite different than his other works, from the very little we know of. It’s not very great, but this is all we got.

  • http://www.okgrillo.blogspot.com Oscar Grillo

    Yes, Rod Bennett. There are several photos of Disney with Cristiani.

  • Uli Meyer

    In Gabrielle Zuchelli’s excellent documentary Cristiani tells us in an interview that Disney offered him a job after learning that he made his feature films entirely on his own. Then Cristiani goes on to say that “Disney couldn’t believe that because when they make a feature they have 50 people working on it.” That made me smile.
    Cristiani turned down the job offer, he preferred to be his own boss.

  • Chuck R.

    Uli, how did you come to see the documentary? Does anyone know if it will be released in arthouse theatres or on DVD?

    BTW, I love the benign little caricature here:
    http://www.quirinocristianimovie.com/contact.html

  • Uli Meyer

    Chuck,
    Gabrielli screened it at Annecy and is currently looking for distribution. I’m sure he’d be happy to keep you informed if you contact him via his website.

  • http://andynortonuk.spaces.live.com/ Andy Norton

    I’m always fascinated by seeing animation rarities like this. The animation certainly had a Fleischer influence about it. I look forward to any other rarities out there soon.

  • http://www.scuzzbopper.blogspot.com Ken Priebe

    WOW! Amazing….this could have been on Cultoons Vol. 3! More demented monkeys!