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TONIGHT IN NYC: Bill Plympton and Winsor McCay

Winsor McCay

Tonight at 6:30, the Society of Illustrators (128 East 63rd Street, between Park and Lexington Ave.) presents a special screening of Bill Plymptons’s colorized and voice-enhanced version of Winsor McCay’s The Flying House. Bill will be on hand afterward for a cocktail reception, as will the film’s voice actors Matthew Modine and Patricia Clarkson. Tickets are $10 (students), $15 (Society of Illustration members) and $20 (general public). Purchase them at the Society of Illustrators website.

  • Doop

    I’m not sure where the community stands on the colorization of old cartoons (although I’m pretty sure that this one gets a Plympton-pass), but if the comments to this post go anything like the ones to the ‘Tale of Two Titmouses’ post, I think I’ve found you a new highlight-in-red-and-underline-with-dots tag: Brew-ha-ha.

  • Should be an interesting experiment, but I wouldn’t want to see colorization done regularly.

  • Dino

    What’s bugged me most about this project is Plympton’s hubris in suggesting that he’s improving on the original. To quote from his Kickstarter page, Plympton states that the original was “hindered by too many intertitles, word balloons, and the lack of color, music, and sound.” In other words, the fact that it’s a silent film makes it of lesser interest than a colorized production with Hollywood voice actors. This shows a basic lack of respect and understanding for McCay’s artwork as a piece of history.

    Plympton is claiming some kind of nobility for this project, but all I see is grandstanding; a misguided attempt to sandwich himself into the legacy of a genius. The most damning part of this whole affair may be the top line on the Kickstarter poster: “A Winsor McCay – Bill Plympton Film.”

    • He’s also retimed the animation (simplifying it), cut scenes shorter and ignored what McCay was trying to do with his version. It IS a Plympton film pretending to be a reconstructed version of Winsor McCay. Disastrous.

  • The Gee

    Still think it would have been even more interesting if he just completely remade it his way, as a real Plympton film.

    If he adapted it beyond what this sounds like, with VO, color, etc., he could have pepped it up in a way that improved upon it without restoring it or whatever this is being considered.

    I know it is done, it is in the can and for me to second guess what he chose to do is easy. But, in this case, a lot of us, if we chose to, could have made a 21st Century adaptation of the short.

    As a music listener, if someone is covering a song, I’d rather that they make something that makes the song sound like it is theirs rather than to imitate the original, or put slight twists in it. That’s a preference on my part, yes. But, for their efforts, they should try to own it. Any of the Alice stuff that Disney studios did, from the early LiveAction shorts to the feature, owned the original.

  • The Gee

    One other thing, when I wrote that a lot of us could do our own version of that film. I guess I should have included Or Any other of the earliest films and animated films.

    But, also, I should have said that only Plympton would have made a Plympton version. That’s kind of enhancement isn’t something any one else would have mimicked.

  • christy

    is there a trailer for this anywhere online? or more info about it?

  • Wilma

    I saw an unfinished version of Bill’s restoration, but I hated the voice acting in it. Someone know if the voices have been replaced?

    Though I really don’t see the need to update this with voices and colors anyway, but whatever. I find it more offensive that it’s labelled and distributed as “A Bill Plympton film”. That’s kinda silly, but I guess festivals will fly him over and kiss his ass just because he’s Bill Plympton

    By the way, where is Cartoonbrew’s opinion? I’m curious what Jerry and Amid’s stance on this is, seems like the kind of thing they’d normally comment on

  • Jamil

    I watched both versions back to back and the colored one was way better.