Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feature Film: Gullivers Travels (Part 1)

(Note that my primary posts on Gulliver's Travels are spread out over four entries; this is an artifical division, and once they have all been posted, it will make more sense to read them together as a single unit.)

Title: Gulliver's Travels
Studio: Fleischer
Date: 12/22/39
Credits: (extensive):
Paramount Presents
Gulliver's Travels
In Technicolor
Based on Jonathan Swift's immortal Tale (immortal is not capitalized)
Produced by Max Fleischer
Story Adaptation
Edmond Seward
Screen Play
Dan Gordon
Cal Howard
Ted Pierce
I. Sparber
Edmond Seward
Music and Lyrics
Ralph Rainer
Leo Robin
atmospheric music
Created and Conducted
Victor Young
Singing Voice of Princess Glory
Jessica Dragonette
Singing Voice of Prince David
Lanny Ross
Erich Schenk
Robert Little
Louis Jambor
Shane Miller
Charles Schettler
Technical Advisor
Johnny Burks
Directors of Animation
Seymour Kneitel
Willard Bowsky
Tom Palmer
Grim Natwick
William Henning
Roland Crandall
Tom Johnson
Robert Leffingwell
Frank Kelling
Winfield Hoskins
Orestes Calpini
Graham Place
Arnold Gillespie
Nicholas Tafuri
Alfred Eugster
James Culhane
David Tendlar
George Germanetti
Joseph Digalo
Nelson Demorest
Reuben Grossman
Abner Kneitel
Frank Endres
Otto Feuer
Joseph Oriolo
Harold Walker
Lod Rossner
Joe Miller
Frank Smith
Edwin Rehberg
Ben Clopton
James Davis
Stephen Muffatti
Irving Spector
Sam Stimson
George Moreno
Ted Dubois
William Sturm
Lou Zukor
Bill Nolan
Stan Quakenbush
Robert Bentley
Edward Smith
Thurston Harper
Tony Pabian
"It's A Hap Hap Happy Day"
Sammy Timberg
Al Neiburg
Winston Sharples
Dave Fleischer
Series: -
Running time (of viewed version): 1:16:33

Synopsis: Big dumb man lays around, then numbly stumbles through petty land of tiny people.

Comments: I'm approaching this outside of the normal short numbering because it's a feature. The Fleischer's of course claimed the Popeye two reelers were features as well, but I counted those as shorts. This comes down to a subjective decision, ultimately, tho this particular subjective decision is generally followed by people who classify shorts versus features (except the Fleischers themselves, of course). The run time has an extra field in it compared to every other cartoon in the year, as it runs more than one hour; 7-10 normal cartoons. The opening has a 3D ship moving through clouds (and without water); I think it's live action tho, not (stop motion) animated. It's odd, there is a montage of images during the credits, with the one shot moving significantly. I think my hand is going to fall off transcribing the names.

Open on text (with flickering candle light illumination and lightning). Cut to white capped seas with a dark craft on it, made even darker by the dollar store DVD's print. The white caps look a bit Japanese, but they're not actually done particularly effectively. Muddy Gulliver on the shore, and cut to the high pitched and cartoony Gabby. They show his shadow, in traditional '39 style. And he sings a crappy little song, in animated feature style. Even Gabby hates it, in his minute and a half long walking sequence where nothing funny happens; nothing interesting happens until he comes upon a giant realistic hand (unless you want to count a low angle bridge shot which looks good). Gabby and Gulliver have five fingered hands. Gabby spends a long 30 second shot standing on that hand. A few funnyish things happen as Gabby races to the castle, things sucked into his travel vacuum and such. Such long unfunny sections. Of course, perhaps it's not trying to be funny. Like a Disney film. The he/she on the wedding cake is pretty awesome. Prince and Princess in silhouette; I want to say the Fleischer's chose to do it because it is the zeitgeist for the year, but I think it's because they're less creepy that way (and you don't have to lip sync). Bombo is animated with more face lines than would be common for a cartoon of the time (at least in his memories scene).


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