Saturday, April 05, 2008

Gullivers Travels Pt. 3

This is a segment from the Fleischer Brothers Animated film, Gullivers Travels from 1939. The visual look of the film and the plotting is really brilliant! I have the video and it is one of those pieces I can watch over and over again. The Fleischer Brothers, Max and Dave, were pioneers of animation. They were responsible for Betty Boop and Koko the Klown and Tales from the Inkwell. They occupied a studio over looking Time Square in Manhattan. I recorded with the Rock Band, Belle Starr there, many years later when it was Angel Sound.
This film was very innovative in its use of the Technique of Rotoscoping. If you look at the figure of Gulliver, you are immediately struck by the natural feel and flow of his movement. This was achieved by the painstaking process of filming a live actor performing the movements, then the artists would painstakingly trace the frame by frame course of the actions into the animated segments. It was quite startling at the time, a technique that was rarely used. Warner Brothers used it for some of its propaganda cartoons from WW2, notably Gremlins from the Kremlin where they rotoscoped an animated Adolph Hitler to quite humorous ends.
The technique was rarely used until the 70's, when Ralph Bakshi used it for his version of The Lord Of The Rings. I am in complete admiration of the skill and the labor involved in this technique. I think that it still is able to convey a sense of naturalism in the motion that computer techniques still haven't quite achieved.
The entire film is available in segmants from YouTube, but if youu are interested, seek out a video version to appreciate the real effect of this animation technique.

1 comment:

mud_rake said...

It's hard to believe that was 68 years ago. Great find!