Friday, 19 November 2010

Alice in Wonderland Mosaic: Part 5

Here it is - The Walrus and the Carpenter: directed by Clyde Geronomi, who appears the first time in this film.
This is one of my favourite sequence in the film - although I know the dialogue isn't juicy and the lines don't fit too well - but the animation is brilliant and the music always good fun, and it's memorable and I have a Simpsons Comic from 1999 which is a spoof of the novel's poem Jabberwocky and they mention one of the lines "of cabbages and kings!" or was that in the original Walrus poem.
Ward Kimball does a lot of the animation, and so does Woolie Reitherman, Norm Ferguson and Fred Moore and they are the stars on the sequence; along with action scenes by Cliff Nordberg, Hugh Fraser and Charles Nichols. While, Alice is animated by Marc Davis and Don Lusk.
Marc Davis' animation of Alice is brilliant, and he handles the character brilliantly and he doesn't seem to have any trouble in animating the character - although I guess he doesn't have trouble with it because he's a rather girly animator - not in a way that Marc is a "girl" - but the fact that his assignments are often sticked to girls cast.
Ward Kimball's animation on Tweedledum and Tweedledee the twins is nice, although he does a lot of the acting scenes, and does the introduction scenes and then he steps off stage and Cliff Nordberg comes through and takes over; when Kimball comes back on stage working on the final Dum and Dee scenes. Cliff Nordberg's scenes of Dum and Dee are also great, and full of energy; and Kimball who was long-credited for his work on the characters while Nordberg does a great performance on them, and Nordberg was a very lively person and his assignments were often so lively! Although in the original novel, Dum and Dee originally have a big battle and it was put in a mine like this:

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
Yeah, and the scene of Dum and Dee having a battle lasts for about three seconds, although since the animation is nice - but I have to admit I think it's terrible story pacing, because it feels rushes, and Alice is in a big hurry and Dum and Dee irritate her and they start off by eavesdropping and listening to what she is saying and eventually they say "poor oysters" - which concerns Alice straight away - it just feels rushed and the story pacing isn't that straight; although I do like the Walrus story a lot, and I guess that's why Alice in Wonderland has a lot of story problems because Alice always keeps bumping into new characters and moves on - and the plot doesn't reach it's climax until when she's at Tulgey Wood and wants to go home and she's had all enough of Wonderland.
Now, we get to Dum and Dee telling the Alice of The Walrus and the Carpenter or (an alternate title) The Story of the Curious Oysters - and it's a very entertaining segment and what's interesting is that so many animators work on that sequence and it's really the only they work on. Norm Ferguson, who is famous for animating Pluto; does great acting scenes of the Walrus and Carpenter and I love how he holds the cigar in scene 52 - great handling. The good news is that Fergy does brilliant work and so much he contributed on the characters, although the sad news that we don't see anymore of Fergy after this sequence - this is the only sequence of Alice in Wonderland to have Norm Ferguson animating, and also another animator is Charles Nichols, who animated the Coachman in Pinocchio and he directed Pluto shorts and did some animation in this sequence and the same goes with Fergy, we don't see Nichols anymore as well.
Hugh Fraser does a lot of the action scenes and it's pretty good, and yes; Fraser doesn't to an awful lot of work on the film - but you will see him again but not until much later on...
Fred Moore's animation of the oysters is sweet and appealing and they certainly have a Moore style in his animation and it's a shame for some good scenes he got and it was in fact one of his last assignments until his fatal death a year later. It's a shame that this draft don't name any effects animators on the scenes of the Walrus underwater and none of the bubbles have credits, and the only effects animator credited on this segment is George Rowley - and is only credited for two scenes, one of them is the Mother's oyster's POV and the calendar labels "MARCH", and I remember that scene very well (even when I was very young) and I never, ever understood why the letter "R" was highlighted red and enlarged - I never understood it, was it supposed to mean harvest for the oyster season??
After when Charles Nichols handles the Walrus using his cane as a flute to guide the oysters along to a restaurant that the Carpenter built in like 6 seconds, and then Nichols, Fraser, Moore and Fergy step off stage: Nichols and Fergy have done their jobs and their off the film; while Fraser and Moore don't appear slightly later in the film; and then Woolie and Kimball take over the throne and Kimball does brilliant handling the characters in the segment and it's probably one of my favourite Kimball animation in the film - although he did do some good one-shot Hatter stuff. Woolie Reitherman does the best Carpenter animation by far - he does great acting, the timing is right, and I loved the scene of the Carpenter in the kitchen cooking starters - very fun and nice, and I also love when Woolie put the Carpenter a tantrum and he realized that the Walrus has ate the oysters without the Carpenter's share! Kimball does great acting scenes of the Walrus faking tears and trying to cover the evidence.
As the story ends with a chase, and Dum and Dee ending the story when Dum was a sun and Dee was the moon showing day and light, and ends! They try to distract Alice and use her lot of time by telling the story of "Old Father William", and I bet the story men had storyboarded the "Old Father William" tale (which the poem originally appeared in the books) - and then Alice who couldn't be bothered to listen to the rest of the story, just sneakily walks off and letting them finish the story, completely unaware of Alice walking away!
This is a fun sequence - and stay tuned!


Eric Noble said...

Very nice! It's a shame to see Fred Moore doing bit parts like the Oysters, when just a little more than a decade earlier he was doing meatier characters like the Dwarves or Lampwick. I guess the ensuing time just went too fast for him to catch up to the other artists.

I'm having fun trying to identify artists. The way Marc Davis draws Alice is interesting. He gives her cheek more roundedness and makes it stick out more. I love his animation of her, although it does give her more of an adult female attitude, but I guess that can be construed as part of her character.

I can't wait to see more of this. Please keep them coming. :D

Steven Hartley said...

I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying identifying animators - although this is not my estimate, these mosaics are all based on the studio draft!

But, I'm glad you are enjoying this and I'll certainly keep on posting!!

Zartok-35 said...

Good job, Steve. You might want to spell check some names, though. I'm quite glad to have a mosaic of this sequence. The camera cuts make it much harder than usual to tell what scenes belong to the animators.

Shot 100 is a favorite of mine.

Steven Hartley said...

The Camera cuts are basically just one scene in the draft (but except its split for some reason), and in the Alice draft: you'll notice in the "Action of Description" bar that some scenes say "2 SHOT" or "1 SHOT".

Oops, I've noticed I spelt Fred Moore's name in scene 57.1. - I'll correct it!

Steven Hartley said...

Corrected the problem!

Wonderland Soup said...

Me again :)
Your guess about the R in March is VERY close...It is said that you shoould only eat shellfish during a month with an R in it (ie Sept-April) as there is a chance it might be bad during the warmer, non-R months (ie May-August.) So the calendar is drawing attention to the fact there is an R in the month and the pysters are at risk.

Steven Hartley said...

Thanks - that is very interesting!

John V. said...

I wonder how much control Moore had over character designs now he was only a "character animator"... the oysters have the same "Freddie Moore" look that his characters from the package features have.

This was a favourite sequence of mine as a kid... maybe it was just the morbid humour, but I think the look of the "Walrus and Carpenter" world really appealed to me. It's kind of hard to explai really...

Animator breakdowns:

Following the previous sequence, the Rabbit, in his brief run-through, is animated by Woolie Reitherman.
Alice is supervised by Marc Davis and supported by Don Lusk.
Similarly, the Tweedles are supervised by Ward Kimball and supported by Cliff Nordberg.

The actual "Walrus and Carpenter" section is cast in a similar way to T. Hee's "Honest John and Gideon" sequences in Pinocchio, with a lot of Norm Ferguson, Charles Nichols and Hugh Fraser, cast fairly arbitrarily... at least, until the Carpenter builds the shack, whereupon Ward Kimball animates the Walrus (and, when they share a scene with him, the oysters) and Woolie Reitherman handles the Carpenter.
The oysters are cast with surprising consistency: Fred Moore on close-ups, Judge Whitaker on long shots.

This is Fergy's only animation in the film, and even then, he shares his characters with fellow supervising animators Ward and Woolie. Add that to the fact that no-one really seems to know what Ferguson actually did on Cinderella or Peter Pan, and you wonder why they kept him on features if they weren't going to use him much.

By the way, coming soon on my blog will be a comparison between the original and the film's versions of "The Walrus and the Carpenter" poem, so keep a look out!

Steven Hartley said...

Well, in the book "Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life" Ollie and Frank wrote:

"By 1953, Fergy [Norm Ferguson] had found it extremely difficult to keep up the new refinements in acting and drawings, and he had left Disney's to work in other studios."

That mostly explains your answer.

Anonymous said...

I have read that Ferguson animated the king in Cinderella and Nana in Peter Pan.

Steven Hartley said...

He actually animated the King and Duke as well as the dog Bruno and Lucifer in the sequence of Bruno and Lucifer bickering near the beginning he did the whole sequence.

It's strange how he does so little in Alice in Wonderland and does a chunk in Cinderella.

Torgo25 said...

Marc Davis does a great job with Alice in this scene. Shot 18 in particular catches my attention. I like about it is how she starts off sitting on the ground with her dress all ruffled up and her hair covering her face. She throws her hair back and straightens herself up a bit before standing up. It’s a really nice touch. The way in which she pulls down her arms and flattens her dress after standing up while giving an annoyed face shows that she is a girl who speaks her mind and can be a little stuck up at times.