Sunday, 12 December 2010

Alice in Wonderland Mosaic: Part 12

Here is my new entry for Seq. 009 - "Tulgey Wood" and it's the last sequence to be directed by Clyde Geronimi. Where's the interest on the Mad Tea Party sequence everyone?

Alice has now abandoned the Mad Hatter and March Hare; as they were no use at all; and Alice was now finally had enough of Wonderland, and is no longer interested in the White Rabbit, she's fed up, doesn't care; now she's more interested in going home and trying to find her way home. This time, Alice encounters some very strange-looking creatures that look like some doodles that got into Wonderland; and she tries not to take any notice of them; and has had enough of nonsense; until she encounters some small coloured-mushrooms called "mome raths", and they are a help for Alice; and she's finally happy with joy; as she think she'll be on her way home; until she notices a creature "dust-cleaner dog", and he mops away the path; and Alice is all along and does in a state of depression; until the Cheshire Cat finally gives her final advice to see the Queen of Hearts.

Most of this sequence is based on the famous Lewis Carroll poem in "Through the Looking-Glass", and the famous poen is Jabberwocky; and although the poem was told by the Cheshire Cat earlier on; but she enters through a tulgey wood (like the book); and notices a lot of strange creatures; and originally the Jabberwock was supposed to appear in the original story draft of the film, and I believe that it was storyboarded by Bill Peet; and somehow it never appeared in the final film, I think it would be interesting if the Jabberwock was in the film; because it was a big poem in the text; and interesting that it  never got to the film, even though it was planned, although the Tim Burton version did show the Jabberwock, but they altered the original story a lot, making the Jabberwock a villain and Alice and her army fighting, how disappointing.

Here is how the original poem went:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

See, the Cheshire Cat uses the first and last lines quite a bit; and Tulgey Wood wasn't a Disney creation, because the poem was set in a tulgey wood with strange looking creatures, and the worst of them was a dragon monster, and there was a warrior who wanted to fight it, and "Beware of the Jabberwock, my son-"

When you see these strange looking creatures; you can never tell what they are and what names you would give them; and even the sectrectaries who were writing up the draft for this sequence; probably had to make them up; or got the names from the script. About all the drawings of the Tulgey Wood creatures look a lot like doodles; or someone with a BIG imagination (like Carroll), doodling up with crazy ideas! I imagine that the Character designers (probably the animation supervisors) must have enjoyed doodling up sketches of what they could look like, it's like they are paid for animating doodles.

Animation breakdown: Each Tulgey Wood animator seem to be animated by a different person; Hal King animates the "eye glasses", and the "mirror bird", and also does the "duck-horn" looking creatures; John Lounsbery animates a lot of the creatures like the "shovel-bird", or "chordian owl", and "cage bird", a lot of birds he worked on (Lounsbery also animating the Cheshire Cat); Cliff Nordberg did a lot the "umbrella vultures", and the "mome-raths". Frank Thomas does the "sweep dog", and all the creatures sad and looking at Alice crying. Alice here is animated mainly by Marc Davis and Milt Kahl (they animate Alice a lot more human than the others), it's supported by Ollie Johnston, Les Clark, and a few scenes by Don Lusk and Hal Ambro, and (unexpectedly) an Alice scene shared by Les Clark and Cliff Nordberg.

In scene 43.2 where Alice gasps in amazement "a path", and the scene was shared by Les Clark and Cliff Nordberg, now I never expected Nordberg to show up, and it doesn't make sense to me; but I suspect that the scene was originally part of scene 43; except that it was split in two; because Cliff animated the mome raths here; and the arrow pointing to the path.

Alice seeing the creatures are supervised by Marc Davis and Ollie Johnston; and Ollie this time gives her a better look; although he did long shots of Alice as well. Marc, as always, draws a superb Alice; very appealing and brilliant facial expressions. However, probably the most memorable animation in this sequence is Alice seeing "Very Good Advice", and she's all sad; and has nowhere to go and blames herself for popping off; and not staying where she should by, by listening and reciting her History lesson, read by Alice's older sister. The scenes of Alice sad, was animated by Milt Kahl; and Milt animates the character more realistic than any animator in this sequence; he was a superb draftsman and it was difficult at the time on who could top him; and he bascially helped every animator at the studio back then. Although, in the film; he tends to give Alice's shape of her face differently in the film. Even, as a young lad, sitting on the floor watching the film on the telly and she's crying, I've always found it unpleasant to watch (as Mike Barrier said before), and I agree with him. I don't like seeing it much, and at times I get put off with Kathryn Beaumont's crocodile tears and fake sniffles, if anybody doesn't agree with me; well I won't blame you. But, Milt does handle the character well; but I do think this sequence is rather sad and I feel sorry for Alice of so much already she's been through; and things are getting worse for her; and she's rather worried because she's expecting something bad to happen any minute.

No guess that John Lounsbery worked in this sequence, as Lounsbery was known for his strong use of squash and stretch, and he certainly uses that a lot for the characters he's animating; and especially for the frogs with the drumbeat and cymbols, he uses a lot of speedlines; and squash and stretch; he must have had a lot of fun on those characters. Before, I saw the draft the first time (not when it was first posted), but I thought that Norm Ferguson would be around here somewhere because some of the animation looks like his stuff, and since he hasn't done a lot of work, it could've been possible for him to be in this sequence, and he isn't. I wonder if Fergy had any involvement in the Tulgey Wood creatures.

When I see John Lounsbery handle the Bird Cage; the character reminds me of Woody Woodpecker a lot; the hair the beck and smile just looks a lot like Woody, although the animation is fine and the timing is spontaneous; but looking at it again; always makes me think of Woody Woodpecker (even though the legs don't look like Woody's legs).

Yes, so far we've seen a lot of John Lounsbery in there; and doing the Cheshire Cat again; and to those who think they've seen enough of Lounsbery, well that's him gone in the picture, and we don't see him, or Marc Davis and Les Clark in the film anymore. That's also Clyde Geronimi gone for directing, Ham Luske will come back with one more sequence; and the rest is back with Wilfred Jackson (who's been absent for quite a lot in this film), but we do certainly see more of him.

Frank Thomas (who never seems to be credited for the animation in the film), get's a lot of the acting scenes for the Tulgey Wood creatures, and that's perfect casting for him, because Thomas was more intersted in giving the characters emotions and feelings; and he certainly gives the characters feelings, and I like that. Although, what annoys me is that I find the animation of the creatures in Alice's song similar to the animation of the forest animals in Snow White; like the scenes of the little duck-horn hiding on his own and running off scene; or the creatures approaching Alice; is similar to the animation. In fact, a lot of this is similar to the stuff in Snow White especially the crying scenes animated by Thomas, because the stuff with the pencils and  hammers crying are like the  scenes of the dwarves crying mournfully and that was animated by Thomas, and it touched the audience around the world. I wonder if they put Frank in ther for that reason?

Hal King does some good reaction shots of the earlier scenes of the Tulgey Wood creatures, and I like the fact of how the eyeglasses on Alice's face was achieved, because the scenes must have been done in seperate papers, like Marc Davis animating Alice, and Hal King animating the glasses, and it would've been a difficult scene to achieve, in terms of staging; and I wonder how that was achieved; did both animators animate it in the same paper? Because in the Pinocchio draft; a lot of the scenes with either Pinocchio, Gepetto or Figaro in one scene and shadows was done by four seperate animators: e.g. Kahl animating Pinocchio, Babbitt animating Gepetto, Larson animating Figaro, and Rowley animating shadows or effects.

Interesting that while this sequence was recorded solely by Kathryn Beaumont; except for the last part by Sterling Holloway animating the Cheshire Cat; and I always loves Sterling's voice; it's only so sensitive and special, and it gets the spark for the Disney features; I love his voice for Mr. Stork in Dumbo, his voic eof Winnie the Pooh, and Kaa the Snake in The Jungle Book.

The owl's face in the chordian sort of looks like Archimedes the owl in The Sword in the Stone, and the Owl who was one of the Swamp critters in The Rescuers.

That's all for Friday -- I won't be able to post my next Alice sequence until next Saturday because I want to do a special post for Friday to celebrate an anniversary; and next week I break up for the Christmas holidays, and hopefully I'll be able to finish by Alice mosaics in time for Christmas Day.

Remember, I like comments and I'm glad to recieve them and share your interest, and keep it up ;)


Eric Noble said...

Very interesting breakdown of the scene. Milt Kahl and Marc Davis drew the best Alice scenes in the movie. They were the most superb draftsmen in the studio. As for her crying scene, it is hollow. Child scenes can be very hard to do, as they are not quite old enough to master acting. Not to mention that while Alice is a three-dimensional character (at least more so than other Disney heroines), she wasn't quite set up well enough to make the crying believable. Then again, it is natural for children to cry when they're frustrated and scared. I'm in conflict about this one.

I'm not much impressed with the crying of the animals. It just seems too similar to Snow White that it just seems like cheating.

However, this scene does produce to a dream-like state. Everything disappears as she's crying, this creation of hers is breaking down slightly.

I can't wait to see more of your work. Please update soon.

Steven Hartley said...

More to come on Saturday, promise!

Zartok-35 said...

It's a safe bet Frank Thomas was put on the crying scenes in attempt to touch the audience. Gerry Geronimi did it again on Sleeping Beauty. This, how ever if I can say, falls flat. You can't take it nearly as seriously as Snow White.

The "Les Clark/Nordberg" shared scene is probably only notated the way it is beacuse Nord animates those Momeraths, and she was follwoing them.

Steven Hartley said...

Yeah, it can't be Nordy animating Alice; and I think that's the same with the scene split when I noticed a scene of Alice credited to "Clark/Woolie".

Marvin Tatum said...

Scene 82 is my favorite. I don't know if this is weird to say or not, but I like how Alice does this cute small nose blow (as seen pictured above)