Thursday, 2 December 2010

Alice in Wonderland Mosaic: Part 9

Yes, I was supposed to do this tomorrow - but at my boarding school, the snow is so heavy that on Thursday I manage to escape back home while there was still a lot of people at school, and in the meantime I'll post this Alice entry directed by Gerry Geronomi (this time).

A rather small sequence, and I always thought the sequence was rather "rushed", and I wish for this sequence and the animation is certainly not it's finest (my opinion), and I always thought that the pigeon voiced by Queenie Leonard was really annoying, and even more annoying than pigeons in real life! That's just my opinion, yours may be different - it's just that I don't think the sequence needs to be there (even though it was in the books), although Alice did make a mistake with the mushroom eating and is now larger; although what I do like is that it doesn't last long and it would be really annoying for me if the sequence is TOO long, and that's when I think the story loses it!

I think the scenes of the pigeon interfering Alice sort of lost the story; and I don't know why she calls Alice, "Serpent!", and she's not a snake (To those who don't know, "serpent" is another word for snake), and Alice certainly wasn't like a snake (even though she was large), and I always thought that it never made sense; although when Alice witnessed to the bird, "I'm just a little girl", and the bird pardons, "Little, huh Little?!", I thought those scenes were amusing.

It is a very short sequence, and I'm glad that it's short which is good timing!

Now onto the animation:

I have to say, that the animation in the film is certainly not its finest done, although there are some scenes that are fine; the Alice scenes are mainly the ones that puts me off! The character Alice was animated by Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis and Don Lusk.

Ollie Johnston's scenes (again) put me off because of how he treated Alice, while she is completely enlarged, her neck has become a lot taller; and I know that Alice is not large, and they had to make her really large, but I think that Ollie had put too much exaggeration on the neck, and even the head in shot 8 shows Alice looks different and that has certainly put me off!

Don Lusk does a lot of close-up scenes, and a few long-shots as well; and I have to admit; I love the shots he did of Alice in scenes 15 and 19, the way that she was handled, I always thought it was brilliant stuff, and I love seeing Alice's beautiful eyes in shot 19.

I think the timing of the animation of Alice is excellent, and I love how Ollie Johnston handled Alice in shot 5 and Johnston used a lot of speed lines of when Alice is growing, and Johnston was probably in charge of the scenes of Alice large and grown-up, so I guess he was the supervising animator of Alice really large, although you'll find out that Johnston didn't animate Alice large in the Trial sequence.

I guess that one of the main animators in this sequence is Hal King, another underrated animator who has been ignored by animation historians, (I might need to ask Joe Campana soon for info on that animator, and hopefully I'll get around writing an article about him on my blog), and Hal King basically handles all the pigeon scenes, even the long shots, and tiny bird scenes.

King basically took control of all the scenes, and I wonder if there was a Directing Animator who supervised the character, or Hal just picked up the scenes and worked on them! Hal King's pigeon on the tree works well, and he certainly gives her a personality; and the scenes are quite amusing; and despite the voice of the bird being annoying, I thought the animation was the highlight.

Shot 7 when Alice keeps on continuously growing 100 miles per hour, and the shadows on her face is an important part of the animation in the story because it shows how tall she's getting and that she's almost hit her head on the tree, and most likely an effects artist did the reflection on her face, and I wonder why there isn't an effects artist credited on this draft? Even though there is no effects animation credited on this sequence, because an effects animator probably did most of the leaves on the trees in this sequence, and not a character animator, since the leaves are effects like.

I know that this mosaic was a day early, but it was worth a post, because I hate being offline on my blog for too long.


Eric Noble said...

I much prefer Marc Davis' interpretation of Alice. he makes her much more appealing and cute. That damn pigeon was annoying. Please let there be a hunter around.

Did you notice that Alice's face in shot 28.1 looks almost exactly like Tinkerbell's?

Steven Hartley said...

Ah yes, I never realised that Alice looked like Tinker Bell there, no surprised that Marc Davis animated the character and this scene.

Yeah, I hope a hunter would come and shoot that darn pigeon, hehe.

Torgo25 said...

You may already know this by now, but there exists a live-action reference photo of shot 27, in which Alice falls on her back after shrinking.

Steven Hartley said...

There's a photo of it?

Torgo25 said...

You can find the photo in the following link: [url][/url]

The blog above also features live-action reference photos of other scenes from the film.

Steven Hartley said...

Ah yes, I believe that was rotoscoping!

Torgo25 said...

The fact that that shot was rotoscoped makes it all the more impressive seeing as how it starts out with Alice shrinking down to a smaller size before falling on her back.

Wonderland Soup said...

In the book, Alice doesn't *grow* but her neck gets reeeeeeeally long and she can move it around like a snake - that's why the pigeon calls her 'serpent' (and I assume why her neck is long in the animation)

Steven Hartley said...

Ah, in the beginning of the chapter; "The Pool of Tears" where Alice drinks the card with the label "DRINK ME"; and you can see an illustration of her neck really long; but I don't recall remembering Alice's neck being long when the pigeon yelled "SERPENT!", and thinking she's a snake.

Wonderland Soup said...

The long neck/pigeon moment isn't illustrated by Tenniel, but the text makes it clear:

"`Come, my head's free at last!' said Alice in a tone of delight, which changed into alarm in another moment, when she found that her shoulders were nowhere to be found: all she could see, when she looked down, was an immense length of neck, which seemed to rise like a stalk out of a sea of green leaves that lay far below her.

`What CAN all that green stuff be?' said Alice. `And where HAVE my shoulders got to? And oh, my poor hands, how is it I can't see you?' She was moving them about as she spoke, but no result seemed to follow, except a little shaking among the distant green leaves.

As there seemed to be no chance of getting her hands up to her head, she tried to get her head down to them, and was delighted to find that her neck would bend about easily in any direction, like a serpent. She had just succeeded in curving it down into a graceful zigzag, and was going to dive in among the leaves, which she found to be nothing but the tops of the trees under which she had been wandering, when a sharp hiss made her draw back in a hurry: a large pigeon had flown into her face, and was beating her violently with its wings.

`Serpent!' screamed the Pigeon."

And your recollection about the illustration in The Pool of Tears is correct - it is when she 'opens out like a telescope'