Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XXIII)

Here I'm going to post another sequence - but it's a rather short one and I may not go into lengthy details that I usually do.

This is the afternoon sequence of the Dance of the Hours segment in Fantasia. To tell you, this is a sequence that I least look at in the segment because I prefer the other ones. There doesn't seem to be much gags as there are in the other sequences, but the footage is very long. You can say that the main guy on this sequence is Preston Blair and he does a good chunk of work - while he previously worked on The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

The ostriches are still fighting over the piece of grapes and they all equally lost when the grapes fall down to the pool where the hippo is sleeping and all the ostriches panic since there are bubbles snorkling out and they flee away. Until the hippo eats the grapes, puts on make-up, dances and then takes an afternoon nap when it reaches evening.

There seems to be two camera cuts in this sequence - and I don't recall camera cuts in the Fantasia draft so far. I'll need to wait and see if there will be anymore. Interesting how Norm Ferguson actually animates two scenes here of the Hippo putting make-up on her face and putting away the make up. Fergy is not credited for any of the directing and only T. Hee is. This is similar in Pinocchio when T. Hee was directing the sequences and Fergy was animating a few scenes. I assume that Fergy was just supervising the animators while T. Hee was in charge of the production. Maybe, Fergy was just animating scenes what he found in the lot. In total, Fergy animates roughly only 10 feet of the segment with the hippo putting away the make-up and that's about it.

It's interesting to find Van Kaufman (an uncredited artist) animating two shots of the hippos with the make up and placing the tutu around the hippo's body. Kaufman was another unknown animator who we have seen before handle some good animation. I believe he served in the military after departing the Disney Studios in 1941. He handles the hippos here pretty well even though he was a lesser-known animator that we hardly know about.

The star of the sequence is obviously Preston Blair and he mainly handles the dance scenes. Notice how the scenes he animates - the shots are few - but the footage is very long. He averages about 30 feet of animation in each scene. Van Kaufman handles the hippo holding the makeup and giving it to the main hipo. Fergy handles the ballerina with the make-up on and putting away the make-up. Then, Preston Blair handles the dancing movements.

I have to say, that some of the hippos dancing is pretty amusing - it's not what the audience would expect in Fantasia - that's why there are funny animators and guys working on the segment because they know what to do. I particularly like shot 23 a lot with the hippo's weight spins upwards and then spins back down to it's normal weight. That is wonderfully timed although I'm afraid that I didn't get time to do breakdowns on that scene - but if you do watch the sequence and take a look at the scene you can study the movements of what Preston Blair animates. He does some very excellent timing on the gag here. I like it very much. That is probably the best part of the sequence.

Preston Blair later did some work on Bambi and then leaving Disney in 1941 to work on some MGM cartoons. I hear about that Preston Blair which helps you how to animate and the movements, which is strongly suggested by one of my commenters, Eric Noble. I will try and take a look out for the book and see the pages on the ASIFA Hollywood Archive blog. The book does seem a help, and hopefully it will improve on my drawing and analyzing skills ;-).

I must admit that I'm not a fan of the close-up zooming in on the hippos' tonsils showing when she is yawning. The close-up just doesn't feel right, and do we need to see her tonsils showing? Although, it is also exaggerated, but if you want to see an exaggerated yawn - look at the next sequence when she yawns so big that bubbles enter the hippo's body. That was a Hicks Lokey scene.

That is really my commentary on the mosaics done and if you have something to say and please tell me because I'd be happy to hear.

[[I've reached more than the 50'000 web hit mark - let's see if we can get to 100'000 anytime soon?]]

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