Monday, 2 May 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XXVI)

Here is Deems Taylor's introduction to the last segment of this Fantasia production. Night on Bald Mountain composed by Modest Mussorgsky. It's also combined with another brilliant piece by Franz Schubert's famous Ave Maria, which is a popular song at weddings. It's based on Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus.

Here is a very exciting but rather scary sequence directed by the definative Wilfred Jackson. Of course, the star of the sequence is Bill Tytla, who is probably best remembered for his animation on the devil, Chernabog who is a very powerful demon on the tip of the mountain.

This part of Fantasia always used to scare me when I was very young, the way the devil looked was very frightening and even the music was pretty edgy. It all went together perfectly and there is so many effects animation in this sequence. To me, the effects animation on this sequence has some of the most unique, distinctive and realistic effects throughout the entire film. Of course, there were great effects on the Sam Armstrong sequences, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice - but I like the effects here much better. It fits with the style to this sequence, and the layout styling by Terrell Stapp and Thor Putman.

A lot of these animators working on this sequence is cast well and Wilfred Jackson has obviously cast his crew from Pinocchio like Stapp, Putman, Jacques, Tytla, Carlson, etc. to work on this sequence along with the other animators. Although, I must say - that Jaxon is one of the best directors to work at the Disney Studio. The animators are casted differently. Although, most of the character animators are mainly animating the goon creatures in the mountain tip stuff. Bill Shull animates most of the ghosts arriving to the mountain. Some very rough animation by Shull, and marvellous stuff. Shot 38 is a favourite Bill Shull shot of mine.

Bob Carlson animates most of the goon stuff but really with with the ghosts, skulls, harpies, and spirits coming right at the screen. That's all by Bob Carlson, and he did a terrific job there. I always thought that Don Patterson worked on the spirits coming up at the screen - but I was glad to see that Bob Carlson doing it. I thought it was unusual for Carlson working on there - because he was a regular Donald Duck animator.

Funny how the sectretary has mistakes in typing the draft here. Shot 20 is completely unattributed to an artist because the typer for the draft, Elsie Jane has somehow made a mistake by typing the footage result on that scene which was "18-06". There's another error on one of the Bill Shull scenes which was spelt as "Skull" and I thought that was pretty coincidentally funny since you see skulls and skeletons in this sequence. Although, I still assume it was an accident in typing. Even the scene of the Devil with the flames coming up has no credit. Although, it's safe to say that Bill Tytla did that.

One of the most scariest Disney characters of all time is in fact Chernabog, who is the Satan of this sequence. Deems mentions that the Satan comes up every year on Walpurgisnacht and he seems ghosts from the grave and other goon creatures to rise up to the crater and celebrate the party. The devil could control them into doing dances and showing that the Devil is their master and they worship him. He is pure evil, he brings dead creautres back from the dead and to dance for the while and kills them again by throwing them into the fire.

However, it seems that Chernabog was about to do something until the sounds of church bells spoiled the fun for him. His weaknesses was the light and the church bells, and it meant that the people in the village would be waking up and it seems that he didn't want people to find up - so all the ghosts go back to their graves and rest in peace again. Chernabog was a very powerful villain that nothing could killed him since he has all the power - even the flames did nothing to him. He's such an extraordinary Disney villain. Many critics rank him as one of the greatest Disney villains of all time - and he sure is.

Bill Tytla does some of the best stuff in this sequence. He handles the Devil and he does an excellent job on it. The first shot of the Devil wakening and unfolding his wings is excellent timing on the music. Tytla could make the audience frightened by the Devil and that's why he did an excellent job on it. I have to say, but he did put in a lot of "bloody" effort into this. My favourite part of Tytla's animation of the Devil is when the church bells come and the light reflects on him and he cringes himself. A lot of very strong emotions here, and that's what makes Tytla a great animator - he really put a lot of strong emotions into his work.

One of my favourite shots in this sequence is actually the scenes of the flames turning into dancers, very beautiful animation and sensitive timing, here. It appears to look like three naked girl dancers with their flames as their hair. It's all very nice, and it's one of my favorites here. I was actually surprised to find that Bill Tytla worked on that scene and that's what make me think he's a brilliant animator. Tytla works on a fair amount of the goon animation in some shots as well as the Devil.

Of course, the original model for the live-action reference was Bela Lugosi, and Tytla wasn't happy with the way he was acting the scenes, and Tytla wanted Wilfred Jackson to do the live action for the devil. It seems that the actor for the final live-action was the staff director Wilfred  Jackson.

The effects animation here is brilliant. It seems that animators like Miles Pike and Dan MacManus do most of the fire animation. John Reed does a lot of the smoke and fire stuff as well. They all did very well in those scenes. Josh Meador was another effects animator who was credited for that sequence, but it turned out that he does little work here. Throughout the film, Josh animates a lot of effects animation but spread in all the sequences by a few scenes. Of course, Josh was the main effects guy on Fantasia and was probably supervising a lot of effects animator, leaving him with not much to do. John Reed, appears to do a lot of the light of the spirits and souls.

Animators like Les Novros and Don Patterson don't do a lot of animation but Novros does a good job with the goon creatures reacting to the light and church bells. Don Patterson animates the scenes of the departure of the ghosts and spirits. To be honest, I'm not a fan of Patterson's scenes here - it feel unrealistic here and it would've been better if that was done with the special effects process used earlier in the sequence. Don's spirits feels cartoonish to me in a way - and I wonder how it ended up in the final film. It's a shame that he wasn't given much to do in this sequence.

It seems that Bob Broughton did a lot of the special effects here with the camera. All very well done. We hadn't seen the "Spec. efx" sign in the draft since The Rite of Spring - hadn't we? This is just a wonderful sequence which was all set up perfectly and the Tytla scenes are a tour-de-force. We'll come across another tour-de-force sequence with John McManus' Ave Maria sequence.

This is my talk done, and it was pretty difficult to make this mosaic so far. We are nearing the end, and that would be the conclusion to my Fantasia mosaics. Any ideas on what new mosaic to make after wards?


R.Dress said...

Wow this so Awesome! This is a real treat for me. Thanks for posting this.

Steven Hartley said...

My Pleasure. :)

Eric Noble said...

This has to be my favorite sequence in the entire film. Bill Tytla and his assistants did phenomenal work here. I love the animation of the goons. The whole scene looks like something that Francisco Goya would have painted, lots of what I call dramatic caricature. Very nicely done Steven.

Steven Hartley said...

You're very welcome, Eric. When you comment, I often find out some new artists like Goya as you mentioned. You know more about artists and illustrators than I do. Of course, you had more experience than I have had.