Friday, 6 May 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XXVII)

We are now at the final sequence of Fantasia. It is one of my favourite sequences in the film, and one of the best endings ever to me. It's a tour de force, and it was all animated perfectly by John McManus.

The "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence has concluded, and all the ghosts and souls to the grave, as the devil went back to it's mountain shape. It appeared to be very early in the morning - maybe sometime like 5 in the morning. A lot of processions are crossing lands and bridges heading off to church and they appear to be singing the Ave Maria verse.

This always reminds me of a religious sequence to me. Of course, in its way, it's very religious because it shows these processions who are arriving at a Catholic church. Walt Disney was originally going to have the idea for the final shot to actually enter inside a Cathedral with the stained glass church windows inside it, but Walt Disney felt that he didn't want the sequence to be too religious.

There is a lot of interesting facts on this sequence, for example - I heard from John Canemaker that while Disney was preparing a storyboards for the sequence, one story artist remarked, "Y'know, we're not using the cartoon medium as we should be." Walt immediately got his attention on that man, and he remarked "We have worlds to conquer here, this isn't exactly how a cartoon should look like." I thought that the story man was absolutely correct of him to say that and I wish that he was attributed for that contribution.

I always liked the history of the final shot in this sequence, where it was all completely shot and finished just hours before the New York premiere. It was described as the longest-continuous shot in animation history, and also one of the hardest to film. There were two people credited for the special camera effects here named Gail Pappineau and Leonard Pickley and the first shot was when there was a minor earthquake that hit the Studio and destoyed the filming. Also, when there was camera errors. Pappineau and Pickley put in a load of bloomin' effort just to get that scene completed and they probably used up every bit of their energy for that final shot just to be filmed. After that, the entire shot was completed and approved with just hours to spare from the New York premiere. The two cameraman later went to sleep after spending days just filming that damn scene.

John McManus' animation of the processions with the torches is pretty powerful animation here. It's not character animation, but it's just very believable to an audience. It's strong and it just makes the sequence very amazing. McManus was very good at this type of animation. He gets roughly an estimated amount of 320 feet of animation here in this sequence, with the shots very, very long. Shot 21 is more than 100 feet which is more than a minute of animation.

I always thought the chorus singing here was the best part of the sequence, although I know that the lyrics and music was altered, but I thought it was the best version that I know of Ave Maria. True, I'm not a religious person and that it doesn't really bother me - but that religious sequence is just a gem. It's just treasure and it's really worth being put in film. It's too good to be thrown away in the rubbish. The vocalist for the final shot of the Ave Maria shot was by Julietta Novis and she does an excellent performance there, powerful vocal chords here.

What I like a lot about the ending about Fantasia is the fact that it's not really like any other Disney ending with a "happily ever after ending" in it. It's such a unique and wonderful ending, which is like never really been seen in films before, and in a way it strikes people.

Well, this all concludes my postings for the overall Fantasia mosaics. It has been some fun, and I've thoroughly enjoyed posting every sequence, sharing what I have to offer. I've once again watched the film from the very beginning to the very end. I feel that while making the mosaics, I have made improvements on what to do in mosaics. Always check out on Hans Perk's postings on the draft to Fantasia which inspired me to make these mosaics.

Despite the lack of comments I received overall, I still want to thank some commenters for taking their time to comment and share. Now the big question is, since I've finished Fantasia - what shall I do next? What would you like me to do as a mosaic?

Thanks everybody.


Eric Noble said...

Well done Steven. Ave Maria is a beautiful sequence and those that worked on it should be very proud of it. The wonderful use of color, sound,, everything is wonderful. You know, the ending almost has a pagan feel to it. Think about it. These people are all gathering to watch the sunrise, worshipping it as if it were a deity itself. Maybe that's just my own interpretation. As for your next mosaic, why not go for some of the shorts they made for Make Mine Music.

Steven Hartley said...

That's a possible choice, but not all the draft is posted. I know one draft for the segment that is posted and that's "Casey at the Bat". I might make that into a mosaic.

I was also considering on maybe "Cinderella", "The Sword in the Stone" or "Song of the South". Although, only if there's enough interested.

Hans Perk said...

From me, too, a Well Done Steven!
Many seem not to be able to get a mental image of the film by just reading the draft, and maybe they are too, well, for lack of a more diplomatic word, lazy, to look at it while seeing the film, so the mosaics really help!

For a next one, my vote is for Snow White. Without a doubt the most important of the features, it is worth all the research it can get. Many of the later features can be sort of described in one line: Frank animated this, Ollie that and Milt that. I know this is very simplistic, but still. The most interesting drafts are those with surprises. Thus, after Snow White, my next vote is Cinderella: who knew Phil Duncan did so much stuff with the mice? (I certainly didn't until I got my draft!)

Song of the South would be interesting, but since the film itself is harder to get (officially), the audience might be smaller. Thank you (not), Mr. Iger...

Hans Perk said...

By the way: check your spelling of names carefully!

For this last page alone:
Jacques (not Jaqcues) Roberts.
Thor Putnam (not Putman).

These being correct will likely make the mosaics of much higher value for later researchers!

Feel free to delete this comment at will ;-)

Steven Hartley said...

Thanks, Hans. It's very difficult: it's now a toss-up with "Snow White" and "Cinderella". It's either one I want to work on! Arrgh! It's getting tricky.

You know, I actually might do some shorts during the feature mosaics as well, I was thinking of Canine Caddy.

You know what, to make it fair - since "Snow White" and "Cinderella" are tough choices. I'll do the old heads and tails game with a coin. Snow White "heads" and Cinderella "tails".

Steven Hartley said...

Corrected the mosaic.

I've done my coin-tossing.