Sunday, 28 August 2011
Snow White /mosaic: Part 13
The sequence starts off back to the Queen's house, as we've seen enough of the seven dwarfs for now. Our main focus is to get back onto the queen and it's the evening. We truck to the castle (and the shots are reused layouts but the backgrounds are different, but credited to Sam Armstrong), and then we see the Queen who believes Snow White is dead. Not being boastful about her death, she goes to the magic mirror (as she does often), and she asks "Who NOW is the fairest of them all," - she's so sure that she's going to get a different answer, and is still assuming Snow White is dead. The Magic Mirror (who seems to know all), assumes the Queen that Snow White is still alive and still is the fairest of the land, and announces that the Huntsman tricked her and was in league with Snow White all along. The Queen feels embarrassed that she was tricked.
The Queen walks all the way down the stairs and is aware that since hiring a huntsman was no help, she'll go down and kill Snow White herself without her knowing that it's the Queen, or anyone else knowing. She pulls out a book from a bookshelf with a formula that demonstrates on how to prepare a disguise, and she has to create a potion that turns her into an ugly old witch (otherwise known as "Mummy Dust").
The scenes where the Queen is transformed into a witch was always described as one of the many frightening moments in theatre, that it even scared Walt Disney's daughter, Dianne. There is a lot of animators who work on the transforming scenes. It even finally credits effects animators, while so far in the draft, we have seen very little effects scenes credited. It credits George Rowley, Stan Quackenbush and Josh Meador, and that's their only known credit so far in the draft. There is even a scene of the Queen's hair turning white animated by Campbell Grant. The task that Grant was assigned to was probably not to difficult to animate, but it's important in terms of colour because her hair changes from back to white. It was a task for the ink and painters, and not much a challenge to the animators.
The effects animation in this sequence is incredible, especially the transforming scenes. The effects animators who animate the bubbles provide a great atmosphere in whole changing sequence. There aren't any effects scenes credited in the scenes when the Queen is making her recipe, and I assume those effects animators mentioned would've worked on it. Shot 21 with the effects animation is just perfect animation, with the whole layout changing into whirls. That is simply incredible for 1937, and I don't know what greater there was that had been accomplished. It's interesting to find that Eric Larson handles effects animation scenes, but none of them involve thunderstorms or liquid. Shot 21C, Larson handles an effects scene in which the Queen's hands transform into old, rusty hands. The hands are not very well designed, but they do look hideous. It's not an assignment that a character animators always get, but it has happened before. Shot 26 is also animated by Larson, and he animates the Witch in silhouette, before zooming down with a Witch by Norm Ferguson.
The Queen here is not only animated by Art Babbitt, but he also has Bob Stokes handling a chunk as well. Bob Stokes animates the entire beginning with the Queen at the Magic Mirror, and walking down the stairs with rats watching (did Stokes animate rats, I don't see another animator on that scene). As soon as Art Babbitt enters the sequence, he handles most of the shots with the Queen. Bob Stokes mostly handles the Queen's hands. I forgot to point out that in an interview, Art Babbitt claimed that he didn't rotoscope any scenes he did on the Queen and says that he has proof that he didn't rotoscope it. I wonder if Stokes rotoscoped his scenes on the Queen?
Woolie Reitherman returns again but only briefly when he animates small characters like the Magic Mirror. It's such a difficult and probably (dull) assignment to animate the mirror. The scenes isn't much, but it probably took such a long time to complete the footage of the mirror. Woolie also got some scenes of the dwarfs where they are building the bed, and it was cut - with the mirror being his only surviving animation.
Norm Ferguson steps along and he starts off with his famous assignment on the Witch in Snow White. He also animates scenes of the raven, too. The Witch isn't VERY well animated, but the design is very well done - and Joe Grant did a good job on the design. Norm Ferguson makes the animation of the Witch look very frightening, and I think that it was Fergy's main task to make her scary. The animation didn't have to be very good, but just very frightening and ugly. He provides some broad acting here when the Witch reads through the book. I also like his raven, too. He provides some great staging and acting on the raven inside the skull. The scene shows the raven in fear, and we feel sorry for how scary the Witch is, but the scene with the raven in the skull is also quite broad. Shot 33 when Fergy looks at the audience with the line "in the sleeping death". She looks frightening once she looks at you, and the freeze frame is just perfect timing to end the sequence.
I wonder what Tony Rivera is doing in this sequence? We've seen him by Jack Campbell a lot in this film on the Snow White character, and now we see him working with Fergy? I wonder how that happened, or unless this is a different "Tony", but I can't think of another Tony around Disney in 1936-1937.
Hope this is keeping a bit up to date. I'll try and post the entertainment sequence next, when I get the chance. I'm posting these fairly slowly, mind you.