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Jerr y Beck

Contributing Writers

Mar tin Goodman Andrew Leal W. R. Miller Fred Patten

THE ANIMA TED MOVIE GUIDE Jerr y Beck Contributing Writers Mar tin Goodman Andrew Leal W.

An A Cappella Book

Librar y of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Beck, Jerry. The animated movie guide / Jerr y Beck.— 1st ed. p. cm. “An A Cappella book.” Includes index. ISBN 1-55652-591-5 1. Animated films—Catalogs. I. Title. NC1765.B367 2005



Front cover design: Leslie Cabarga Interior design: Rattray D esign All images cour tesy of Cartoon Research Inc.

Front cover images (clockwise from top left): P hotograph from the motion picture Shrek ™ & © 2001 DreamWorks L.L.C. and PDI, reprinted with permission by DreamWorks Animation; Photograph from the motion picture Ghost in the Shell 2 ™ & © 2004 DreamWorks L.L.C. and PDI, reprinted with permission by DreamWorks Animation; Mutant Aliens © Bill Plympton; Gulliver’s Travels.

Back cover images (left to right): Johnny the Giant Killer, Gulliver’s Travels, The Snow Queen

© 2005 by Jerr y Beck All rights reserved First edition Published by A Cappella Books An Imprint of Chicago Revie w Press, Incorporated 814 North Franklin Street Chicago, Illinois 60610 ISBN 1-55652-591-5 Printed in the United States of America 5 4 3 2 1






About the Author and Contributors’ Biographies


Chronological List of Animated Features


Alphabetical Entries


Appendix 1: Limited Release Animated Features


Appendix 2: Top 60 Animated Features Never Theatrically Released in the United States


Appendix 3: Top 20 Live-Action Films Featuring Great Animation




A a ro n ’s Magic V i l l age (9/19/97) Avalanche Re l e a s- ing. 83 mins. Director: Albert Hanan Kaminski. Pro - ducers: Dora Benousilio, Peter Volke. Voices: Fyvush Fi nk el (Na r rat or), To mm y Mic ha els (Aa r on ), Tova h Feldshuh (Ay nt Sarah, Zlatch the Goat, Ma t c h m a k e r ) , Ronn Carroll (Uncle Shlemiel), Harry Goz (Gronam Ox), Ivy Austin (The Lantuch).

Consumer Tips: ✰✰ MPAA Rating: G. Je wish folk- tale based on a stor y by Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Stor y: Orphan boy Aaron is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the tiny village of Chelm, a town blessed with an overdose of foolishness. When a jealous sor - cerer, using a Book of Mar vels he stole from Chelm, conjures a destr uctive Golem to destroy the town, it’s u p t o Aa ron t o u se his w its t o s a ve his f ami ly and friends.

Comments: Aaron’s Magic Village is an adaptation of four fables from Isaac Bashevis Si n g e r’s Stories for Chil- dren and was put into production under the title The

Real Schlemiel. The resulting film is sincere and has its g ood mo me n ts bu t i s no t a g reat work . Or i g i n a l l y, Aaron’s Magic Village was produced in France as a tel- evision project. To enha n ce the prod uct ion , d ire ct or Kami nsk i b rought in some notable talents, including actors Tova h

Feldshu h, Ha r ry

Goz, and Fyvush Finke l, we l l - k n ow n

composer Michel Legrand (The Um b rellas of Cherbourg, Summer of ’42), and lyricist Sheldon Ha rnick (Fiddler on the Roof ). U.S. animation veteran Buzz Potamkin (Be renstain Be a r s, Ha n n a - Barbera) provided special ani- ma t ion seq uence s tha t e nl ive n the rat her pe dest rian script and directorial pace. Sadly, the Golem sequence

A a ro n ’s Magic V i l l age (9/19/97) Avalanche Re l e

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

(10/5/49) Di s n e y - R KO. 68 mins. Di rectors: Jack Kin- ney, Clyde Geronimi, James Algar. Production super- visor: Ben Sharpsteen. Voices: Bing Crosby (Ichabod),

Basil Rathbone (Narrator), Eric Blore (Mr. Toad), Pat O ’ Malley (Cyril), Claud Allister (Water Ra t), John Pl o- y a rdt (Prose cutor), Collin Campbell (Mole), Campbel l Grant (Angus MacBadger), Ollie Wallace (Winky).

Consumer T i p s : ✰✰✰ Based on The Legend of Sl e e py

Ho l l ow by Wa shin g to n Ir vin g and The Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

Win d in t he

Stor y: Two classic stories told in vintage Disney style. Basil Rat hbo ne na rrates the whimsic a l adve n t u res o f Mr. Toad, an eccentric character with a motor mania, w ho is p u t on tr ia l f o r s te a li ng a c a r. Bi ng Cr o s by

rel a tes t he ta le of Icha b od

Cr ane, a Ne w En g l a n d

s cho o l te a c her, an d his e n count e r w it h a le gen dar y Headless Horseman.

po orly c om bines c om puter graphics wit h t radit ional hand -drawn cartooning , distracting our attention fro m the stor y’s continuity. T he f il m was c o pr odu ced by Co l umb ia Tr i St a r Ho m e Vid e o, and g iven a bi llb oard rele a se i n the Unit ed Stat es by Ava l anc he Rel e a sing (a d ivisio n o f

Comments: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad w as Di s n e y’s fina l package movie of the 1940s. It com- bines tw o we l l - k n own stories under the theme of “Tw o Fabulous Characters,” which was the original working title of the feature. Both stories reinforce the Disney

Cin e pix Fil m

Pro p e rt ies , w hic h l a ter b ec am e L io n’s

studio’s leadership at the time, in the skills of anima-

Gate Films). ( JB)

tion, stor ytelling, and character animation. The Wind

Addi ti onal Cr e d i t s : S c reen pla y: Alber t Ha nan K ami nsk i, Jacqu eline Ga lia Be n o u s i l i o. Music: Mich el Legr and . Ly r i c s :

in the Willows segment contains some of the funniest b its o f car t o on a cti ng an d ex a g ger a tio n —a s To a d’s motor mania has him going insane with the idea of a

Sheldon Harnick.

w ild ride on a road to “n ow h e re in p a rt i c u l a r.” T h e



T h e

A d v e n t u r e s

o f

I c h a b o d

a n d

M r .

To a d

Sl e e py Ho l l ow se gme n t is ri ch w ith a tm o sp here and nuance. Ichabod’s encounter with the Headless Horse- man (animated by Frank Thomas and John Sibley) is ranked among the finest Disney animation sequences in the studio’s histor y. The stu d io was gear in g u p to t ackle a ful l-le ngth narrative again with its subsequent production of Cin- d e re l l a (1950). T he se two ha lf-ho ur-len gth ta les cer- tainly proved the studio was up for the task. The two stories we re later released separately as theatrical short s , as The Legend of Sl e e py Ho l l ow a n d The Madcap Ad ve n- tures of Mr. Toad. ( JB)

Addi ti onal C re d i t s : Di rect i ng ani m ato r s: Fran k T h o m a s , Ol i ver Johnson, Wolfgang Reitherman, Milt Kahl, Jo hn Louns- berry, Ward Kimball. Background artists: Ray Huffine, Merle C ox , Art Riley, Brice Mack. Layo ut artist s: Ch arles Ph i l i p p i , Tom Codderick, Thor Putnam, Hugh Hennessy, Lance Nolley, Al Zinnen. Effects animators: George Rowley, Jack Boyd. Ani- mators: Fred Mo o re, John Si b l e y, Ma rc Davis, Hal Ambro, Ha r- vey Toombs, Hal King, Hugh Fr a s e r, Don Lusk. St o r y: Erd m a n Pe n n e r, Winsto n Hi b l e r, Joe Rinald i, Ted Sears, Homer Br i g h t-

ma n,

Ha r r y Re e ves. Mu si c/ly r ics : Do n Ra ye, Gene De Pa u l ,

Frank Churchill, Charles Wolcott, Larr y Morey, Ray Gilbert.

2 T h e A d v e n t u r e s o f

The A d ve n t u res of Ma rk Twa in ( 1 / 1 7 / 8 6 )

At l a n t i c

Rel easing . 9 0 mins. Pro d u c e r / d i rect or: Wi l l

Vinton. Voices: James Whitmore (Mark Twain), Chris Rit chi e ( To m S a w yer ), Ga r y K r u g (Hu ck Fi n n ) , Mic hel e Ma r ia n a ( Be c ky ), Jo hn Mo r ris on (Ad a m ) , C a rol Ed elman (Eve), Da llas Mc Kennon ( Jim Sm i l e y ) , Herb Smith (The Stranger), Marley Stone (Aunt Po l l y ) , Wilbur Vincent (The Mysterious Stranger).

Consumer Tips: ✰✰✰ MPAA Rating: G. Based on Tom Sawyer Abroad by Mark Twain and several of his shor t stories.

S t o r y : Ma rk Tw ain takes off for his final adve n t u re, in a riverboat propelled by a balloon, to intercept Ha l l e y’s C om et and reun it e w ith his l a te wi fe. Tom Sa w ye r, Becky Thatcher, and Huckleberr y Finn stow away and are soon enchanted by Twain’s most beloved stories.

C o m m e n t s : Th e Ad ve n t u res of Ma r k ambit ious feature-length film by Will

Tw a i n w a s an Vinto n, u sing

his tradema rk stop -motio n Claymatio n process. T h e film was three and a half years in the making and was self-f inanced using profits from his stu dio’s commerc i a l work. Vinton staked a claim in the industr y when his first film, Closed Mondays (1974, codirected by Bob Gar- diner), won an Oscar for Best Animated Shor t. That w as followed by several subsequent Osc ar nominations (Rip Van Winkle, 1978, The Creation, 1981, The Great C o g n i t o, 1982) and several award-winning commerc i a l s (The Califor nia Raisins).

Vi n t o n’s w ife, Su san Shadburne, re s e a rched Ma rk

Twain extensively for the scre e n p l a y,

using Tw a i n’s ow n

w o rds from his autobiography for the character dialogue. Vinton and Shadburne adapted Tom Sa w yer Ab road as a

d e p a rt u re point for the feature-length screenplay and

incorporated into the narrative several Twain short sto-

ries (“The Di a ry of Adam and Eve,” “The Celebrated

Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” “The My s t e r i o u s

St r a n g e r” ). A few of t hese we re created (and later

released) as stand-a lone shorts. The se sequ ences we re

undoubtedly produced first, in case funding for the fea-

t u re-length project failed to materialize.

The film’s highlight is James Whitmore’s vocal per-

formance as Mark Twain ( Whitmore was best known

f o r his sig n a ture r o les a s Ha r r y Tr um an and Wi l l Rogers). He was filmed while performing his lines, as reference footage for the animators to study. The final character design of Mark Twain in the film is a cross between the actual facial features of Mark Twain and those of the actor Whitmore. (JB)

Additional Cre d i t s : S c reenplay: Su san Sh adburne. Exe c u t i ve p roducer: Hugh Ti r rell. Music: Billy S cream. Princip al ch arac- ter animation: Ba r ry Bruce, William L. Fiesterman, Tom Ga s e k ,


T h e

A d v e n t u r e s

o f

P r i n c e

A c h m e d


Ma rk Gu st afson, Crai g Ba rt lett , Br uce Mc Kea n. Set d esign:

stea ls the show with his flowe r y actions, colorful feath-

Additional Cre d i t s : S c reenplay: Jacques Pre ve rt, Paul Gi m a u l t .

Jo an Gra t z, Don Me rkt. Cla y pa in t: Jo an Gr at z. Ani m at o rs:

ers, and large top hat.

Do n

Me rkt, Will

Vi nt on, Matt Wu e rk e r. Ti tle layouts: Ma r i-

The movie’s plot is played out as if a dream. The

lyn Zo r n a d o.

c ro s s - e yed king has a sumptuous castle in the sky 1,999

The A d ve n t u re s o f Mr. Wo n d e r b i rd ( 2 / 1 / 5 7 ) Fi ne Ar t s Fil ms . 6 3 m in s. Di recto r : Pa ul Gr i m a u l t .

floors above his darkened king dom. The ruler is in love with a shepherdess in one of the paintings in his galler y, and after midnight (just like in several of the old Mer-



And re Sa r ru t. Voices (Eng l ish dub): Pe t e r

rie Melodies cartoons) the paintings come to life. The

Us t i n ov ( M r. Wo n d e r b i rd), Cla ire Bloom (The Sh e p- h e rdess), Denholm Elliott (The Chimney Sweep), Ma x

s h e p h e r dess an d he r l ove r, th e c himn e y-sw ee p ( in another painting alongside), spend most of the film on

Ad rian ( The King ), Ale x Cl unes (T he Blin d Ma n ) , Cecil Trouncer (The Statue), Philip Stainton (Chief of

the run from the king (a portra it of whom comes to life and disposes of the real king) and the royal policemen

Police), Ha rc o u rt

Wil liams (T he Old Beg ger), Jo a n

(w ho a t o n e po in t sp rou t s b a t wi ng s to pur su e t he

Heal (The Killer), Frank Muir (Commentator).


Con s um er T i p s : ✰ ✰ 1 2 Ba se d o n Ha ns Chr is tia n Andersen’s Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep .

It gets even stranger as the lovers find refuge among the poor, handicapped people of the town, who dwell in the kingdoms lower depths and have never seen the

Stor y: In the kingdom of Upandownia, a cross-eyed tyrant king loves a charming shepherdess who is alre a d y in love with a poor chimney sweep. Aided by a wily m o c k i n g b i rd, the lovers escape to the lower city, where the bird instigates a re volt and destroys the roya l palace w ith the he lp o f t he kin g’s se cret w eap o n—a g ia nt robot.

sun, nor birds. Wonderbird leads a revolt that involves d ancing lions and the king’s g iant ro b o t — e ve n t u a l l y freeing the townspeople and uniting the shepherdess and the chimney-sweep. In 1967 Paul Grimault bought back the film’s orig- inal negative, stripped it of all the footage not his ow n , and began work on completing the film as he originally envisioned it. He completed the newly revised version

Comments: A bizarre, but delightful, early animated feature from France. The film was dubbed in England and the En glish l angu a g e ver sio n re c e i ved a lim ite d U.S. theatrical release in 1957. Produ cer And re Sa r rut and d ire c t o r / c owriter Pa u l Grimault we re well known in France for their anima ted commercials and short films made through their com- pany Les Gemeaux, f ounded in 1936. In 1946 they e m b a rked upon a featu re-length film production based on Hans Christian Andersen’s stor y Sh e p h e rdess and the

C h i m n e y - Swe e p. Year s o f eff ort, tria l , and e rror to ok

in 1979 and began an international release in 1980. It w a s re v i ewe d in t he Ap ril 16, 1980 iss ue of Va r i e t y under the title The King and the Mockingbird with an 87-minute r unning time. This latter version never had a U.S. theatrical release. ( JB)

Mu sic /ly rics: Jo seph Lo sma . E xe c u t i ve pro du cer: Anat ole de Grunwald. Editor: Gi l b e r t Natot. Sound editor: Ann Chegwid- d en. Di rec ti ng a ni mat o r: Henri L aca m. Ani ma to rs: Pi e r re Watrin, Jacques Vausseur. English dub director: Pierre Rouve. Coloring super visor: Etienne Larouche. This film is also know n


toll on the fil mmakers—and under pre s s u re fro m

simply as Wonderbird or Mr. Wonderbird—as well as The Curi -

their distributor they were forced to release the film in

ous Mr. Wonderbird, The King and the Bird, The King and Mr.


T he fi lmm ake rs we re un ha pp y w it h t he fi lm. The y felt it was in com plete and d isow ne d it , b u t the cri tic s an d p u bl ic sa w i t and ha il e d it a s a gre a t s u r realist work—and the first tr ue Eu ropean animated feature. T he f il m a s rele a se d i s c ha rm in g , b u t d isjo in te d .

Bi rd, The King and the Mo c k i n g b i rd—and under its French title, La Bergere et Le Ramoneur.

T he A d ve n t u re s o f Pri nc e A c h m e d ( 9 / 3 / 2 6 ) UFA. 65 mins. Director: Lotte Reiniger.

C on s u me r T i p s :

✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

Ba s e d


f r o

However, the animation is lush and Mr. Wonderbird

T h e

Ara b ia n

Ni g h t s .

Mi l d

o v i o le n ce

st o r i e s an d

m ad u l t


T h e

A d v e n t u r e s

o f

P r i n c e

A c h m e d

si t u a t i o n s. T hi s i s a si le n t f il m , i n b l a c k an d w h it e

(th oug h t he rece nt DV D rele a se re s t o res the

o rig i na l

c o l o r t i n t s) . T he re le a s e d a t e l is t e d ab ov e is t he orig ina l Germ an rele a se d a te.

4 T h e A d v e n t u r e s o f

S t o r y : Prince Achmed is tric ked by a sinister magician in to r id ing a m a gic al ho r se tha t wi ll f l y him t o hi s d oom . Inst e ad, Ac hm ed lear n s how t o c o nt ro l the horse and takes off on a series of adventures in foreign

l and s. He fi gh ts a

Fi re Mo unt a in Wi tc h, ex plo re s

China , and woos a p rincess— and u ltim atel y defe ats

the magician.

Comments: The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a ver y unique film. It is the first animated feature film ever made. It is a silhouette film (stop motion black paper cutouts animate d frame by frame against a white back- d rop), and it was animated and directed by a woman—

r a re for any

film in 1926. It is an e labor ate fantasy,

with serious action-adventure sequences and mild sex- u a l i t y, and it contains so me experime ntal, semiabstra ct

sequences. The film also pioneers an early form of the multi-plane camera, separating foregrounds and back - grounds into layers to give a 3-D effect. The finished film is a true work of art. Its creator, Lotte Re iniger (1899–1981), became intereste d in the- ater and in cutting silhouettes from an early age, buil d- ing a shadow puppet theater in 1915. She subsequently became excited by the fantasy films of George Méliès and enrolled at the Reinhardt Theater School, where she ended up getting small parts in movies. In 1918, Reiniger joined a group of ar tists who had just started a studio for experimental films.

In 1923, at the age of 23, Reiniger began work on The Adventures of Prince Achmed, more than a decade b e f o re Di s n e y’s Sn ow W hite a nd t he Se ven Dw ar f s (1937). Prince Achmed tells its stor y eloquently, with great style and visual flair. Grey tones and color tints are used effectively to heighten drama. The animation of the lead characters has persona lity, and special effects (t o he ig ht en t he m agi cal ele me nt s of the s to r y ) a re wonder fully conceived. Reiniger cut her figures from card b o a rd or thin lead, and each l imb was cut separately and joined with wire hinges. Wa lter Ru ttman and Be rtho ld Ba rtosc h we re e xpe rime ntal anima to rs w ho create d t he vo l c a n o e s ,

w a ves, clouds, and magic fight between the sorc e rer and

the witch, becoming the world’s first effects animators.

Musician Wo lfgang Zeller wrote a score for the fil m

concurrently with its production. The original music

has been restored to the DVD release. The Adventures of Prince Achmed was completed in 1926, but no film distributor in Germany would take it on. Composer Zeller obtained permission to use a concert hall to stage a premiere showing. The reviews were ecstatic; the New York Times ran a huge stor y on the film pre v i ew in July 1926. A theater in Pa ris picked up the film and played it for almost a year. It slowly began receiving bookings throughout the world. Its f ir st kn own U.S . sh owin g w a s Fe b r u a r y 2 1, 1 93 1, a t Town Ha ll in Ne w Yo r k. T he f i lm’s U.S . rights we re orig ina lly picked up by the Un i versity Fi l m Fo undation o f Ha rva rd , w ho gave the film a pl atform release through schoo ls, muse ums, and specialized a r t t heaters. ( J B )

Additional Credits: Technical director: Carl Koch. Anima- tors: Walter Ruttman, Be rthold Ba rtosch, Walter Tu rck, Alexan- der Kardan. Titles: Edmund Delco. Original music: Wolfgang Zeller.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

(6/30/00) Un i v ersa l. 88 mins. Di rector: Des Mc A n u f f. Produce rs : Jane Ro se nt ha l, Ro b e r t De Ni ro. Vo i c e s :

June Foray (Rocky J. Squirrel, Car toon Natasha, Nar- r a t o r’s Mother), Keith Scott (Bullwinkle J. Moose, Na r- r a t o r, Ca r t oon Fear les s Le ad er, Ca r t oon Bo r is, Po t t s y l vanian TV Announcer), Susan Berman (We a s e l ) . Live action: Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, Piper Per- abo , Ro b e r t De Ni ro, Janeane Ga rofalo, John Go o d-

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