Richard Williams (1968-92)

The Final Cut of The Thief & The Cobbler directed by Richard Williams. Fan edit by Garrett Gilchrist.

The Thief and the Cobbler is an unfinished animated fantasy film directed by Richard Williams. Originally conceived in the 1960s, the film was in and out of production for nearly three decades due to independent funding and ambitiously complex animation. It was finally placed into full production in 1989 when Warner Bros. agreed to finance and distribute the film. When production went over budget and fell behind schedule, the film was heavily cut and hastily re-edited by producer Fred Calvert without Williams’s involvement; it was eventually released in 1993 by Allied Filmmakers under the title The Princess and the Cobbler. Two years later, Disney subsidiary Miramax Films released another re-edit entitled Arabian Knight. Both versions of the film performed poorly and received mixed reviews.

Over the years, various people and companies, including The Walt Disney Company’s Roy E. Disney, have discussed restoring the film to its original version. In 2013, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences archived Richard Williams’s own 35 mm workprint. Williams himself acknowledged the film’s rehabilitated reputation, thanks to projects like the popular fan edit by Garrett Gilchrist The Recobbled Cut, and Persistence of Vision, a 2012 documentary from Kevin Schreck detailing the film’s production.

Garrett Gilchrist’s fan restorations mostly follow the workprint very closely, at least in their intent, using most of its original audio track and editing structure. In order to present a more complete film, Gilchrist added additional music (some from the released versions) and sound effects, and also included finished footage that does not appear in a finished state in the workprint, whether taken from the released versions or from other rare sources. Most of the story changes made by Fred Calvert and Miramax are not present, but it does include a few minor Calvert-only scenes or alterations, either as a side effect of using Calvert’s footage as replacements for unfinished scenes in the workprint or because Gilchrist felt these scenes were useful to the plot.

Garrett Gilchrist graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Cinema-Television Production in March 2005.

Garrett has been a regular staff writer for Cinemontage, The Editors Guild Magazine, since 2008, interviewing the editors of upcoming Hollywood films and television series. He has also contributed to ACE CinemaEditor. He has published one novel, Cratchit & Company, which focused on the characters of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Garrett is known for his restoration of Richard Williams’ unfinished animated masterpiece, The Thief and the Cobbler (The Recobbled Cut). The first Recobbled Cut was released in 2006. The fourth was released in HD in September 2013, after over two years of work.

He is also an artist, and from 2007 to 2009 he created Whosprites, a project designed to animate lost episodes of Doctor Who.

In 2005, Garrett released a popular fan documentary titled Star Wars: Deleted Magic, which focused on the difficulties encountered during the production of the 1977 film, and how these were fixed in editing.

In 2007 and 2008 he wrote, directed, and edited a feature titled Shamelessly, about a female superhero.

Max Fleischer (1942)

This obscure Fleischer two-reel cartoon is one of the oddest Fleischer shorts ever made. It starts out as a straight-forward adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic poem The Raven, but quickly turns into a farce about a door-to-door vacuum salesman (the Raven) and a Wolf. Together, they pay a visit to a very thrifty Scottie Dog, where the Raven attempts to make a sale, while the Wolf goes about breaking into the dog’s safe.

The Raven is voice by Jack Mercer, the famous voice of Popeye the Sailor.

This was the last produced animated short of Fleischer Studios before the Paramount take down replaced them with Famous Studios.

Ikuo Oishi (1933)

A farmer walking in the woods is frightened away by a shapeshifting fox, who then disguises himself as a samurai and makes his way to a temple, haunted by a young shapeshifting tanuki whose various attempts to frighten the fox/samurai away fail. The young tanuki telephones his father, and they join forces against the samurai.

In old Japan, foxes and tanuki (Asian raccoons) were considered to have almost mystical powers of disguise, deception, and trickery. In this cartoon, a fox disguised as a samurai uses its magic against a mother-and-child pair of tanuki at a ruined temple. The drawing style shows the influence of Max Fleischer on early Japanese animation.

Fleischer Studios (1934)

Ha! Ha! Ha! is a 1934 Fleischer Studio Betty Boop animated short film featuring Koko the Clown.

This is a partial remake of the 1924 Koko animated short, The Cure. It’s also Koko’s last theatrical appearance.

Max Fleischer deployed a number of techniques in the service of his anarchic cinematic vision, among them rotoscoping, which he patented in 1917; integrating live action shots; and using still photographs as animation backgrounds to create the illusion of cartoon characters inhabiting a real-world space, as in the opening scene of the astounding Betty Boop short Ha! Ha! Ha! (1934). The most technologically ornate item in Fleischer’s toolbox was the setback camera.

The setback camera is often confused with Disney’s multiplane camera. Both systems evolved somewhat contemporaneously, and both create the illusion of dimensional depth, but functionally they have little in common. The setback rig consists of a forced-perspective, miniature set mounted on a turntable, serving as background to the cel art held in a vertical glass platen, and a horizontal animation camera. The turntable is rotated incrementally behind the cels, creating the effect of a “tracking shot” — the 2D animated character, in a side-view walk cycle, traverses a realistically proportioned (but still recognizably Fleischeresque) 3D environment which moves perspectivally across the background.

The setback camera.
The Fleischer brothers working on the setback camera.

Chûzô Aochi & Yasuji Murata (1929)

An old man with a huge lump on his face encounters a band of Tengu in the mountains.

Manga: Kobutori is based on a Japanese Folktale entitled Kobutori Jiisan and is about an old man who lost his lump after joining a party of demons celebrate and dance for a night. The tale is a rendition of a tale about a woodcutter from the early 13th-century anthology Uji Shūi Monogatari.

An old man has a lump or tumor on his face. In the mountains he encounters a band of tengu making merry and joins their dancing. He pleases them so much that they want him to join them the next night, and offer a gift for him. In addition, they take the lump off his face, thinking that he will want it back and therefore have to join them the next night. An unpleasant neighbor, who also has a lump, hears of the old man’s good fortune and attempts to repeat it, and steal the gift. The tengu, however, simply give him the first lump in addition to his own, because they are disgusted by his bad dancing, and because he tried to steal the gift.

Rudolf Carl Ising & Hugh Harman (1930)

Bosko and a pig are hobos in a runaway boxcar.

A train rolls along the tracks in a rhythmic pattern. The train engine blows its whistle three times. The wheel turns into a hand and chokes the whistle to make a honk noise. The two-car train has a stowaway outhouse tied to the back. Inside one of the cars, Bosko and a pig with a banjo are hobos on a train, having fun. Bosko and the pig start playing “Cryin’ for the Carolines” with Bosko scat-singing and the pig on the banjo. He then begins to scat-sing a sorrowful part of the song even causing the pig to tear up.

The boxcar turns to an angle sliding the pig and Bosko toward the wall of the boxcar. The pig is knocked out and unresponsive while the train is climbing up a steep hill. It reaches the top and goes into a dark cave and begins another climb up a steeper hill. It rides like a caterpillar up the hill, inching along until it reaches a section where there is no track. It grabs a sheet of land but pulls down the mountain’s “pants”. The mountain pulls up his pants and the train journey continues. The boxcar carrying Bosko and the pig breaks off, plunging downhill at such speed.

Bosko ventures on top of the oxcar and repeatedly screams for help. The boxcar goes through a series of bumps while Bosko hangs onto a lever. The boxcar goes through three tunnels, at the third one, Bosko screams “Mammy!” The boxcar splits in two but regroups after a few seconds. A low tunnel launches Bosko off and onto a cow on the tracks. A second tunnel launches Bosko back onto the boxcar. A rock launches Bosko into the air. Fearing he might fall off, Bosko holds onto the lever until it collapses onto the train track and again like “Sinkin’ in the Bathtub” getting an array of trees. The cow bellows on the track in fright before Bosko gets a telephone pole to the crotch repeatedly.

Getting back on the car due to a rock, Bosko retreats inside the car. The tracks lead to a tree and the cow is caught in the middle. The boxcar smashes the cow into the tree who walks away outstretched and frustrated while Bosko and the pig land on a small board with wheels, distraught. The two dodge the debris from the boxcar falling from the sky as the pig grabs an umbrella to shield them. When it appears safe, the pig closes the umbrella but then his banjo clocks him in the head provoking the pig to screech in pain and start to whimper. Then Bosko pushes the small cart and plays the banjo before entering a dark tunnel.

Walter Lantz (1941)

Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat is a 1941 popular boogie-woogie song written by Don Raye. A bawdy, jazzy tune, the song describes a laundry woman from Harlem, New York whose technique is so unusual that people come from all around just to watch her scrub. The Andrews Sisters and Will Bradley & His Orchestra recorded the most successful pop versions of the song.

The animated short was released on March 28, 1941 by Universal Pictures and features no director credit. However, Woody Woodpecker creator Walter Lantz claims to have directed the cartoon himself. The story was written by Ben Hardaway, animation by Alex Lovy and Frank Tipper, and voiceover work by Mel Blanc and Nellie Lutcher. The short uses blackface stereotypes of African-American people and culture, and of life in the rural Southern United States.

The Scrub Me Mama short is today in the public domain.

Friz Freleng (1941)

Porky Pig works hard on his farm to store food for the winter, while his neighbor, a bear, would rather lie around and be lazy.
This is the original black and white classic directed by Friz Freleng.

Porky’s Bear Facts is a 1941 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon animated short directed by Friz Freleng.

This cartoon short is an adaptation of the Aesop fable The Ant and the Grasshopper.

Directed by Friz Freleng

Written by Michael Maltese

Animated by Manuel Perez

Musical Direction by Carl Stalling

Produced by Leon Schlesinger

“For your long winter needs, You just plant a few s-seeds. You must get up and w-work, not sleep. D-Dig and hoe. W-Watch them grow. As ye sow so shall ye r-r-r-reap.”

Porky Pig

Burt Gillett (1934)

The unofficial sequel to Walt Disney’s 1933 The Three Little Pigs.

The Big Bad Wolf is an animated short released on April 13, 1934 by United Artists, produced by Walt Disney, and directed by Burt Gillett as part of the Silly Symphony series. Acting partly as a sequel to the wildly successful adaptation of The Three Little Pigs of the previous year (maintaining the title characters as well as the villain), this film also acts as an adaptation of the fairy-tale Little Red Riding Hood, with the Big Bad Wolf from 1933’s Three Little Pigs acting as the adversary to Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother.

Ri Crawford (2020)

Narrated by Tom Waits

http://themoonsmilk.com

Seven and a half years in the making, The Moon’s Milk is an entirely handmade stop-motion animated short about a time when the moon was close enough to be reached by ladder. Narrated by Tom Waits, the film chronicles the last expedition of Captain Millipede and his crew to harvest the milk seeping from the craters. The action takes place between the gravities of two heavenly bodies, which further complicates the attraction between the characters. Longing, missed signals, and mishaps lead to the enchantment of the heavens with music.

Credits

Directed by Ri Crawford

Produced by Kim Aubry & Ri Crawford
Narrated by Tom Waits

Music by Caroline Penwarden

Sound design & Mix by Richard Beggs

David Lynch (2015)

David Lynch Theater Presents: FiRE (PoZaR)

“The whole point of our experiment was that I would say nothing about my intentions and Marek would interpret the visuals in his own way. So I say it was a great successful experiment, and I loved the composition Marek wrote for the Penderecki String Quartet.”

David Lynch

“I thought it was a very melancholic film in a certain sense and also very poetic. Without trying to be too explicit, I tried to illustrate further what David was doing. For example, there is something that looks like a hailstorm and I used a lot of pizzicato, but I also used a soaring melodic line to add a lyrical element to it.”

Marek Zebrowski

Written, Drawn, and Directed by David Lynch
Animated by Noriko Miyakawa
Music by Marek Zebrowski
©2015

Lenka (2008)

The Show is the first single by the Australian singer/songwriter Lenka. It was released on September 6th, 2008.

Lenka Kripac is an Australian singer and actress best known for her song The Show from her debut album, Lenka.

As a teenager, Lenka studied acting at the Australian Theatre for Young People, where she trained with actress Cate Blanchett. Lenka starred in the Australian ABC-TV drama series GP as Vesna Kapek in the 1990s. She also hosted Cheez TV and has guest starred in other Australian TV series, including Home and Away, Wildside, Head Start, and Spellbinder. She appeared in Australian feature films The Dish and Lost Things, as well as in theatre productions. Lenka provided the vocals for 2 tracks on Paul Mac’s 2005 album Panic Room. As Lenka Kripac, she was a member of the Australian electronic-rock crossover band Decoder Ring for two of their albums. She then moved to California in 2007.

After adopting her first name as her sole artistic name, Lenka released her eponymous debut album on 24 September 2008, with The Show chosen to be the first single release from the set. The album peaked at number 142 on the US Billboard 200. Her song Everything at Once was featured in a Windows 8 ad, becoming a worldwide success. Lenka creates paper art type stop-motion animated music videos for each of her singles with her husband James Gulliver Hancock, a visual artist from Australia, for a deliberately childlike effect. She provided vocals on two tracks (Addicted and Sunrise) on German artist Schiller’s album Atemlos, released in Germany on March 12th, 2010.

In 2011 she released her second album Two which was inspired by her engagement and is full of romantic love songs. Despite a warm critical reception, the album failed to match the success of her debut album, with Two reaching peak chart positions of 69 and 88 on the Belgian and Swiss charts respectively. Her third album Shadows appeared in 2013 after the birth of her son.

Frank Tashlin (1937)

Porky’s Railroad is a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Frank Tashlin.
The short was released on August 7, 1937, and stars Porky Pig.

Porky is the engineer on the most pathetic train in the fleet. After some routine episodes (using pepper to get the engine to sneeze itself up a hill, chasing a cow off the tracks, only to discover too late that it’s been replaced by a very angry bull), Porky gets word that he’s going to be replaced by the new streamlined Silver Fish.

Barnaby Dixon (2009)

A tale of how two “disgrega workers” react to the presence of a wild animal in their workshop.

Barnaby Dixon is a puppeteer, animator, musician, singer, YouTube star, and social media personality from Britain. He has garnered fame through his self-titled YouTube channel, on which he posts his puppet performances. His ongoing comedy/vlog series with a bird puppet named Dabchick has brought him widespread recognition.

Barnaby Dixon is a producer and director, known for Once Upon a Time in a Shed (2013), Eskos (2009), and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019).