Friday, January 19, 2007

The King and the Mockingbird

I thought I'd try something different and post screenshots to one of my favorite animated films which has been very inspiring to my own comic creations. I'm using a lot of these screenshots as direct inspiration for some panels in Hob Bob. I enjoy and am hoping to emulate the fantastic angular architectural scenery and the strange perspective of buildings seen throughout the film.

Here's a quote that sums up what the film is about. "Conceived in the late '40s by animator Paul Grimault and famed screenwriter Jacques Prévert, this was intended to be France's first full-length animated feature, but, due to budgetary problems, it was left incomplete until 1980. Today it's seen as having been highly influential on animation giants such as Hayao Miyazaki, and as proof that hand-drawn images deserve life after Pixar. A pompous, cross-eyed ruler--named "King Charles V + III = VIII + VIII = XVI"--is in love with a painting. The two-dimensional beauty, however, desires the dashing young chimney sweep in the frame next door. Drawn to one another, this pair decides to elope, stepping out of the paintings and into Grimault's endlessly bizarre castle/town. But a jealous portrait of the King gives chase, imprisoning the real King with a well-placed trap door. Grimault forsakes realism in favor of bold colors, disorienting shifts in scale and perspective, and a number of odd transformations (my favorite is when the King's throne becomes a carnival-style bumper car). Elevators look like beetles attached to telescoping cell phone antennas, buildings hang like barnacles from gargantuan Roman pillars," quote from here.









Here's 50 screenshots from the film...

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31 - 32 - 33 - 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 - 40 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 45 - 46 - 47 - 48 - 49 - 50

12 comments:

Human Mollusk said...

Aeron, I completely agree. It's one of the greates animation films ever.
It's been many years since I last saw it and your post makes me want to watch it again.

Goblinko said...

Aah! I've never seen this. I have to find a copy now.

aeron said...

I have a downloaded copy that doesn't have any english subtitles. And from what I understand there aren't any copies available yet with english subs? But if you find it somewhere to rent I'd still recommend watching it as it's more of a visual film that doesn't really rely on what is being said. It's mostly people running around in this weird castle structure. I went crazy yesterday taking screenshots while watching it and figured everyone here would find some of these scenes of interest. The opening scene with the king riding up in the elevator through all the weird structures is insane!

I noticed some interestng similarities between this film and Miyazaki's latest animation. Those bat wing caped characters were a direct inspiration for some of the things in Howl's Moving Castle. And you can really see the influence of this film in Castle In The Sky.

Human Mollusk said...

It's especially astounding if you look at the film's history.
Director Grimault (born 1905) started working on it in 1947 but had a fall-out with his producer and stopped working on it. And unfinished version was published in 52. Grimault later acquired the rights in the 60s and finished the film according to his vision in 1980, aged 75!

Jon Chandler said...

a wonderful wonderful post, many thanks!!
Those massive spaces are amazing, I can really see how this may have effected you deeply.
Has anyone played Ico on teh PS2?

Chris Sobieniak said...

It should be of note as well that parts of the film that were animated can vary between shots, as some backgrounds and characters could've been animated back in the late 40's to those scenes that were added in the 1970's that appear so seamless you almost forget that it's newer animation at times (the backgrounds of course look practically the same in most shots, though I've read when they went back to finish this film, they no longer had the original model sheets or anything from the original production, and had to wing it from what material they still had.

Of course in the US, the worst we have is the dub of the 1950's edition under the title "The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird", it might only be worth checking out just to see what I'm talking about with those differences.

Noah Berlatsky said...

Don't know if you saw this Aeron, but your post got picked up by www.cartoonbrew.com; as a result we've had tons of traffic in the last couple of days....

Glenn said...

Thanks so much for posting these, I have been looking for more info on this film and your post along with some of the stuff I have picked up from Cartoon brew has been most helpful.

aeron said...

Glad the post was so well received. I was thinking of mentioning this post to the folks over at the drawn! blog but never got around to it, interesting that it got picked up by Cartoon Brew.

I've got a huge collection of strange animated films, I'll probably do this again sometime.

Michael said...

(Quote) I've got a huge collection of strange animated films, I'll probably do this again sometime.(EndQuote)

Please do!

These are truly off the wall images, and I appreciate very much your work in bringing them to our consciousness.

Thank you!

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Simon said...

I watched "mr Bird to the Rescue" many years ago, but it is the closest English version to the final cut. It has the right music and the very moving final scene. Only wish I knew what I had done with that tape, it's not available on DVD. You're right though in that there isn't a great deal of speech so any one should enjoy it in French. One of the greatest animated film of all time in my opinion.