It's the story of Yolande, a little girl (about 12) who wanted to become a princess. Bombastus, her old father, has created a marvelous and big clock crowded with little characters (...
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It's the story of Yolande, a little girl (about 12) who wanted to become a princess. Bombastus, her old father, has created a marvelous and big clock crowded with little characters (animated puppets). On each hour ring, one of the twelve knights of the clock comes into motion. They're all in love with the princess but a strong black knight doesn't agree... It's not a happy end. So Yolande will dive deep into her dreams, maybe to change the story. It's the second part of the movie. Sylph, master of this imaginary earth and Ondin, master of the aquatic world are the main characters. Yolande and then the man of her dreams join this strange world... Written by
I have in my hands the latest DVD of Starewitch's work, Les Contes de l'Horloge Magique (The Magic Clock). This is R2 PAL and costs $25.xx US from Chalet Films and took 7 days from ordering to receiving ( cheers to Chalet! ). It is in French with NO subtitles. The main menu consists of the movie (running time 60 minutes), scene selection and extras which consist of three trailers for other films.
Seeing this is a lot like when I first saw The Tale of the Fox on the big screen as it really stunned me that such work was being done in the early days of stop motion technology. With Fox I had seen it shortly after seeing A Nightmare Before Christmas and thinking THAT was the pinnacle of SMA film-making, was stunned to see the revelation that Starewitch had made something of a similarly epic scale 60 years previously and basically by himself. While watching Fox I was in awe of what he was able to do with sets, direction and effects and was continually amazed at his excellent Tex Avery (Warner Bros) style pose to pose character animation.
This new DVD again shows that his animation and direction holds up to a lot of today's standards. In fact there are a lot of effects in The Magic Clock that I have not seen Starewitch use elsewhere and definitely makes this worth seeking out. There are several split and rear screen composites along with some pretty intricate pixilation of the human actors in order to interact with either a fantastical environment or SMA puppets. One interesting group of scenes uses pixilated cutouts of Nina Star in order to be placed within SMA set environments and to be held in the hand of a giant (pixilated) human actor.
Despite Starewitch's technical strength I was mostly impressed by his skill at getting emotion and action out of his characters. Sometimes the animation is almost uncanny in how "human" they act. And again like in most of his more famous works such as The Mascot and The Tale of the Fox he put stop-motion blur to great effect, which really livens up the flow of the pose to pose animation. It isn't really like go-motion since it isn't used all of the time, but it does accentuate quick entrances, exits and prat falls.
Which brings me to the last thing I have to comment on and that is Starewitch's ability to tell a fun and entertaining story. I think anyone who has watched a Starewitch movie knows that he has a very healthy (and sometimes dark) sense of humor which is expertly shown through visual prat falls and sometimes 3 Stooges-esquire stunts. He's able to tie all of this action together in order to tell very cohesive and exciting stories and does so three times over in The Magic Clock.
Speaking of which, the shorts that make up this DVD are La Petite Chanteuse des rues, La Petite Parade and L'Horloge Magique. Each is a stand alone story that happens to involve Nina Star as the protagonist.
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