Click on any of the above to enlarge.
I have no idea how long it's going to take to complete this, but it certainly seems to me to be worthwhile to do. Here's the first sequence from Pinocchio. You've probably noticed that I've started using tags with these entries. The tag 'Mosaics' will call up all the mosaics I've done as well as the related commentaries. I'm reserving the 'Pinocchio' tag for just the Pinocchio mosaics, so it should be convenient for you to call them up as we go.
(I note that the 'Mosaics' tag does not bring up entries all the way back to the beginning of this blog. I'll see if I can make this work better.)
Thanks go to Hans Perk and Michael Sporn for posting the animator drafts on which this is based. Thanks also to Alberto Becattini, whose list of animator credits has been a huge help in identifying lesser-known animators for these mosaics.
Because of Pinocchio's length, I'm going to post whatever I have to say about a sequence at the same time I put up the mosaics.
When I first saw these drafts, I was surprised at how many other animators handled Jiminy in this sequence. Looking at the animation carefully (and these mosaics don't do them justice; they're just a reference), it's clear that Kimball's cricket has a larger head, hands and feet than those of Luske, Wolf or Towsley. Towsley's proportions are more traditional cartoon than Kimball's, which are close to Dick Huemer's approach to the early Scrappy.
Kimball uses a hold for the word "true" at the end of the opening song. It isn't Kimball's fault, but you can see the cel scratches and dust stop moving during the hold and the whole screen goes dead. It was more obvious in 35mm than on video or DVD, but it always bugged me. I wish that he'd used a moving hold.
Kimball's poses in scene 2 are amazing. Every one of them has a beautiful line of action and drips appeal. The dialogue is not particularly juicy from a content or emotional standpoint, but we instantly like this cricket because he exudes charm and friendliness. The drawing and motion add enormously to what's in the voice track here.
The crane shot from the wishing star to Gepetto's workshop is straight out of German Expressionist film of the 1920's, using spatial continuity to imply a connection between things. Here, the two brightest spots on the screen are the star and Gepetto's window and the camera has told us that one will have an affect on the other.
In general, the use of the multiplane and other camera moves in this sequence makes the world feel large. The camera and we are exploring the space along with Jiminy. This sense of scale wasn't common in short cartoons and it literally took the creation of oversized artwork to make it work.
The effects animation is very rich. Shadows, dust, heat distortion and glows are present. The backgrounds are very detailed and Gepetto's workshop is stuffed with visual interest.
In the first five minutes of the film (including credits), we've been introduced to a character we like and a world that charms us visually. These days, many films feel the need to start off with an action sequence so that the audience doesn't get bored. In 1940, there was time to seduce the audience, letting us get to know a character before the plot kicks in. If nothing else, we know that Jiminy is important and someone we have to pay attention to.
UPDATE: In comments, the spectre pointed out that I had mis-identified effects animator John McManus as Dan MacManus. The correction has been made in the mosaic.