Sunday, August 31, 2008

101 Dalmatians: Part 16A

In this section, the pups and their parents spend some quiet time together before Horace and Jasper arrive to resume the chase. The Colonel, Captain and Sgt. Tibbs delay the Baduns, but are not capable of stopping them.

As Peter Emslie points out in the comments to Part 16, the delaying action gives the Colonel his brief moment in the sun. He finally gets to take action. It's an important moment because it shows that Tibbs and the Captain respect the Colonel for valid reasons and they're not simply indulging him. The story forces limitations on how successful the three can be, though, so as not to distract from the main characters.

This is a sequence which is pretty much cast by animator. Frank Thomas has a major hand in animating the dogs, especially the adults. Blaine Gibson contributes some animation to Pongo and Perdita. Hal King takes care of the personality close-ups of the puppies while Ted Berman gets the their long shots. John Lounsbery animates the Colonel in addition to some scenes of the Baduns. Cliff Nordberg animates Tibbs. Julius Svendsen continues to animate the Captain.

The first part of the sequence is low key, bringing down the tension and the action in preparation for the long chase to come. Frank Thomas is the right choice to animate the dogs here as what's needed is a stong feeling of warmth between the parents and the pups. Once Horace and Jasper arrive, the chase is back on and with the exception of the upcoming sequence with the cows, the tension continuously rises from here until the climax of the film.

Pongo's snout is something that should have been better defined on the model sheets. Frank Thomas draws Pongo with a prominent bump on his snout. Other animators who handle the character treat the bump differently.
Frank Thomas

Eric Larson

Milt Kahl

Watching this sequence (and the entire film) closely, you run across all kinds of cheats. Here's a detail from shot 54 animated by Dan MacManus. Perhaps this was a stop motion model shot that was rotoscoped, but in any case, Horace and Jasper could use some more detail.
If you think it looks bad here, imagine how it looks on a theatre screen.

Shot 63, with pups sliding on the ice, has the animation and the pan done on two's and there's noticeable strobing as a result. There are also continuity issues. When the Captain is about to kick Jasper in shot 45, he has his left rear leg raised. But when he kicks Jasper in shot 46.1, he does it with his rear right leg. I wonder if this a mistake or if someone decided it made for clearer staging?


Andrew Leal said...

Not surprisingly, you're bang on about the Baduns' vehicle, Mark. Illusion of Life (p. 330) shows that they used models of the cars (built by animator Dick Lucas), with heavy black lines for that "drawn" look. The text claims that for at least some shots of Cruella's car, they made photostats of the model, cut out and pasted to cel, and xeroxed, but for other sequences (the book specifically shows the car crashing into the van driven by the Baduns), they just filmed the models being moved by hand and then presumably rotoscoped.

Oswald Iten said...

Practically all of the shots with the Baduns sitting in the moving car seen from the outside (5.9, 14.20 for example) are "animated" this way with the cutout/stopmotion figures with heavy black outlines. They are recognizable for sure, but in most of the shots the Baduns are colored very dark to appear as a silhouette, so the cheating is not noticed as easily. In shot 53.1 of this sequence we certainly look to Horace so we don't notice lifeless Jasper inside the car.
I don't think that in the shot on the bridge silhouettes would have worked because of the continuity cut (Horace would pop up immediately). But I also wondered why it was decided that it wasn't necessary to really animate them here.

I like your comparison of the different animators' Pongos very much. This is the kind information one could only get from your mosaics!
Even as a child I always preferred Frank Thomas' snout version (of course I had no clue who did it and why it changed throughout the film).