Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pinocchio Part 6

A couple of notes on the draft. The effects animator on shots 3 and 35 is listed as Struther and Struthers. It's probably Sandy Strothers. Also, the effects animator listed as Case in shot 13 is probably Brad Case, but Alberto Becattini doesn't list him as being at Disney this early. I'm not aware of another Case who might fit the bill.

While the draft lists 1.01 to 1.06 as separate shots, they are continuous in the film. My assumption is that it was easier to treat it as sections in terms of assigning the work.

That opening shot, craning from the church bell tower down through the town and ending on Gepetto's door is similar structurally to the first shot of the story proper, where the camera cranes from the wishing star to Geppetto's house. That first shot spatially connects the star with occupants of the house, declaring the connection between them. This shot connects the world with the occupants and the second act will be all about how the world affects Pinocchio, Geppetto, Jiminy and their relationships.

The shot also mirrors the characters on Geppetto's clocks, but these characters are real and less predictable than Geppetto's mechanical creations. If those clocks are facsimiles of real life, we discover when Geppetto leaves Pinocchio at the world's mercy that Geppetto is as much a facsimile of a real father as Pinocchio is of a real boy. Geppetto witnessed Pinocchio playing with fire and knows of his son's lack of worldliness, yet he gleefully sends Pinocchio off to school, dancing back into his house, oblivious to the monstrous wrong he's just committed.

Jiminy is nowhere to be found either, so Pinocchio goes into the world unarmed. Everything in the second act will flow from these opening moments.

Geppetto in this sequence is all Babbitt's. Babbitt's animation is warm, showing Geppetto's pride in his newfound son. The dancing scene is particularly effective, though it has to be viewed ironically in view of what follows.

Milt Kahl and Les Clark handle the bulk of Pinocchio. Clark's Pinocchio has a less appealing face. The features don't generate the appeal that other animators are able to get. Shots 15 and 30 are typical of the problem. When Pinocchio's cheeks are not cutting into the bottoms of his eyes, the eyes tend to look vacant. Clark also draws Pinocchio's eyes more round than oval, which doesn't help.

Don Lusk and Lynn Karp get the best Figaro scenes here, even though Eric Larson gets a scene.


Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

I wouldn't be too hard on poor Les Clark, Mark. His scene of Pinocchio letting Geppetto 'have a look at him' and the skipping scene are the two I remember best on this character from this sequence.
I took out my original post since I thought Lynn Karp was a female animator; his real name was THEODORE Lynn Karp and here is a link to find out more about him.

Mark Mayerson said...

I've expressed a lot of admiration for Les Clark for his work on shorts like The Little Whirlwind and The Symphony Hour. I agree that the shot of Pinocchio spinning around is a great gag. However, I think that Clark didn't really have the hang of drawing Pinocchio's face at this point in the film. Just as there are certain positions you don't want to draw Mickey in, I think that Clark drew Pinocchio's eyes in ways that don't flatter the character.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm not very keen on the way Les Clark draws Mickey's snout. I can't quite put my finger on it, but the way it connects to the rest of his head doesn't look quite right, and not as appealing as some of the other animators' drawings.

I too thought Lynn Karp was a woman for a long time. I guess if he had been, we'd have heard more about "her" because for a woman to be an animator was such a rarity at the time.

Nancy said...

A good assistant could correct something as minor as a change in Pinocchio's eye shape. Clark's scene was apparently considered okay. Anyway, part of the charm of a hand drawn cartoon is the slight variation between artists' rendition of a character. It makes it seem more like a work of art, not a machine made product.

PaulBunyan said...

Most of the comments are about the animators. I appreciate being able to know which layout artist worked on which scene. Thanks for including this information.