Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pinocchio Part 7A

I don't mean to let so much time pass between posting the mosaic for a section and the commentary, but things do get in the way. If you're looking for the mosaic for part 7, you can find it here.

There is some confusion here as to credits. I have listed Tom Oreb for scenes 42 and 43, but I was browsing through Jack Kinney's book and he mentions a Frank Oreb. I'm pretty sure that I've got the credit wrong and the scenes belong to Frank. I also made that mistake for section 1.6, scene 42. My apologies.

On page 27 of the original edition (and maybe later editions) of Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, there are drawings of Jiminy at the bottom of the page that Frank and Ollie credit to Ward Kimball. These drawings appear to come from scenes 41 and 42. However, the draft says that these scenes are by Milt Kahl. In this case, I have no idea who is right.

Finally, there's been debate about Shamus Culhane's animation of Honest John and Gideon. Culhane is not credited for any scenes here, but his assistant Norm Tate is. On page 193 of the hardcover of Talking Animals and Other People, Culhane prints a drawing that looks like it should be from scene 19. However, it doesn't match the finished frames. Pinocchio is picking up an apple, not his book as in Culhane's drawing, and Honest John's pose is similar, but not exactly the same. This doesn't really do anything to clarify the situation, as there's no way of knowing how much of Culhane's work survives in the final animation. I should also point out that Marvin Woodward is credited with Pinocchio in this scene, so Culhane would not have done that character in any case.

I took Les Clark to task in Part 6 for how he drew Pinocchio's face when he wasn't smiling. Marvin Woodward has similar expressions in scenes 16-19 and 22 and makes Pinocchio's face more attractive than Clark was able to. I'll be curious to see if Clark has any later Pinocchio scenes and whether or not he got more comfortable with drawing the character.

This is the first sequence of the film where layout was supervised by Ken O'Connor. While there have been bravura crane shots earlier in the film, O'Connor is much more aggressive in his use of camera angles in shots that include character animation. Preston Blair does scene 53, a high angle shot of three characters singing and dancing. The numbering of that shot is so out of whack with the surrounding shots that it appears that the shot might have originally been the climax to the sequence. Hugh Fraser and Phil Duncan animate the low angle scene 27 and Sam Cobean does the worm's eye and bird's eye views of scenes 30 and 31. I don't envy the animators on those shots as the drawing challenges are tremendous. I'll bet that a lot of profanity was aimed in Ken O'Connor's direction by these four animators.

Animation wise, this is another sequence where there is relatively little animator consistency. Each character is handled by multiple animators, sometimes in consecutive shots. When I look at a sequence like this, there's no question in my mind that the acting had to have been worked out before the animators started drawing or the characterizations would not be consistent. This sequence introduces the fox and the cat, so it's not like the animators had another sequence to refer to. Whether it was Disney himself, the board artists, the character layout artists or directors Luske, Sharpsteen or Hee, somebody (or everybody) had to nail down the performances or they would have been all over the map. As good as the animation is here, the animators didn't make the major contribution to the performances.


Stephen Worth said...

The Disney drawings in Culhane's book were not vintage drawings. They were drawn on vintage paper, but they were done for the book.

See ya

Anonymous said...

I don't think Jiminy in scenes 41-42 really looks like Kimball drew him. Kimball has a distinctive style and that isn't it.

As for Tom or Frank Oreb - another question is, what did he animate? Pinocchio? The flower?

I agree with you on the inconsistency of animator casting - it's like every scene of Honest John and Gideon is by a different animator. Culhane/Tate tends to give Honest John a shorter, thicker nose than most other animators but I'm not sure if that's even consistent either. It's also strange to see Jiminy animated by Kahl, Moore, and Cobean (and a rare example of Woolie's animation in the first half of the film)

Didier Ghez said...

I just learned that Frank Oreb was Tom Oreb's older brother and assistant to Dick Huemer for a while (interview of Eric Larson by John Culhane).

Liimlsan said...

As I understand it, this scene was heavy with live-action reference.

Culhane I don't believe much of his finished animation ended up in the film. Most of his surviving work seems to be on the Barroom scene. (He also drew all his illustrations in 'Talking Animals' specifically for that book; I know for a fact that that drawing from 'Swing, you Sinners' wasn't the one they used in the film. They have all the crudeness and blockiness of his later drawings.)

He does, however, draw the fox with simple shapes, marionette-like hands, and a short muzzle (he states that Ferguson had to fix an earlier model with a long muzzle, and if there's anything I learned, it's that junior animators who idolize their seniors will take one of the man's ideas a little too far.)

I'd credit it to Ward Kimball, seeing as how it has Milt Hands and Ward timing. I can't see Ward cautioning Milt on timing the scenes, but I can effortlessly imagine Milt, in his supervisatory pomposity, giving Ward layout drawings and tests. Now it makes sense.