Friday, July 02, 2010

Dumbo Part 11

How many elephants in a pyramid? In shot 1, there are eight elephants standing around the ringmaster. In shot 4, there are seven around the ringmaster. In shot 23, the pyramid consists of six elephants. In shot 40.1, there are eight elephants in the pyramid. In shot 41.1, there are seven, as there are in shot 51.1. All of this takes place before they trip over Dumbo and scatter, so the number should be consistent.

Hugh Fraser does excellent work in this sequence. He manages to capture the drawing and the personalities of the elephants in a manner consistent with Bill Tytla's work. He does that while dealing with multiple characters whose weight must be animated believably or the sequence loses its effectiveness. Shot 10.2. gets even more complicated with one of the elephants being swung towards and away from the camera, adding a size change to the rest of the difficulties. While Fraser has Tytla's work as a template, the animation challenges here are possibly greater than Tytla's with the same characters.

Warren Schloat, Ed Dunn, Van Kaufman and one of the Patterson brothers (the draft doesn't specify if it is Ray or Don) handle similar shots, but they don't have to deal with dialogue or personality.

Due to the action, I'm guessing that the elephants often had to be animated on a single level of paper. That makes timing and revisions extremely difficult. Timing is critical to the portrayal of weight, so I'm sure the animators had to plan these shots very carefully. Make no mistake, the pyramid and its collapse is a very difficult animation challenge.

Howard Swift handles the ringmaster for the most part and does it well. Looking at this, I wonder if he animated the sleeping ringmaster in the previous sequence. The ringmaster reacting in shot 42.1. by Ed Dunn is definitely inferior quality, with the ringmaster coming to a dead hold before dropping off screen.

John Lounsbery animates Dumbo and Timothy. His drawing is very appealing. He captures Dumbo's cuteness and panic equally well. Dumbo's stumble and fall in shot 51 is beautifully done and is worth studying single frame.

And "Out of my way, assassin!" has to be one of the greatest lines of dialogue ever.


Eric Noble said...

I love this scene in the movie. The elephants are done so perfectly. Knowing all the work that had to be done and seeing the result makes me respect the animators of this film more and more. Thank you for posting these.

Steven Hartley said...

The elephants are really well-animated in this sequence, and I couldn't have a clue who animated them, and wonderful animation are Hugh Fraser, Warren Schloat, Van Kaufman, etc.

However, on the 'PATTERSON' credits, I think that its pretty much Ray Patterson animating the elephants, and if you think it through. This sequence is directed by Norm Ferguson and laid out by Ken O'Connor and both (Fergie and O'Connor) worked on the Fantasia segment, Dance of the Hours, and Ray Patterson is credited on animation on that segment, so I think its pretty likely for it to be Ray instead of Don Patterson who did the Casey Junior animation.

Steven Hartley said...

I heard today that very sad news is that Cinderella actress, Illene Woods has passed away, may she rest in peace!

Anonymous said...

There are some other continuity errors in addition to the number of elephants- while building the tower, an elephant is near dropped and when she is pulled back into frame the silk on her back has changed colors.

Zartok-35 said...

I'm with Hartley. It's deffinatley Ray Patterson, couldn't be Don.

John V. said...

Verna Felton sounds very Queen-of-Hearts-like when she says the "assassin" line.

I think you're mistaken about shot 23 - if you look closely you can see a third elephant standing on top of the Matriarch, hidden mostly from view by the other two. Notice also that the Ringmaster mentions "seven jungle giants"... so shots 1 and 40.1 will be the ones with the mistakes.

Also, in the previous sequence the Ringmaster says "seventeen elephants". I wonder if they were ever intending there to be seventeen in this sequence?

Oh, regarding the Pattersons - if you're going by sequence director there's a bit of a problem, as although Ray Patterson (and Grant Simmons) worked for Fergy on Fantasia, the sequences they are confirmed as working on in "Dumbo" were directed by Bill Roberts.

Steven Hartley said...

On my website, Blabbing on Arts and Culture!

I've wrote a long article about the 'Pyramid Act', and I've wrote what I've thought about the unidentified 'PATTERSON' scenes, of who I thought it was! My personal thoughts!!

Please check it out!!

Anonymous said...

Where did you get those screenshots? From a YouTube video or an HD version download?

Mark Mayerson said...

The images are from one of the Dumbo DVD releases.