Sunday, October 03, 2010

Dumbo Part 24

Finally, Dumbo triumphs and shows his worth.

Note the large gap between shots 3 and 18. The missing shots that are on the draft are all of the clown fireman arriving and preparing to fight the fire. The Disney studio wisely decided not to delay Dumbo's triumph any more than necessary. Now that the audience knows Dumbo can fly, they are waiting to see the secret revealed and wonder how it will affect Dumbo's life.

The idea of the magic feather is frankly hokey, but it serves an important storytelling purpose. It's a convenience for the film makers, as Dumbo should not believe in the feather as he didn't have it before waking up in the tree. It's more logical to believe that Dumbo's "magic feather" should be alcohol. However, because the audience knows Dumbo can fly, there would be no suspense in this sequence without some way to cast doubt on his eventual success. As Dumbo believes in the feather and he loses it during his descent, the audience is left guessing what will happen.

The wind and siren sound effects during Dumbo's fall from the building are very effective in ramping up the suspense. Note also the airplane sound effects when Dumbo pulls out of the dive. Logically, the sound makes no sense but it is emotionally right.

Dumbo's shadow, which showed he could fly in the last sequence, is once again an important storytelling device as his shadow moves over the ringmaster and the crowd.

It's a little surprising how much Dumbo goes after the clowns compared to the elephants. The clowns were insensitive and ignorant, but the elephants knew full well what they were doing.

This sequence feels somewhat truncated. Once Dumbo takes his comic revenge on his tormentors, there's really nothing left for him to do. There's one more short sequence to wrap up a loose end, but the story is effectively over here.

The layouts for camera moves in this sequence are very effective, both during the fall and after. The moves add to the sense of urgency during the fall and afterwards bolster the gracefulness of Dumbo's flight.

The stand-out animation here is by Les Clark. His work on Timothy during Dumbo's descent is excellent and it's a shame he doesn't have more footage in the film. Grant Simmons and Ray Patterson do the clowns here, though humour comes from the clowns' humiliation, not their planned antics. Walt Kelly returns for a couple of ringmaster shots. It's a shame that some of the shots are uncredited, especially Dumbo's machine gunning the peanuts at the elephants.


Daniel said...

It's a great scene full of suspense. Interesting stuff in these drafts. These are invaluable.

Steven Hartley said...

Here's my tips:

This is the only sequence that credits Ray Patterson fully and earlier on in the sequence "Fireman Save My Child" and you only used "PATTERSON" and while Ray animated clowns in this sequence and it means that Ray Patterson animated the clowns all along, am I right?

Also in scene 56 when Dumbo loops and flies upside-down, wouldn't his hat just fall off and Timothy would fall to his death??

I wonder why the drafts have names not mentioned and I'm guessing that Les Clark did some of the Dumbo flying stuff and Berny Wolf did a bit more animation!

Anyway, I like this sequence and Bill Roberts (or John Elliotte) direct a climax sequence and I like how the scenes of Dumbo loosing the feather and almost falling to his death and that he was close of being hit by the plaster and it gets closer and closer!!

Eric Noble said...

Wonderful draft. This is truly the great emotional release of the film. After all of the pain and anguish we have seen Dumbo go through, we finally see him triumph. It was done beautifully.

It's a real shame that much of the animators credits are lost. I like to give credit where credit is due.

Zartok-35 said...

Shot 46 is animated by Paul Murry, I think. It's one of the animators from shot 21 at the start of the Crow sequences.

Michael Sporn said...

Your comments are, if anything, worth even more than your Mosaics. And, believe me, your Mosaics are a treasure.

I'd spent a lot of time with Snow White this past weekend. I went to check out soemthing on your Mosaic of the film, but had forgotten that you hadn't done one for Snow White. I made me work harder (which probably wasn't a bad thing.)

Everything you have to say about Dumbo is astutely considered. Thank you.

Jenny Lerew said...

Elegantly and astutely written as always-I second Michael Sporn's comments.

I have no trouble at all with Dumbo's credulity re: the magic feather because he's presented in the story as such a young child-practically a toddler, a baby. Everyone can relate a child's not being able to do something-all hard evidence to the contrary-if they lose their confidence. The "I think I can" refrain carries over from Casey Jr.'s scene and is perfectly believable imho where it matters in the climax-especially as it's done here, as you point out.

As for Dumbo being harder on the less nasty clowns-good point. I'd suggest the clowns are used as scapegoats for the much-worse elephant matrons; given the general anthropomorphization of the elephant characters, a "little boy" walloping some older "ladies" the same age as his own mother could be felt as distasteful(no matter how much they deserve it). There might have been some story discussions and concern about losing an ounce of audience sympathy for little Dumbo in his hour of triumph.