Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the early links

Left: The Luis Ortiz biography of the Emshwillers referred to in the Carol Emshwiller interview.

Below: From the publisher's note: Carol Emshwiller's fiction has received an NEA grant and a Pushcart Prize, as well as the Philip K. Dick, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. In 2005 she received the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Thanks to all contributors and readers...and I suspect a few more links might be on their way in today...we shall see!

Bill Crider: Mr. Brooks (trailer)

Brian Arnold: comedian John Pinette; Tales of the Tinkerdee

David Schmidt: Curse of the Black Widow

George Kelley: Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Iba Dawson: Rope

Ivan Shreve: Detective Story (1951)

James Reasoner: The Dakotas

Jerry House: An Interview with Arthur Conan Doyle (1927; early sound newsreel)

John Charles: Reel Injun

Juri Nummelin: The Jericho Mile

Lawrence Person: Frankenstein (1910)

Patti Abbott: Love with a Proper Stranger

Randy Johnson: The films of Herb Jeffries

Ron Scheer: Buchanan Rides Alone

Scott Cupp: The High Crusade

Stacia Jones: The Phantom Creeps (cont'd)

Todd Mason: The International Animation Festival (1977-78) and its components; the short films of Ed Emshwiller and an interview with Carol Emshwiller; from Roy Wheldon's musical setting of Rudy Rucker's novel, Like a Passing River (please see below)

Walter Albert: Michael Shayne, Private Detective (1940)

Yvette Banek: The Adventures of Tartu

Related matters:Brent McKee: The US Commercial TV Status Report

Ed Gorman: The Bride Wore Black

George Kelley: Page Eight; The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael
Patti Abbott: Margin Call

Todd Mason:
MaxiCat was a Yugoslav cartoon character who flourished in a series of shorts for television out of Zagreb in the early 1970s; I first came across the cartoons in the thoroughly enjoyable International Animation Festival, aka the International Festival of Animation series on PBS, hosted by Jean Marsh, in 1977-78 (there were two seasons of 13 episodes each).

Sadly, some of the more clever MaxiCat cartoons aren't posted as yet, but perhaps they still exist somewhere. These two aren't bad examples:

And among the other work the Festival introduced many of us to was Munro, which I highlighted previously, and the 1974 short animation Oscar-winner, "Closed Mondays":

Or such National Film Board of Canada productions as "Hunger":

And the Hubleys' charming "Moonbird"

And what might well be the first animated film:

I'm pretty sure I first saw Ed Emshwiller's pioneering animation "Relativity" on the Festival as well, but alas that film doesn't seem to be up, either. But the also pioneering "Sunstone" is:

And "Thanatopsis":

And this study of landscapes and forms and of his wife, the writer Carol Emshwiller (also the film's title; she served as model for so many of the paintings he signed as "Emsh", such as the right-side-up one at the head of this post):

A brief interview segment, featuring Ed Emshwiller and Morton Subotnick:

Ars Electronica 1988 - Morton Subotnick, Ed Emshwiller from ars history on Vimeo.

And an interview with Carol Emshwiller, on her 90th birthday this year, about her work as a writer (and her Collected Stories) and tangentially about her work with her husband:

And, finally this week, the central song from Roy Wheldon's setting of Rudy Rucker's autobiographical novel All the Visions to music, the song "Like a Passing River" (featuring lyrics translated by Gary Snyder from the poet Han Shan):


pattinase (abbott) said...

Mine's up.

George said...

I love the fact that Emshwiller used his lovely wife as a model in so many of his SF illustrations!

Todd Mason said...

And himself, as well, George...the Emshwillers are all over Emsh paintings. If you haven't picked up INFINITY X TWO, you should.

Got it, Patti...thanks.

George said...

I reviewed INFINITY X TWO on my blog when it was first published, Todd. Marvelous book!

Anders Engwall said...

I thought I recognized the style, and sure enough - Zlatko Grgić, the creator of MaxiCat, was also the guy behind the classic children's cartoon PROFESSOR BALTHAZAR.

Here's an example with British narration:


Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Anders...I think I've heard of that, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen it.

Yvette said...

Interesting stuff, Todd. I liked the Moonbird. Loved the way the bird was drawn. There's something very familiar about it.

But most of this is too surreal for me. I just never know what I'm going to find on your blog. :)

Todd Mason said...

The Hubleys' work has been well-regarded for ages, and you might well've seen other films or segments from them. The Emshwiller films are self-consciously experimental, but I think they are engaging, particularly within their brevity...I haven't decided what Ed Emshwiller was trying to suggest by the minute or so of craggy nature in CAROL EMSHWILLER before actually getting to her. And THE INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL definitely lent itself toward the surreal, though by no means exclusively...among the memorable cartoons I couldn't find anywhere were a dance-oriented item set to Astaire's recording of "Puttin' on the Ritz" and a European item called "The Man Who Loved to Sing" which was pretty straightforward, and, as I remember it from 30+ years ago, funny.

K. A. Laity said...

Loads to digest here - sorry I wasn't able to participate but life whirls on apace over here.

Ron Scheer said...

Enjoyed the Ed Emshwiller segment. I have great memories of hearing him talk and seeing the work he was doing back in the early 1970s. Using video the way he did was cutting edge ("avantgarde" or "experimental" was probably the preferred term back then) and so exciting. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

what the hell was the correct title of the animated short about a man (woman?) who planted tree after tree after tree after... beautifully done in a sort of crayon sketch manner? Ring any bells?

Todd Mason said...

Indeed, Kate...no one's seemed to make it to the Wheldon song at the end (kinda slipped in as a coda to Carol E.'s interview).

I'd often wondered why I didn't come across any collections of Emshwiller's films in the VHS era, Ron, despite his influence.

Only the faintest of bells, Rich. I'll ask around and ruminate.

Todd Mason said...


"'The Man Who Planted Trees' (French: L'homme qui plantait des arbres) is a 1987 Canadian short animated film directed by Frédéric Back."


Todd Mason said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzjqptmoEqE if so. Looks like pastels. From the illustrations of a book by Jean Giono.

Yvette said...

I must say Todd, that on musing a bit on MOON BIRD, (loved the little boy voices by the way - perfection) made me think of Gerald McBoing Boing and that whole school of animation - the guys who worked on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show- my memory has done a flop and I can't remember the name of the studio. But jeez, that MOON BIRD animation instantly called their work to mind.

Todd Mason said...

John Hubley helped found UPA, the studio that did Popeye and Hubley's own Mr. Magoo shorts, and among Hubley's students/coworkers over the years were Bill Scott, later of Jay Ward Productions (Crusader Rabbit and their latter-day cousins Moose and Squirrel) and Gary Trudeau...the Hubleys together did the DOONESBURY half-hour as their last project before he died.

Now I need to go find "The Hat," their cartoon based on improvised dialog between Dizzy Gillespie and Dudley Moore.

The Gale Research bio entry: