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Added by Andy Goulding on 18 Nov 2014 10:33
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1001 Animated Shorts You Must See - Part 8

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People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 0
DIR: Len Lye

SUMMARY: An abstract film in which a series of figures in motion are scratched directly onto film stock, accompanied by the music of .

WHY IT'S HERE: Len Lye's 'Free Radicals' is a fascinatingly effective study in rhythms and movement. Deprived of a soundtrack, 'Free Radicals' appears to be nothing more than a series of scratchy lines wiggling around the screen but when these images are combined with the drum music of the Bagirmi tribe of Africa, suddenly 'Free Radicals' comes vividly to life. Created by scratching film stock with various different kinds of needles, 'Free Radicals' is a mesmerising 4 minutes. It's amazing how fluidly the lines move and how perfectly Lye has made them compliment the musical accompaniment.
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DIR: Bill Melendez

SUMMARY: When Charlie Brown finds himself depressed despite the onset of the Christmas holidays, Lucy suggests he direct the school Christmas play.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' is one of the most beloved animated shorts of all time and a staple of US TV schedules. While the 'Peanuts' characters are popular in the UK, for some reason this Christmas special has never been given much airtime, unlike in America where it is an annual tradition. The first of a very successful string of 'Peanuts' TV shorts which spanned decades (and also spawned four feature length films), 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' sets up the template for the series, with the distinctive phonetically-read dialogue by its child voice stars, its deadpan, melancholy tone and the brilliantly captured slapstick antics of Snoopy. Charles M. Schulz's original source material transfers perfectly to the screen (Schulz wrote the screenplay) and is perfectly directed by Bill Melendez, who directed the bulk of the 'Peanuts' shorts as well as providing the sounds for Snoopy. The package is topped off by Vince Guaraldi's exquisite jazz score, including such memorable tracks as 'O Tannenbaum', 'Christmas Time is Here' and the immortal 'Linus and Lucy', which would become the piece of music most associated with the 'Peanuts' television specials.
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People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 4.1 IMDB Rating 0
DIR: John Hubley, Faith Hubley

SUMMARY: Two little boys go on a midnight adventure to try and capture a Moonbird.

WHY IT'S HERE: In 1959, John and Faith Hubley's 'Moonbird' was the most experimental film yet to win the Oscar for Best Animated Short. The soundtrack of this ten minute short is based entirely around a conversation between the Hubley's infant sons, which their parents secretly recorded. The soundtrack captures the improvisatory imaginations of two children as they hunt for the Moonbird of the title and the animation style captures this off-the-cuff feel perfectly. Scrappy, transparent characters against a dingy, dark background act out the fantasy, taking the limited animation style that was then in vogue to new extremes. In an industry in which the big name character were winning the Oscars (the last five years had seen two wins for Mr. Magoo, one for Sylvester and Tweety, one for Speedy Gonzales and one for Bugs Bunny), 'Moonbird' opened the door for more experimental animations to claim the prize and this was reflected in subsequent winners.
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People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 0
DIR: Ivo Caprino

SUMMARY: When Mr. Fox dies, Mrs. Fox is visited by three suitors.

WHY IT'S HERE: Ivo Caprino's way with storytelling continues to make him popular in Norway, although on its initial release this wonderful fairy tale film was not a success and Caprino had to fund him passion with advertising projects. It was worth the sacrifice, for 'The Fox's Widow' has become a legendary short in Norway and beloved of anyone who is lucky enough to discover it. On a less epic scale than his previous 'Ash Lad and the Good Helpers', 'The Fox's Tale' tells its modest story of kindness being rewarded with wonderful economy. The woodland setting is beautiful and the animal characters animated with verve.
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People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 0
DIR: John Hubley, Faith Hubley

SUMMARY: Two construction workers at the bottom of a hole discuss the possibility of nuclear war.

WHY IT'S HERE: The winner of the 1962 Best Animated Short Oscar was again John and Faith Hubley. Like their previous winner 'Moonbird', 'The Hole' takes the recording of an unscripted conversation as its soundtrack. This time it was an improvised discussion between Dizzy Gillespie and George Mathews in the roles of two construction workers. Their trivial chatter about dancing and washing-up soon turns to the subject of nuclear weapons. 'The Hole' employs the same minimal, transparent-character animation as 'Moonbird' but takes a more downbeat subject matter for its theme. It was likely this subject matter that won it the award, given the reality of the Cold War that America was facing up to at the time. 'The Hole' is a fine piece of work but perhaps a little overlong at 15 minutes. The conversation is interesting and amusing but becomes a tad monotonous after a while. The Hubley's would go on to make better shorts in this style but 'The Hole' is still well worth seeing for its historical significance and the continued development of the Hubley's experimental style.
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People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.9
DIR: Claire Parker, Alexander Alexeieff

SUMMARY: An adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's short story about a man who wakes up without a nose.

WHY IT'S HERE: Claire Parker and Alexander Alexeieff's 'The Nose' is an adaptation of the absurdist comic short story by Nikolai Gogol in which a man awakes to discover he no longer has a nose. It helps a great deal to have read this short story in advance of seeing this adaptation, otherwise you're likely to find yourself completely lost. Even having read it, it is clear that Parker and Alexeieff have gone for a dreamlike evocation of the source material rather than a straightforward retelling. This has the effect of retaining the grotesquery but losing much of the original story's humour, with Hai-Minh's haunting musical accompaniment further pushing this surreal farce into the realms of melancholy nightmare. Parker and Alexeieff use the same astounding pinboard animation here as they did in their classic 1933 film 'Night on Bald Mountain'. Nearly 30 years on, the effect is still astonishingly timeless and 'The Nose' is a captivating oddity of 60s surrealism.

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DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Bugs Bunny finds himself in a spooky castle where his host is a shape-shifting vampire.

WHY IT'S HERE: Chuck Jones's last original Bugs Bunny cartoon, 'Transylvania 6-5000 ended their association on a high and remains one of Bugs's most famous cartoons and one of the most acclaimed of the 60s Warner Bros. cartoons. This is the one where Bugs stays the night at Count Blood Count's castle where he reads a book on magic incantations. When the Count tries to drink his blood, Bugs is able to use the phrases 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Abracadabra' to transform himself or the Count into various other forms. These exchanges are witty and progress with a comedic logic that is entirely satisfying ('I'm a vampire', 'Oh yeah, well abacadarbra, I'm an umpire'). As a final cartoon for the director who gave him so many of his finest and most famous moments, 'Transylvania 6-5000' sees Bugs on top form.
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People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 6.7
DIR: Jan Lenica

SUMMARY: A winged man in search of a better life finds himself in a large, unfamiliar metropolis.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Labyrinth is Polish director Jan Lenica's masterpiece of satirical foreboding and comic grotesquery. Lenica had made several films previous to this (often collaborating with Walerian Borowczyk) but in 'Labyrinth' all the best elements of these previous works come together to make a truly great and unforgettable film. Lenica draws on influences from Greek mythology, Aldous Huxley, Franz Kafka and George Orwell to create a terrifying urban nightmare. At first the city of labyrinth seems appealing to the winged hero and he cheerfully discards his wings, satisfied that he has found a better life. But the attractive architecture turns out to be just a façade, behind which lurk evil creatures and victims who are more than happy to remain in that role. The hero is chased, threatened, kidnapped and scrutinized before his final attempt at escape. The world of 'Labyrinth' is beautifully realised with Lenica's trademark cut-out animation and the nightmare is brought to life with vivid energy and layers of symbolism.
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People who added this item 67 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
DIR: Friz Freleng, Hawley Pratt

SUMMARY: The Pink Panther gets into a battle with a little white man over what colour to paint a house.

WHY IT'S HERE: The first Pink Panther cartoon and the one we always wanted to come on TV as kids, 'The Pink Phink' pits the Pink Panther against the Little White Man, who is trying to paint a house blue while the panther wants to paint it pink. His stealthful endeavours to turn everything pink are expertly directed by the old master Friz Freleng. Produced by the DePatie-Freleng company that made all the original Pink Panther shorts, 'The Pink Phink' won the Oscar for Best Animated Short. The series was based on the character who appeared in the opening and closing credits of most of Blake Edwards's 'Pink Panther' films starring Peter Sellers. The character proved enormously popular in these segments and a series was inevitable. 'The Pink Phink' remains the Pink Panther's most popular cartoon, although he was nominated for another Oscar two years later for 'The Pink Blueprint', essentially an inferior retread of this short.
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DIR: Walerian Borowczyk

SUMMARY: A semi-abstract film, which provides a glimpse into a nightmarish factory the purpose of which is unclear.

WHY IT'S HERE: Walerian Borowczyk's 'The Games of Angels' is one of the most viscerally unsettling pieces of surrealist animation I've ever seen. Beloved of Terry Gilliam, who rated it as one of the greatest animations of all time, 'The Games of Angels' is a slow moving, eleven minute glimpse inside a strange factory which seems to be processing or dissecting angels. Disembodied wings are seen oozing and faceless figures are seemingly decapitated but all this is done with the passionless indifference of a processing plant. The accompanying cacophony of organ music somehow makes the whole thing even more unsettling, its insistent blast evocative of religious corruption when paired with the theologically unsettling imagery. 'The Game of Angels' has been seen as a concentration camp allegory (making it remarkable trains-eye-view opening even more unsettling) and an indictment of the oppressive regimes that Borowczyk had had to endure as a Polish citizen. Only one thing is clear here; something very sinister is going on and the inability to pinpoint exactly what that is, coupled with the fact that no-one involved seems to be reacting to it in any way, makes the whole film even more eerily effective. While I don't pretend to be able to offer any great insight into the meaning of 'The Games of Angels', it is undoubtedly a quite brilliant piece of work which stirs up the most uncertain emotions in its viewers. Walerian Borowczyk would soon abandon animation to make a series of explicit live action sex films. Often referred to as an artist who happened to be a pornographer, Borowczyk's shift to live action of any kind was animation's loss.
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People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
DIR: Jiri Trnka

SUMMARY: An artist who wants nothing more than to make clay pots for flowers is bullied into making sculptures of a giant hand that invades his world.

WHY IT'S HERE: Many artists dream of their final film being their definitive statement but Czech animator Jiri Trnka is one of the few who achieved this feat. Trnka's final film before his death, 'The Hand', is undoubtedly the man's masterpiece in a career that took in many great shorts and feature films. Trnka's immediately recognisable style of fixed-expression puppets who convey everything through their incredibly expressive movements suits this allegory of government repression perfectly. The story is told impeccably across its 18 minutes and emerges as one of the most powerful symbolic anti-establishment statements ever put on film. Amazingly, 'The Hand' slipped by uncensored on its original release but after Trnka's death several years later the Soviet-controlled government of Czechoslovakia banned the film, a ban that went unlifted for over two decades. Seen today, 'The Hand' is still as powerful and sadly relevant as ever and remains one of the greatest animated shorts of all time, receiving much well-deserved acclaim and providing a perfect finale for the career of one of animation's most original talents.
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DIR: Clyde Geronimi

SUMMARY: When its traffic problems get out of hand, the city of Anyburg puts a series of automobiles on trial in judicial court.

WHY IT'S HERE: Disney's 'The Story of Anyburg U.S.A.' was an early example of a cartoon tackling the dangers of the growing number of cars on the road, a subject which became popular in animation in subsequent years in shorts like Halas and Batchelor's 'Automania 2000'. However, 'The Story of Anyburg U.S.A.' examines the problem from a different angle, lamenting not the excessiveness of automobiles on the road but the culpability of drivers themselves in accidents. The clever concept places the cars themselves on trial, with a not guilty verdict being passed by virtue of the jury being made to realise that cars are only made into dangerous weapons by mankind's irresponsibility. 'The Story of Anyburg U.S.A.' criticises drink driving, speeding and carelessness behind the wheel, with a particularly effective scene seeing apparently normal people convicted of motoring offences morphing into deadly killers wielding weapons.
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People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
Steal Wool (1957)
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Ralph Wolf once again tries to remove Sam the Sheepdog from his post defending the flock.

WHY IT'S HERE: The fourth in Chuck Jones' series of Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf cartoons, 'Steal Wool' sees the format for the series fully established, with the Road Runner-style spot-gags being bracketed by the famous sequences in which the two characters clock in at the beginning and end of the day. This couches the whole cartoon in different terms and contrasts the usual character and visual comedy with a satirical comment on the working man. At the end of the cartoon, a beaten and bruised Ralph stumbles home with his off-duty friend Sam, who offers to fill in for him the following day and cover both roles. One can only imagine the cartoon that would have resulted if Jones had followed up on this concept!
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.1
Scat Cats (1957)
DIR: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

SUMMARY: When Spike is put in charge of the house while his owners are out, her must prevent a gang of cats from using it as a venue for their party.

WHY IT'S HERE: With Hanna-Barbera's Tom and Jerry series winding down, the pair experimented with spinning off some of the other characters. In 1957 they made two cartoon starring Spike the bulldog and his son Tyke, who had acted as an effective foil for the cat and mouse duo in several classic shorts. After the first of these cartoons, 'Give and Tyke', it became apparent that this duo did not have the star quality to carry a whole series. Nevertheless, the second cartoon 'Scat Cats' is interesting in that it also features Butch and his alley cat friends, who played regular supporting roles in Tom and Jerry cartoons too. The simple premise of Spike guarding the house against the cats attempts to enter and have a wild party essentially plays out like a weaker Tom and Jerry cartoon and Tom could easily have been substituted with any of them to the same effect. Ultimately, 'Scat Cats' is a so-so experiment which is worth seeing for any fans of classic animation interested in seeing supporting characters given their 15 minutes of fame.
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People who added this item 70 Average listal rating (53 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8.1
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Daffy Duck attempts to prove to Porky Pig that he is in fact Robin Hood but the pig remains mockingly skeptical, driving him to ever greater heights.

WHY IT'S HERE: One of the great classics of animation, Chuck Jones's 'Robin Hood Daffy' is a sumptuous and hilarious short from the late era of Warner Bros. cartoons. Based on the glorious Warner production 'The Adventures of Robin Hood', 'Robin Hood Daffy' combines subtle character comedy and broad slapstick with an astonishingly perfect balance. The famous "buck and a quarter quarterstaff" scene that opens the film is the finest example of this. Daffy's wild thrashing around is punctuated by his quiet run through of how the routine should go as he takes time out to establish just where he went wrong. It's a classic scene with some terrific animation as the chortling Porky Pig defeats Daffy Duck at a duel with very little effort. Compare this scene and the laughing fits that the characters break into afterwards with the same scene from 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' and it becomes even funnier as you realise how close to the source material it actually is.

There are plenty of other classic moments in 'Robin Hood Daffy' ("Yoiks and away"), each punctuated by the frolicking image of the weary traveller that Daffy is attempting to rob obliviously passing by the latest scene of Daffy's humiliation. Apart from the gorgeous layouts, the brilliant gags and the wonderful performance by Mel Blanc, 'Robin Hood Daffy' is also notable for how Jones uses the characters, particularly Porky Pig. Porky had long been a straight man whose star billing was contradicted by the way his co-stars upstaged him. Relegating Porky to supporting player breathed new life into him and, as is the case with all Jones's Porky and Daffy genre parodies, Porky excels himself. His laidback, overly-jolly friar is the perfect foil to inspire escalating frustration in Daffy as he tries in vain to prove he's Robin Hood, never thinking to just point out one of the many Wanted posters bearing his image. 'Robin Hood Daffy' is an exceptional piece of work that everyone of a certain age remembers fondly. It's another in an extraordinarily long line of Chuck Jones classics.
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DIR: Bruno Bozzetto

SUMMARY: An ironic look at the history and evolution of weapons down the centuries.

WHY IT'S HERE: Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto is one of my absolute favourites and I generally find something to like in almost all his work so we'll be seeing a lot of him on this list, starting with his debut short 'Tapum! The History of Weapons'. Establishing Bozzetto's simple but enormously effective cartoony style (although it would evolve beyond the sometimes excessive simplicity utilise here), 'Tapum! The History of Weapons' also establishes his penchant for satirical wit and black comedy. This fun trawl through the history of man-made arms is bitingly amusing and contains a message that was becoming prevalent in its era: that sometime soon mankind could develop a weapon that will blow us all right back to the stone age.
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DIR: Yevgeni Raykovskiy, Boris Stepantsev

SUMMARY: A modern telling of the Little Red Riding Hood story.

WHY IT'S HERE: This 18 minute featurette from Soviet studio Soyuzmultfilm (the company responsible for such great Russian animated features as 'The Lost Letter', 'The Humpbacked Horse', 'The Snow Queen' and, decades later, 'Mystery of the Third Planet) has the distinctive look and style of Russian animation of its era. Realistic children taking part in a famous fairy tale was par for the course for Soyuzmultfilm but 'Petia and Little Red Riding Hood' subverts this slightly by way of Tex Avery and Buster Keaton. The little boy Petia accidentally steps into the cinema screen which is showing 'Little Red Riding Hood' and becomes entangled in the story. Since he knows the plot already, he is able to help out in defeating the wolf. Ultimately, when the day is won, Petia is able to step down from the screen as the end credits appear, relieved as he states that his mother will be waiting for him at home. A prestige and attractive work, 'Petia and Little Red Riding Hood' is just one of many gems waiting to be discovered by a larger audience.
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People who added this item 43 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
DIR: Hamilton Luske

SUMMARY: In this educational film, Donald Duck visits the fantasy world of Mathmagic Land where he learns much about mathematics.

WHY IT'S HERE: Disney's 'Donald in Mathmagic Land' is one of the studios most popular of its many educational films and it's not hard to see why. This half-hour featurette sees Donald Duck wandering into Mathmagic Land where he encounters the Spirit of Adventure (voiced by Paul Frees). Donald is dismissive of mathematics at first but the Spirit takes him through a series of lessons which shows how all-encompassing its influence is. A Donald Duck cartoon attempting to make learning fun may sound patronising and dull but Disney were always great at sneaking learning into broadly entertaining material and 'Donald in Mathmagic Land' does that brilliantly. Although it uses maths as its subject, the cartoon touches on all sorts of related areas such as history, literature, sport, architecture, art and the human body. It crams an unbelievable amount into its relatively short timeframe. 'Donald in Mathmagic Land' also combines live action and animation beautifully, particularly in a great sequence in which Donald plays billiards, using maths to improve his game. A consistently popular short that has transcended its educational intentions by virtue of its high entertainment factor, 'Donald in Mathmagic Land' is a superb short which was nominated for a Best Documentary Short Oscar but lost to 'Glass', Dutch director Bert Haanstra's film about the glass industry in the Netherlands.
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People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5
DIR: Walerian Borowoczy, Chris Marker

SUMMARY: A man builds a spaceship in his garage and takes it for a flight round the city and then into space.

WHY IT'S HERE: Polish director Walerian Borowoczy's early animated films largely consist of surrealist imagery created through stop motion animation of real life images and cut-out shapes. Unsurprisingly, Terry Gilliam cites Borowoczy as a big influence and that is perhaps clearest from the whimsical caper 'Les Astronautes', a film co-credited to Chris Marker but which was reportedly mainly Borowoczy's work, with Marker lending his name to the project to help acquire funding. Unlike the impenetrable 'Dom' which Borowoczy made in collaboration with his Polish contemporary Jan Lenica in the same year, 'Les Astronautes' actually has a coherent plot, even if it is told by way of many surreal sidestreets. Following the adventures of an amateur inventor as he takes his new spacecraft for a spin, 'Les Astronautes' has a revolutionary feel in its animated innovation; a subversive bent in its whimsical hat-stealing and lady-peeping antics and a genuine warmth in its amusing jokes, which counterbalances the cold, drained colours of the imagery and surprises anyone who may equate experimentation with po-facedness. 'Les Astronautes' is a confounder of expectations and a wonderful gem of late-50s experimental animation.
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.7
DIR: Frantisek Vystricil

SUMMARY: Two figures fight to obtain a place in the sun, as opposed to the cold area outside of its rays.

WHY IT'S HERE: Frantisek Vystricil's 'A Place in the Sun' is a Czech film that, along with 'Munro', became the first nomination from outside the USA and Canada. 'A Place in the Sun is a wonderful little tale about two people battling for a place in the direct sunlight, even though there is room for two. Depicted in a simple line drawing style but with inventive use of colour and space, 'A Place in the Sun' is the sort of indictment of selfishness in favour of eventual unity that often catches the Academy's eye. Something of a rarity, 'A Place in the Sun' is well worth tracking down for its cheerful simplicity and message which make it a lovely bitesize treat.
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DIR: Bruno Bozzetto

SUMMARY: Mr. Rossi buys a film camera in an attempt to make a masterpiece and win an Oscar.

WHY IT'S HERE: Italian director Bruno Bozzetto's most famous creation was Mr. Rossi, a small, unlucky everyman character who first appeared in a series of seven shorts between 1960 and 1974. Rossi became more popular over the years due to his subsequent trio of feature films which were often shown chopped up into TV episodes but while these more child-friendly features were entertaining, the original 10 minute Rossi shorts have a satirical bite and a progressively darker tone that makes them more fascinating. The first of the Rossi shorts, 'An Oscar for Mr. Rossi' is a lighter satire on filmmaking and the only short in which Rossi is depicted as having a wife. It sees Mr. Rossi taking up amateur filmmaking in an attempt to receive critical acclaim. The process of making a film is enjoyably deconstructed in a series of scenes but the big laugh comes at the end, in which Rossi exhibits his film and is thrown out of the festival. In a frustrated rage, he sabotages his own film reels, at which point the mangled film is accepted and acclaimed as an art-house triumph. With the fashion in animation turning towards the abstract, 'An Oscar for Mr. Rossi' was one of the earliest satires on the emptiness of some of the lesser art films doing the rounds. It beat Mel Brooks's similarly themed Oscar-winner 'The Critic' to the screen by three years.
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People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7
Goliath II (1960)
DIR: Wolfgang Reitherman

SUMMARY: Goliath II is a six inch high elephant who is a disappointment to his father. In constant danger from the tiger Raja, Goliath II must keep his wits about him in order to survive and prove his worth.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Goliath II' is a 15 minute Disney featurette about a small elephant proving his bravery exceeds his physical size. It's a simple story charmingly told, although the main function of 'Goliath II' was to test out the new, cheaper technique of xerography, using Xerox technology to transfer animation drawings to cels instead of hand inking. It was less expensive to test this process out on a short than on a feature, so 'Goliath II' became the guinea pig, although as an entertaining little fable it works nicely and managed to get itself Oscar nominated, testament to Disney's expertise at producing quality almost instictually. Disney were making more interesting shorts around this time but the quality of 'Goliath II' still shines and much of the character animation was reused in 'The Jungle Book' for the elephant parade. I also recognise some moments that seem to have been reused in 'The Sword in the Stone' as well.
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People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.6
High Note (1960)
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: A drunken note on a stave threatens to ruin a piece of music for all the other notes.

WHY IT'S HERE: Director and animation god Chuck Jones kept innovating to the last. While most of the Warner Bros. directors were, by this time, sinking into predictable, lower quality work, Jones's unit were still turning out really creative, unusual shorts. 'The High Note' follows a group of musical notes as they set up their stave and take their places for a performance of 'The Blue Danube'. But one wayward note has gone off to get drunk. The subsequent attempts to get the inebriated note back in his place features incredible transformations of recognisable musical symbols into various props and characters. It's a wonderful piece of work.
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People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.9
DIR: Rene Laloux

SUMMARY: A surrealist nightmare about an evil dentist, based on the drawings of patients from a psychiatric clinic.

WHY IT'S HERE: French director Rene Laloux, who went on to make such acclaimed feature animations as 'Fantastic Planet' and 'Time Masters', was working in a psychiatric institution when he made this early short. The story and design was created in collaboration with the patients of the institution, although it's surrealist, melancholy style is in keeping with many experimental films of the time. The story of a dentist who steals the teeth of his poorer clients, 'Monkey's Teeth' features all kind of strange plot twists, some of which seem symbolic and others of which just seem randomly generated. The bicycling monkey who appears throughout the film in the background ultimately proves to be crucial to the plot, having seemed like just a surrealist appendage for most of the runtime. Laloux has crafted a fascinating, nightmarish short out of the psychiatric patients ideas and its simple, sketchy design, slow-moving pace and green faced main character immediately bring to mind David Firth's brilliantly freakish internet cartoon series 'Salad Fingers' from several decades later.
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People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
DIR: Ivo Caprino

SUMMARY: Ash Lad tries to build a flying ship for the King in order to win the reward of half the kingdom and the princess.

WHY IT'S HERE: An animation celebrity in his native Norway, where his brilliant 1975 feature animation 'Pinchcliffe Grand Prix' became the biggest box office hit the country had ever seen, Ivo Caprino is sadly little known elsewhere. This is a tragedy, as his magical stop-motion puppet films are instantly appealing to all age groups. Tapping into a classic folk-tale atmosphere, 'Ash Lad and the Good Helpers' is a fifteen minute gem which follows the adventures of the titular Ash Lad in his flying ship. The puppets are wonderfully life-like and the sets are incredible, creating the illusion of epic scope in miniature. Caprino's direction is exquisite, brining the tale to life effortlessly in a way that pre-empts his astonishing work on 'Pinchcliffe Grand Prix', which is still a regular Christmas favourite in Norway, as are Caprino's preceding shorts. I urge any animation fan to go out and discover him for themselves.
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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.7
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck encounter an over-friendly giant snowman who wants a pet rabbit who he can love and hug and call George!

WHY IT'S HERE: By the 1960s Warner Bros. cartoons were showing a noticeable decline in quality but Chuck Jones continue to fly the flag for both innovation and straight forward laughs. 'The Abominable Snow Rabbit' very much falls into the latter category. It was the last of Jones's Bugs and Daffy shorts (and the last original Chuck Jones short to feature Daffy at all) and kept up the quality established by the likes of 'Ali Baba Bunny' and 'Beanstalk Bunny'. Another highly quotable cartoon, this is the one about the large snowman who wants a pet bunny to hug and stroke and call George! In an extension of the jokes from Jones's Hunting Trilogy in which Bugs convinces Elmer that Daffy is all manner of other animals, here Bugs continually dupes the snowman into thinking Daffy is a rabbit and that Bugs isn't, resulting in smothering cuddles that are hardly preferable to the gunshot blasts Daffy received in the previous cartoons.
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
Munro (1961)
DIR: Gene Deitch

SUMMARY: A rebellious four year old boy is accidentally drafted into the US Army but no-one seems to notice.

WHY IT'S HERE: Gene Dietch's 'Munro' became the first animated short made outside of America to win the Oscar. The witty tale of a four year old boy who is accidentally drafted into the army, Dietch's simple but incisive style perfectly complements Jules Ffeifer's script, which he described as depicting 'the obvious abuse and ignorance of authority' in a quiet way that brought audiences along with it, rather than ramming the message down their throat. 'Munro' is a brilliantly subversive little short.
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People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Surogat (1961)
DIR: Dusan Vukotic

SUMMARY: A man goes on a trip to the beach where everything turns out to be inflatable.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'The Substitute' (aka 'Ersatz' or 'Surogat') is a Yugoslavian film featuring a little triangular man who lives in a world where everything he needs is inflatable, from sunbeds and food to human beings and scenery. It's a very odd but captivatingly absurd cartoon with a strong UPA influence and an amusing line in slapstick. After 'Moonbird' and 'Munro' won the previous two years Oscars and pushed more experimental animation to the forefront of public consciousness, 'The Substitute' emphatically continued this trend by beating three Warner Bros. shorts and one Disney. All four of these shorts were well below par, especially when compared with the lively invention of 'The Substitute', which flew the flag for the modern approach among the fading stars of the traditional theatrical animated short.
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DIR: Bob Godfrey

SUMMARY: A mock advert for the Do-It-Yourself Cartoon Kit, which allows amateur animators to make cartoons in their own home.

WHY IT'S HERE: One of my favourite shorts by animation legend Bob Godfrey, this early animation by the great man is a hysterically funny satire on advertising in which a crude, cut-out animation of an announcer (voiced by ex-Goon Michael Bentine) guides viewers through the exciting new product, The Do-It Yourself Cartoon Kit, which allows amateur animators to make cartoons in their own home. As he outlines the contents of the kit, they constantly change and become more ridiculous and excessive, as does the price, the method of order and the address you have to write to. The animation technique seems like an obvious influence on Terry Gilliam's animations for 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' and the style of humour seems like it may have influenced the Pythons themselves. It's a very British absurdist short that I've loved since I first saw it.
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 6.2
Alfa Omega (1962)
DIR: Bruno Bozzetto

SUMMARY: A concise depiction of the trials and influences a man contends with over the course of a lifetime.

WHY IT'S HERE: With the brilliant 'Alfa Omega', Bruno Bozzetto encapsulates his cynical view on life in just eight minutes. Working with an ultra-simplistic character design, the line drawings utilised here are clearly a stylistic choice in keep with the simplified representation of the grand scheme of things that Bozzetto successfully manages to depict. The choices a man has to make throughout life are depicted in a series of beautiful symbolic sequences, broken up by images of the man winding his brain with a large clockwork key. Ultimately, he comes to regret some of his choices and in his last years, before his brain explodes into a mess of twanging springs, he makes a small, symbolic gesture to try and put things right. 'Alfa Omega' is Bozzetto's cleverest short up to this point (although it does feature a questionable view of women as emasculators and gold-diggers) and he would take a step away from this sort of philosophical piece for the next half decade to work on a handful of Mr. Rossi shorts and his first feature, the Western parody 'West and Soda'.
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 3.6 IMDB Rating 4.3
DIR: George Dunning

SUMMARY: A surrealist depiction of a man who takes off his clothes and begins floating above the ground.

WHY IT'S HERE: George Dunning became famous in the late 60s as the director of the brilliant Beatles film 'Yellow Submarine' and his early 60s experiment 'The Flying Man' is a good indication of why Dunning was the ideal choice for that project. Running at a scant 2 minutes, 'The Flying Man' depicts just that. A man enters, takes off his clothes and begins flying. The arrival of another man walking his dog distracts him and he comes back to the earth to reclaim his clothes, freshly mangled by the dog. When he has left, the other man removes only his hat and attempts to fly. Frustrated in his attempts, he kicks his dog. 'The Flying Man' may not be much plotwise (there seems to be a glib message about shedding your inhibitions somewhere) but it is well-worth seeing for its astonishing technique. Dunning has rendered his animated moment in very light watercolour brush strokes and the result is mesmerising, giving the merest suggestion of the characters and their actions.
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People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
Now Hear This (1962)
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: An examination of sound effects courtesy of a British gent who swaps his ear trumpet for the Devil's horn.

WHY IT'S HERE:As a youngster I always eagerly looked forward to a Warner Bros. cartoon coming on TV but I was always disappointed when the opening titles featured, in place of the classic concentric circles, the angular, modern titles that became synonymous with the deeply inferior, latter day Warner shorts. These jutting triangles, accompanied by an ugly re-imagining of the Merrie Melodies theme, almost always signified the arrival of a dreaded Speedy and Daffy cartoon. However, there was always the slimmest of slim chances that you might luck out and instead be rewarded with Chuck Jones's 'Now Hear This'.

'Now Hear This' was the cartoon which first introduced the modern title sequence which would go on to be defiled by the Depatie-Freleng monstrosities. The most abstract cartoon Warner Bros. ever released, 'Now Hear This' is a clear forerunner for any number of surrealist animations from 'Yellow Submarine' to Bob Godfrey's superb 'Do-It-Yourself Cartoon Kit'. Having experimented with just about ever visual and narrative device available, with 'Now Hear This' Jones turns his attention to sound. The visuals here are minimalist, with highly stylised characters performing against a backdrop of nothingness. The cartoons begins with a frustrated devil searching for his missing horn (he wanders through the opening credits, showing a demonic contempt for convention). The horn is discovered by a stuffy English man (recognisable as English by his monocle and moustache even before the confirmation of a 'Keep Britain Tidy' sign and a burst of the British national anthem) who swaps his battered old ear trumpet for this new discovery. Thus begins his descent into aural hell! There is very little logic to the events of 'Now Hear This' but the images flow so beautifully that questioning them seems churlish. The impeccably chosen and synchronised bursts of sound (courtesy of genius sound man Treg Brown) are at once extraordinarily disturbing and this eerie edge to the cartoon cannot have escaped the attention of children's programmers since 'Now Hear This' was rarely seen on kid's TV. It is far more akin to the sort of cartoon I used to discover on TV at about 1am and then be haunted by for weeks for some indistinguishable reason. Like all such cartoons, 'Now Hear This' is utterly compelling and unpredictable. Testament to Chuck Jones's ongoing crusade to keep imagination alive, 'Now Hear This' is both a visual and aural treat.
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DIR: Bill Justice

SUMMARY: Professor Ludwig von Drake presents a series of songs in popular styles, all of which he claims to have invented.

WHY IT'S HERE: Disney's 'A Symposium on Popular Songs' is a 20 minute talk by Ludwig Von Drake (a marvellous character) in which he takes us through a series of styles of popular music of the 20th century, all of which he claims to have invented. Ludwig's sections are the parts that resemble classic Disney but they are broken up by stop-motion and cut-out animated music videos for each song he introduces. Unlike previous Disney winner 'Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom', there is no educational element to 'A Symposium on Popular Songs'. Instead, it's simply about having fun with the various song styles and lots of different animation styles. It culminates in a hilarious parody of rock 'n' roll in which Ludwig actually humps his guitar!!!
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DIR: Gene Deitch

SUMMARY: A mock educational film on how cowards can defend themselves against the threat of violence.

WHY IT'S HERE: Gene Dietch's fantastic 'Self Defense... for Cowards'. is an hysterically funny, mock slide-show presentation about various ludicrous ways to defend yourself against bullies. 'Self Defense... for Cowards' has a wonderfully dry voice over narration and Dietch's simple visual style makes the most of every laugh available. Plus some of these defence tactics might actually work! For anyone who only knows Dietch as the man who made some seriously messed-up Tom and Jerry cartoons, this is as good a place as any to discover his other wonderful work.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
The Game (1962)
DIR: Dusan Vukotic

SUMMARY: Two live action children become embroiled in a game of one-upmanship through their drawings.

WHY IT'S HERE: Dušan Vukotic's 'The Game' (aka 'Igra') is an inventive combination of live action and animation in which two children, a boy and a girl, turn an innocent drawing session into all out war when they begin to create pictures whose only purpose is to destroy the other's drawings. It's a fun, well-executed idea and has a superbly dark ending but it's too padded out with images of the devious poppets mugging for the camera when more focus should be placed on Vukotic's amusingly primitive animations. Still, it's well worth seeing for its wonderful premise and visual invention. It earned Vukotic his second and last Oscar nomination (after his win for 'The Substitute' two years earlier) but lost to Mel Brooks' 'The Critic'.
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
DIR: Gerald Potterton

SUMMARY: A nervous man becomes trapped in an embarrassing situation while trying to open a bank account.

WHY IT'S HERE: Based on a very witty account of social embarrassment in a bank by humourist Stephen Leacock, 'My Financial Career' is not a particularly well-loved animated short but for me Gerald Potterton's beautifully simple cartoon more than earned its Oscar nomination. The animation (of what little movement there is) and art style are beyond simple and yet they fit the material perfectly, with small grimaces and raised eyebrows reflecting the minutely deconstructed emotions of a man intimidated by the entire institution of banking.
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DIR: Gene Deitch

SUMMARY: A narrator introduces us to the Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit, with which anyone can create their own Tom and Jerry cartoon.

WHY IT'S HERE: When the classic Hanna-Barbera series of Tom and Jerry shorts ended, MGM made the decision several years later to resurrect the characters but every effort was made to cut costs. Ultimately, the job was given to Gene Deitch, the talented director of Oscar winning short 'Munro'. However, Deitch did not want the job, he only took it because he was under pressure to do so and didn't want to harm his career. Ultimately, the possibility of recreating the Tom and Jerry magic was killed by numerous factors. Not only did Deitch dislike the series, calling it excessively violent and racist, but he was also scuppered by extremely low budgets, an isolated Prague location and a team of animators completely unfamiliar with Tom and Jerry. The results are horrible. Creepy, nightmarish and often violent in a brutal rather than cartoonishly harmless way (check out Tom's mean owner in films like 'Barbeque Brawl' and 'Sorry Safari'. If there is one Deitch Tom and Jerry cartoon worth seeing for more than just historical interest, it is 'The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit'. Based around a commercial advertisement for a kit that allows you to make your own Tom and Jerry cartoons (Bob Godfrey's 'Do-It-Yourself Cartoon Kit' immediately leaps to mind), 'The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit' deconstructs the series and takes pot-shots at what Deitch deemed its formulaic structure and throwaway nature. Due to critical and commercial failure, coupled with Deitch's own misgivings, this series of Tom and Jerrys mercifully ended after only 13 cartoons. 'The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit' is a fascinating artefact from this time, brining the series more into line with Deitch's own style and enduring as a fascinating example of a director attacking his own work.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 6.2
DIR: Richard Williams

SUMMARY: A short lecture on the beast known as man.

WHY IT'S HERE: Richard Williams was to become one of the most important, brilliant and acclaimed animators of the 20th century but his story sadly sits under the cloud of the tragic details of his would-be masterpiece 'The Thief and the Cobbler', a feature film he dedicated a lifetime to only to have it taken off him, mangled into something vastly inferior and rush-released in the early 90s, making a mockery of his decades of work. Fortunately, fans of Williams have created what they've called the 'Recobbled Cut' of the film from old workprints, giving a clearer vision of the masterpiece it could have been. Sadly, the experience soured Williams on the industry and for many years he refused to participate any longer in this cutthroat world.

'A Lecture on Man' is a very early Williams film but it neatly illustrates the greed, hostility and idiocy of mankind that Williams would go on to encounter in the animation industry. In 4 minutes, 'A Lecture on Man' offers a Mark Twain-esque portrayal of this ludicrous beast and its follies. The lecture itself is witty and concise, with the animation being extremely crude and minimal but it fits the subject and the result is a lovely little satire that makes a stronger statement about human beings than Williams's half hour debut 'The Little Island' in a much shorter timescale.
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DIR: Walerian Borowczyk

SUMMARY: Monsieur Kabal and his wife stage a concert but it quickly descends into a bloodbath.

WHY IT'S HERE: Walerian Borowczyk's 'Le Concert de M. et Mme. Kabal' is a grotesque, funny and somewhat baffling short which preceded Borowczyk's first animated feature with the same characters, the 80 minute 'Theatre de M. et Mme. Kabal'. At six minutes in length, 'Le Concert de M. et Mme. Kabal' is a more palatable prospect, although 'palatable' may not be a term you regularly see associated with these characters. Borowczyk betrays prominent influences of the Theatre of the Absurd here, particularly Alfred Jarry's scabrous 'Ubu Roi'. The character of Mme. Kabal is particularly memorable; a self-obsessed, towering and incongruously busty grotesque who takes offence at her husband's indifference to her performance to the extent that she dismembers him and throws him into her piano, to the accompaniment of the funeral march. If this grotesque comedy strikes you as funny (and I must admit, in this case, it really does for me) then you'll probably enjoy this curious little short. Whether it prompts you to seek out the 80 minute sequel is another story!

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People who added this item 28 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Critic (1963)
DIR: Mel Brooks

SUMMARY: An abstract film is accompanied by the soundtrack of a confused elderly man's comments.

WHY IT'S HERE: With experimental, abstract or limited animation dominating theatrical bill in the early 60s, Ernest Pintoff's 'The Critic' was a beautifully timed satire. Written and performed by Mel Brooks, 'The Critic' is an abstract display of random moving shapes, the sort of arty cartoon that was appearing before many films of the day. However, we also get a voiceover from Brooks as a baffled 71 year old man who cannot make head nor tail of what's happening or why he has to sit through this to get to the main feature. His rantings are hilarious but the true genius of this 4 minute piece is how it manages to please everyone. Fans of the new animation style could laugh at Brooks' satire of those who didn't get it while those who detested the new style could agree whole-heartedly with the old man's complaints. 'The Critic' still works today since most people are familiar with this sort of arty cartoon, which means it hasn't dated and is still funny. In its historical context, however, 'The Critic' is absolute dynamite.
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People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (24 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.9
DIR: Jan Svankmajer

SUMMARY: Two magicians attempt to outdo each other by performing the best trick before an unseen audience.

WHY IT'S HERE: Legendary Czech animator Jan Svankmajer is one of the most influential and unusual figures in animation. 'The Last Trick', ironically the director's first trick, sees Svankmajer debuting in fine form. The short tells the story of two magicians locked in a game of one-upmanship. The magicians are portrayed by actors with large puppet heads but the tricks they perform give us a first glimpse of Svankmajer's trademark jerky stop-motion technique that makes his films so creepy and memorable. There is less actual animation here than in the average Svankmajer, with live-action and camera trickery playing as large a part as any, but the sparingly used technique beautifully enhances this dark little comedy which ends with a grisly but somewhat inevitable turn of events.
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People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.6
DIR: John Halas

SUMMARY: This satirical take on a public information film examines the history of the car, including the nightmarish result of a future that cannot keep up with public demand.

WHY IT'S HERE: An Oscar nominee for Best Animated Short, this satirical take on a public information film examines the history of the car but gradually builds up from whimsical jokes about oddly designed cars to a nightmare vision of a gridlocked world which cannot keep up with public demand. The shift from spot-gags to dystopian hell is achieved powerfully and the final images are indelibly bleak and brutal, making for a chilling but endlessly entertaining watch. The film has been justifiably lauded for its incisive approach, although it ultimately lost the Oscar to Ernest Pintoff and Mel Brooks' very funny short The Critic.
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 6.7
DIR: Bruno Bozzetto

SUMMARY: Signor Rossi heads out for what he hopes will be a relaxing day at the beach.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Mr. Rossi on the Beach' was Bruno Bozzetto's third Rossi short. Like its predecessor 'Mr. Rossi Goes Skiing', it follows the adventures of Mr. Rossi on holiday and takes the form of a series of gags that build up into a portrait of the nightmarish side of getting away from it all. 'Mr. Rossi on the Beach' is the last of the opening trio of gentler Rossi shorts. Starting with 1966's 'Mr. Rossi Buys a Car' the mood would noticeably darken, with black comedy and satire taking the place of spot gags. This made the Rossi series all the more fascinating, but for some straightforward, well-crafted cartoon fun 'Mr. Rossi on the Beach' is a lovely little short.
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People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 3.8 IMDB Rating 6.4
DIR: Emanuele Luzzati

SUMMARY: A magpie wreaks havoc on the king's hunting party, set to the music of Rosinni's 'The Thieving Magpie'.

WHY IT'S HERE: Italian painter and animator Emanuele Luzzati's 'The Thieving Magpie' is an animated short set to Rosinni's classic piece 'The Thieving Magpie'. A love of classical music probably helps in enjoying the short and its cultural connection probably helped it in obtaining its Oscar nomination. If, like myself, you don't have any particular interest in classical music, there is plenty to enjoy in Luzzati's child-like drawings and the way they are so well synchronised with the music. The story tells the tale of a magpie who manages to make fools of an entire hunting party. Its simple message is well represented by the simple artwork and 'The Thieving Magpie' has an infectious energy that carries it through its ten minutes.
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DIR: Chuck Jones, Maurice Noble

SUMMARY: A line falls in love with a dot but the dot prefers the more anarchic charms of a squiggle.

WHY IT'S HERE: MGM's 'The Dot and the Line' (subtitled 'A Romance in Lower Mathematics'), directed by the ever reliable Chuck Jones, was based on a book by Norton Juster, who wrote the novel that most influenced me as a child, the wonderful 'Phantom Tollbooth' (Jones also made a feature length cartoon based on that book). If you removed the narration from 'The Dot and the Line' it would look like one of those abstract floating shape cartoons that Mel Brooks spoofed in 'The Critic' a couple of years previously. But, with Juster's storyline wonderfully narrated by Robert Morley, it becomes a deeply human story of love and self discovery. From it initial premise of a line that is perceived as too rigid and straight to be of any interest to a dot, to it's brilliant final pun that comes as a result of the line demonstrating that it can do more than just be long and straight, 'The Dot and the Line' is a clever, warm and funny delight.
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DIR: Jean-Francois Laguionie

SUMMARY: When his playing summons up a tempest which sweeps a woman out to sea, a cellist attempts to rescue her from various sea monsters.

WHY IT'S HERE: French animator Jean-Francois Laguionie's debut short 'The Maid and the Cellist' is an artistically ravishing film with a rather uncertain story. A cellist on a Cliffside plays a tune which whips up a storm and sweeps a woman out to sea. The cellist attempts to save her but the two end up at the bottom of the ocean. They seem quite happy there together until they are forced to do battle with vicious sea creatures. Returning to land, they take one look at a beach full of holidaymakers and return to the sea. It's a story with too much going-on and no certain direction. The final anti-consumerist message seems entirely out of place and tacked on. That said, if the storytelling isn't up to much then the art design and gently attractive animation style is well worth seeing the film for and makes it a pleasure throughout.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 3.5 IMDB Rating 6.1
Here's Nudnik (1965)
DIR: Gene Deitch

SUMMARY: Nudnik is an unlucky character for whom nothing seems to go right. In this, his debut short, Nudnik has problems in the kitchen with expanding bread and a flooding sink.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Here's Nudnik', (also known as 'Nudnik #2', although it was the first of the series) was the debut short of Gene Deitch's favourite cartoon creation. The Nudnik series is based around the simplest of premise: a guy for whom nothing seems to go right. From this premise, however, Deitch gets considerable comedic value and pathos. The shorts are dialogue free, with Nudnik's sorry little sigh after something goes wrong being its aural hook. The comedy of Nudnik hinges on things escalating to the extreme. There were some 30 second short Nudnik cartoons but they never worked as well, since it didn't give time for the situation Nudnik was in to get more and more out of hand. 'Here's Nudnik' keeps its situation simple, a small domestic tale, but the frustration and Nudnik's building despair in the face of it take everyday stresses to epic levels. The Nudnik series is actually very sad, as you wonder what it must be like to be that unlucky and can sense the utter defeat in Nudnik's trademark sigh. This original run of Nudnik shorts lasted for 12 episodes but the character was revised for a new show in the 90s.
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People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: Les Clark

SUMMARY: A 15 minute educational featurette in which Goofy plays the roles of three different types of dangerous driver who can cause havoc on the freeway.

WHY IT'S HERE: The popular Disney short 'Motor Mania' starring Goofy as a Jekyll and Hyde style driver had been released in 1950 but fifteen years down the line it was already dated in its depiction of cars and its lack of information about the Interstate Highway System of freeways that began being built in 1956 and transformed the way Americans drive. Therefore, it seemed like time for an update on the subject. Once again, Goofy was used but 'Freewayphobia' took a different approach, being classified as an edicational film and therefore being given double the runtime of 'Motor Mania'. Goofy is used to represent three different types of dangerous driver; the overly timid driver, the impatient driver and the inattentive driver. Through a series of effective vignettes the potential outcome of these driving styles is revealed. 'Freewayphobia' was a very good short and was given a sequel, 'Goofy's Freeway Troubles'. This accounts for the fact that 'Freewayphobia' is sometimes called 'Freewayphobia #1', its original production title.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.8
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Jerry and a grey mouse antagonise Tom by convincing the cat that he is self-harming in his sleep.

WHY IT'S HERE: The idea of Chuck Jones taking over the Tom and Jerry series seemed a lot more promising that the reluctant Gene Deitch's attempts to do the same. However, Jones never really caught the feel of the original classic Hanna-Barbera series and his shorts emerged as a serviceable but largely unremarkable series which just confirmed that rekindling the magic of these classic characters in their heyday was impossible. That said, with 'The Year of the Mouse' Jones made one of the most memorably dark Tom and Jerry shorts ever and it emerged as a superb cartoon. 'The Year of the Mouse' is actually a remake of Jones's Hubie and Bertie short 'Mouse Wreckers from 1949 but surprisingly it improves on the original. While that short had seen two mice convincing a cat that he is going crazy by brutalising him in his sleep, only to have disappeared when he wakes up, 'The Year of the Mouse' sees Jerry and his unnamed friend convincing Tom that he is inflicting harm on himself in his sleep. So after having fired a gun, Jerry places it in Tom's hand so the cat awakes to find himself pointing a firearm at his own head. The pranks continue and get crueller, worsened by the fact that there is no opening provocation on Tom's part. This could be seen as a structural weakness had 'The Year of the Mouse' ended with the mice victorious, as 'Mouse Wreckers' had done. But instead Jones offers us a more satisfyingly just denouement in which Tom turns the tables.
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People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: Jan Svankmajer

SUMMARY: Triggered by the chimes of a cuckoo clock, a series of stones of different shapes and sizes drip out of a tap and begin to interact.

WHY IT'S HERE: Jan Svankmajer's 'A Game With Stones' is an absolutely beautiful animation that may sound boring on paper but when comes to life phenomenally on screen. Each time a cuckoo clock chimes, a tap drips stones into a bucket. This leads to a series of sequences in which the stones come to life and interact with each other. Much emphasis is placed on the contrast between the black and white stones in the initial animation but then the stones begin to form shapes and create recognisable images, or else imitate human actions, such as when one stone eats another with jaws that are both recognisably human and almost tactile in their cold, stony appearance. From this simple premise, Svankmajer creates real magic and not for one second of its eight minutes is 'A Game With Stones' anything but utterly captivating.
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As an animation fan, particularly of the animated short, I have found a disappointing dearth of literature on the medium. Having loved the '1001' series of books, I always hoped that maybe this rich source of filmmaking might be tapped into to produce a book collecting some of the essential animated shorts out there. Finally I thought 'Well, no-one else is going to do it' and decided to put together my own list. Although the complete list is already compiled (but subject to change should new notable animated shorts come out in the meantime), I have decided to publish it in chunks of 50, giving me time to write comments for each title, and so that anyone who wants to attempt watching all the films has time to do so. This is not meant to be a definitive list but a list of 1001 animated shorts that, whether for historical significance, innovation, artistic excellence or just sheer entertainment value, demand to be seen by all fans of this underrated and exceptional medium.

Part 8 covers the years 1957 - 1965 including: the last few classic Warner Bros. shorts as the studio enters its decline; 'Moonbird's Oscar victory marks a shift in popularity towards the minimal and experimental; the Tom and Jerry series changes hands twice to Gene Deitch and Chuck Jones, neither of which quite recover the magic of the Hanna-Barbera shorts; the surrealist shorts of Jan Svankmajer, Jan Lenica and Walerian Borowczyk merge animation and art to visceral effect; Jiri Trnka bows out with his masterpiece 'The Hand'.

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Comments

Posted: 3 years ago at Jul 3 13:18
I thought as a quick go-to list for casual fans I'd also list my ten favourites from each chapter of this list. So here they are in no particular order:

ROBIN HOOD DAFFY
THE DO-IT-YOURSELF CARTOON KIT
A SYMPOSIUM ON POPULAR SONGS
THE CRITIC
LABYRINTH
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
THE DOT AND THE LINE
A GAME WITH STONES
THE GAMES OF ANGELS
THE HAND

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