Saturday, October 01, 2011

Goldie Locks and the Three Bears

(Laugh-O-gram, US 1922) Reissue: The Peroxide Kid (1929) D: Walt Disney; anim: Walt Disney, Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, Carman “Max” Maxwell, Lorey Tague, Otto Walliman; DP: Red Lyon; filmed: ca. 8.1922, Laugh-O-gram studio, 1127 E. 31st St., Kansas City; dist: Pictorial Clubs Inca. of New York (non-theatrical, regional circuit); 35 mm, 720 ft., ca. 9' (22 fps); print source: The Museum of Modern Art, New York. English intertitles. Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone, with e-subtitles in Italian, grand piano: Stephen Horne, 1 Oct 2011.

Russell Merritt & J.B. Kaufman (GCM Catalogue): "This was one of the films discovered by Cole Johnson and David Gerstein at the Museum of Modern Art, hiding behind the unpromising title The Peroxide Kid. In this film the traditional story of Goldilocks and the bears remains more or less intact, but is augmented by a host of imaginative new touches. Among these is a cuckoo clock whose cuckoo performs an elaborate morning ritual before awakening the bear family – and who is then given the additional job of supplying eggs for their breakfast. The bears leave the house, not on foot, but on a bicycle built for five (and equipped with a handy duck, mounted on the handlebars, to serve as a horn)."

"The “mother” character from some of the earlier films is back again in this one, as are the cat and dog, but the star, “Goldie Locks,” is not the generic “girl” character of the other Laugh-O-grams. Instead she’s somewhat taller, and of course has blonde tresses, which fly into the air whenever she registers fright. True to the traditional story, the bears chase her from their home – but, in their defense, her table manners do leave something to be desired."

"It’s worth noting that Walt’s inclination to present scenes of pictorial beauty, along with the laughs – a tendency that would show up in the earliest Silly Symphonies, and would culminate in scenes of breathtaking beauty in such features as Pinocchio and Fantasia – makes a modest appearance as early as 1922, in the opening scene of this film. Here it takes the form of a sunrise effect, as we fade in on a distant view of the bear family’s house in a pastoral setting, long morning shadows stretching across the countryside. In fact, the background paintings throughout the film set a new standard for luxury in the Laugh-O-grams, with a series of handsome landscapes, marked by billowing clouds and distant trees. In later years Hugh Harman credited this scenery to Otto Walliman, an animator who doubled as a background painter – and who may be the object of an in-joke in this film, as the bears perform their morning calisthenics to “Wallie’s Reducing Record”. – Russell Merritt & J.B. Kaufman

AA: One of Walt Disney's very first films. The means of expression are still limited, but there is a nice spirit of humour in the movie. The three bear cubs enjoy a breakfast of pancakes and take a ride in their special bicycle for five. Meanwhile, Goldie Locks wreaks havoc in their house. It's all a dream. The print is nice, not brilliant.

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