Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dumbo Part 10

Another frustrating entry, due to the lack of credits in the second half.

While Woolie Reitherman and Fred Moore have long been credited for their work on Timothy, here we have Milt Neil doing an excellent job. His Timothy is more flexible than Reitherman's and also is timed more quickly. Is Neil responsible for Timothy whispering into the ringmaster's ear? The animation does not suffer compared to either Reitherman or Moore, so if it is Neil it is evidence of another great performer brushed under the carpet.

In particular, I'd love to know who animated Timothy in shot 30. The shape of the character under the sheet doesn't resemble Timothy at all; the body shape is different and the muzzle has disappeared. It's only at the end of the shot, when Timothy's rump and tail are visible, that the character's model is taken into account.

And what about Walt Kelly? Kelly, in his post-Disney comic book and comic strip work (Pogo being the most famous) was one of the greatest cartoonists of the 20th century. (For a look at his rare adventure strip Peter Wheat, go here.) Kelly's work at Disney had a major impact on his drawing style, yet his work at Disney has received relatively little attention because so few of his shots were known for certain. Here, Kelly animates the ringmaster in silhouette, but does he do the ringmaster in bed?

My impression, based on Kelly's animation in cartoons like The Nifty Nineties, is that Disney contributed to Kelly's development far more than Kelly contributed to Disney's, but without a comprehensive knowledge of Kelly's Disney work, that judgment has to remain tentative.

Once again, I have to praise Ed Brophy's voice work as Timothy. I would also point out that his reference to "your subconscious mind" is a fairly early reference to Freud in film. Hitchcock's Spellbound wasn't until 1946. Freud died in September of 1939, so it is possible that obituaries influenced this story point.

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