Showing posts from October, 2021

A Year in Shorts Day 365: "The Tell-Tale Heart"

Well, we made it. The 365th day in a Year in Shorts. And it seems oddly fitting that our last shot will also be our ( actual ) last UPA short. Before I started this blog, UPA was not really an animation studio that I spent much time considering. Oh sure, I was aware of them. But I never really paid them that much attention, or considered the impact they had on the world of animation as a whole. That started to change the first time we covered them, just four days shy of an entire year ago, to the point where I now consider myself a pretty big fan! And so let us bring things full circle, and close out a Year in Shorts with their 1953 short, The Tell-Tale Heart. (via Wikipedia) Released in 1953 and directed by Ted Parmelee, The Tell-Tale Heart is (obviously) adapted from the short story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe, although the more cultured among you might better recognize it from the "Squeaky Boots" episode of SpongeBob . Strangely enough, 1953 saw the release of a

A Year in Shorts Day 364: "Madame Tutli-Putli"

They say nothing is scarier than the unknown. I’m not sure if I’m inclined to agree with them on that- surely bears are scarier?- but I understand the sentiment. How could I not? I’m a senior in college, facing down the barrel of true adulthood. That’s pretty scary. And who knows what the future holds for us in The Great Oscar Baiter? And perhaps scariest of all- what the hell is Madame Tutli-Putli actually about? Frankly I don’t know. But I know that it’s scary as hell! (via TV Tropes) Directed by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, Madame Tutli-Putli is the final film released by the National Film Board of Canada we'll be covering in our Year in Shorts. (Considering the fact that tomorrow is the last day of our Year in Shorts, I'm confident I haven't made a mistake this time!) Released in 2007, this stop motion follows the titular Madame Tutli-Putli as she and all her worldly belongings take a train voyage to... somewhere. Already this short is starting off on the r

A Year in Shorts Day 363: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse"

The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has not been adapted into film too many times, but he’s had decent success at the Academy Awards. Fredric March won his first Oscar for playing the role, and the Spencer Tracy film managed to score some nominations a decade later. At the same time, films featuring the titular duo don’t have as much success- The Pagemaster didn’t get any awards traction, and don’t even get me started on the unforgivable lack of nominations for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s up in the air if the inevitable film adaptation of the hit (?) Broadway musical will be an awards contender, although hope certainly springs eternal. Still, the balance is weighted in the favor of yes when you consider today’s short, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse. And if you’re STILL not convinced that today’s short is sufficiently Halloween-themed, it’s certainly the scariest thing I can think of- our final Tom and Jerry short! (via IMDb) Desp

A Year in Shorts Day 362: "The Lady and the Reaper"

In recent years Spain has taken prominence in the world of animation, perhaps most notably with Sergio Pablos’ Klaus. (If you haven’t seen Klaus, schedule it for this year’s Christmas viewing!) What kicked off this upwards trend, I have no idea. But I do know the first Spanish animated film to receive attention from the Academy was today’s short, Javier Recio Gracia’s The Lady and the Reaper. (via Wikipedia) Released in 2009 and produced by none other than Antonio Banderas, The Lady and the Reaper is the heartwarming story of an old woman who really just wants to die and the damn doctor who refuses to let her. (It makes sense in context, ok?) What follows is a battle of the wills between the confident doctor and the easily frustrated Grim Reaper, who engage in a sometimes literal tug-of-war with the woman's soul. Like a lot of the shorts we've covered the past couple of days, The Lady and the Reaper combines an old school sense of humor with modern animation styles. (I swea

A Year in Shorts Day 361: "The Chicken from Outer Space"

I might have to turn in my millennial card for this, but I have never watched an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog. I know, I know, I’m sorry! Just wasn’t something that got much play in my house growing up. Still, I do know a very important piece of Courage trivia- did you know that before it got turned into an animated series, its pilot was an Oscar-nominated short? Yes folks, 1996 saw the release of The Chicken from Outer Space, and with it, the birth of an animated icon. (via TV Tropes) Directed by John Dilworth, The Chicken from Outer Space follows what I must assume would go on to be a typical premise for the series, with a strange monster arriving at Courage's farm, and said cowardly dog trying to protect his owners from the threat. Created for Cartoon Network's What a Cartoon! Show, the short was meant to act as a pilot for the series which followed. So hey, it was successful in one front at least. (I'm still unsure as to how television animation is eligible

A Year in Shorts Day 360: "This Way Up"

There’s a lot to be afraid of this Halloween- evil clowns, zombies, dentists who offer to buy back your candy- but is there anything scarier than death itself? Well, it depends on who you ask. Peter Pan, for instance, would call death an awfully great adventure. And I think Adam Foulkes and Alan Smith might agree, if their 2008 short This Way Up is anything to go on. (via IMDb) Despite being a relatively well seen short by our standards, there really isn't a lot of information available about This Way Up, aside from the fact that it's British. And really we could figure that out from watching it. (It's got a very British sense of humor.) The film follows a father/son pair of morticians as they struggle to transport a coffin to the graveyard after their hearse is crushed by a falling boulder. Their misadventures lead them across the countryside, with their woes growing more ridiculous and more dangerous with every twist in the road. There really isn't much more to it t