Commentary &Disney &Frame Grabs 02 Apr 2013 03:29 am

The Golden Touch

GoldTouch1With Snow White in the back of his mind, Walt Disney placed close attention to what was going on at his studio. He had to be completely aware of his artists’ abilities in how they’d be able to handle the task of creating strong emotions in animation, something that wasn’t too risky on a Mickey Mouse cartoon, but might prove difficult when tackling tears for the climactic moments of a feature about a realistic looking princess and her prince.

GoldTouch2The Golden Touch was a task given to his two best animators, Fred Moore (who animated all of “Goldy”, the elf who bestowed the magic touch on the king,) and Norm Ferguson (who animated all of the king and his black cat.)

Walt Disney gave himself the task of directing the film. This would be the last screen credit he would ever get for direction. After the film was completed, Walt admitted that the film was “a real stinker.”

This film was the first to use extensive use of dialogue throughout. When Billy Bletcher was recorded as the voice of King Midas they filmed him reading the lines with his lips painted white so that the animator, Ferguson, could easily work with the frame by frame study. The film does get a bit talky.

Other critics have given it as negative a review as Disney gave himself. I actually like a lot of it. The animation throughout is interesting. Neither animator has found a positive character, but both bring a peculiar touch to the two protagonists. “Goldy” is one of the creepier characters ever in a Disney film. Fred Moore gave an indication of how odd the seven dwarfs could have been. The king is very similar to “Old King Cole” done only a year earlier in 1933. He looks and acts similar, although the animation is tighter and more experienced.

I think the backgrounds in “The Golden Touch” are spectacular and well designed, color-wise. The art direction is first rate, as might be expected. The watercolors of the castle and its surroundings are beautifully painted. Even though cross cutting between the king and “Goldy” the variation in backgrounds isn’t jarring but firmly appropriate. “Goldy” has a bright gold color behind him, the king remains has gold behind hi until he returns to reality, now with Gold’s magic touch. Then he gets the blueish-gray of the castle as his Bg color.”

Artistically the film is very rich, as might be expected of any “Silly Symphony” of this period. Handsomely produced, of course.

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The End

Finally, here is a video representation of the Silly Symphony in motion.

6 Responses to “The Golden Touch”

  1. on 02 Apr 2013 at 8:47 am 1.Jason said …

    The world is a strange beast Michael. I just showed this one to Hugo two days ago! He loved it so much we watched it 3 times in a row. Now we’re watching “The Grasshopper and the Ants” over and over and over…

  2. on 02 Apr 2013 at 10:37 am 2.Thad Komorowski said …

    I never had a real problem with this one, and actually quite liked it as a kid. The main flaw is its bloated length. A bit of self-indulgence on Walt’s part, especially compared to THE BAND CONCERT, WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?, and some of the other Mickeys that year, which are just perfect in every way. That petrified cat always spooked me too…

  3. on 02 Apr 2013 at 10:55 am 3.Steven Hartley said …

    Norm Ferguson didn’t animate all of the King. Fred Moore animated the sequence of King Midas enjoying the Golden Touch power and prances around the castle, and also animated the shot with the Grim Reaper…(I love the animation where he pantomimes a cut throat) but yeah, Ferguson did most of the animation, of course.

  4. on 02 Apr 2013 at 7:53 pm 4.Kevin Hogan said …

    This cartoon, for me, falls in the strange category of being one that I personally like, but I agree with Disney that it was not very good.

    There is just an overly conscious feel to the animation- As if the Ferguson and Moore, as well as Disney, were all too aware of how important the cartoon was as an experiment. King Midas’ actions feel calculated and forced.

    Still, I like it. I like how this cartoon feels different from other Silly Symphonies (the talky nature of it). However, I think I like the cartoon because it feels different and not because it is particularly good.

    … On a completely different subject, Disney/ Pixar has announced “Finding Dory”. Pixar has officially jumped the shark…

  5. on 04 Apr 2013 at 6:38 pm 5.Roberto Severino said …

    My knowledge about Disney, especially the Silly Symphonies cartoons, is pretty limited in comparison to what greats like you and Thad know and there are probably a lot of original shorts I haven’t seen. I think I recall watching this cartoon once. Thanks to these great drawings, I might as well watch it again. I had more exposure to Tex Avery/MGM and Warner Bros. cartoons growing up to be honest, but TV Disney work made long after the Golden Age, like Darkwing Duck and shows like that I used to watch all the time.

    Corrected email – Michael

  6. on 05 Apr 2013 at 9:05 pm 6.Mark Sonntag said …

    Walt was a consumate storyteller and I think this one falls short simply because it’s purely a morality play with a very unlikable character carrying. Anyone could have directed it and I don’t think it would have been any better. Midas just doesn’t stand up as an interesting character, he’s quite one dimensional.

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