Animation Artifacts 10 Sep 2006 09:03 am
– In 1942 Paul Grimault released an animated film entitled Les Passagers De “La Grande Ourse.” The film had actually been completed in 1939 and titled Gô in the Birds, but because of the outbreak of WWII the film suffered setbacks and was released in 1942 with the new title.
Several years ago, John Canemaker gave me a gem of an attractive little book that was illustrated with images from the film. Grimault was the father of French animation, and I’d always assumed that this film was a feature. In fact, it was a nine min. short, but it was important historically because it was the first big French animated production trying to out-Disney Disney.
The story is very unlike American films. There’s a fanciful sense of imagination that is true of many French cartoons. In summation the story is:
A little boy and his dog sneak into a shipyard and are grabbed by a crane which places them on a ship in dock, loading. This ship, “The Grand Ourse,” is an oddity in that it is fitted like a zeppelin with balloons to lift it into the air.
Boy and dog arrive in their compartment, accidentally, as the vessel starts to take-off into the sky. Adventures ensue with the boy and dog confronted by a restive eagle and a deaf and dumb robot
Here are some of the pages of the book:
A carbon copy of the credits for the film was enclosed within the book when I received it.
It was copied onto one of those pieces of paper that could only be European, sort of a tissue that seemed delicate.
That’s attached to the left.
(Like all images on the page, just click any of them to enlarge to a legible size.)