Monday, January 27, 2014


 RELEASE DATE: Saturday 3rd November 1934

SYNOPSIS: This cartoon tells the ancient tale of Persephone, goddess of spring, who is kidnapped by Pluto, god of the underworld. He takes her to Hades (read: "Hell") where he gives her lots of jewels and tries to make her his wife. When he fails to understand why she's so unhappy, he agrees to let her go back up to the surface (which has become a frozen wasteland without her presence) as long as she agrees to return to him for half of every year.

MALEFICENT: This one is very operatic. Very dramatic!

IRVYNE: It's very different in tone to the other Silly Symphonies, isn't it? It's not "gaggy" like the others. There's no laughs, and you're right, it actually plays out like an over-the-top opera. The Disney villain of the day is none other than PLUTO!

No no no, not THAT Pluto! THIS one!


WENDY: It's an myth about why there's summer and winter. Let's educate the children about the seasons!

SHENZI: It gives winter a bad name!

MALEFICENT: There are some clever designs. I liked the silhouettes and the elevator down into Hades.

IRVYNE: Knowing that the Silly Symphonies were designed to experiment with animation techniques, one of their aims in creating this one was so that they could practise drawing realistically proportioned human characters in preparation for Snow White. You can see that they had a bit of trouble in some parts. In the opening scene for example, you can see that Persephone's limbs are all floppy, they flap all over the place. Apparently after they made this, Walt took note of the areas where the animators were struggling, and brought in anatomy experts to help them out before they went full-steam-ahead on to Snow White.

MALEFICENT: It's a shame that the voice recording of the day wasn't very good. Like, the equipment they used to record it all. The vocals just don't sound very clear, and in a cartoon like this that relies on the operatic voices, it stands out quite a bit.

I did like the floral-ography though. The little flower people and the little demons did some good dancing.

IRVYNE: It looked like they were trying out different methods of animating particles and stuff. You could see a lot of effects animation: leaves, fire, sparks, explosions, etc.

WENDY: This kind of "kidnap the maiden" story has been told so many times though. It reminded me of Phantom of the Opera. He says to her, "Why are you not happy?"
"Because you abducted me and made me your prisoner!!"

IRVYNE: I wouldn't say this is the most enjoyable cartoon, but it's interesting to watch the animators play around with different ideas as they hone their craft. This was probably the most serious cartoon ever made in 1934.

MALEFICENT: We didn't hate it.

PASCAL: Well... I didn't really like it.

HAKU: The character development wasn't great.

IRVYNE: What do you mean? Pluto learned his lesson.

MALEFICENT: And the Goddess of Spring came to a compromise. While she's up on earth she'll be gay. And when she's not gay, she'll be in Hell.

IRVYNE: I think there's something in that for everyone.

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