TELL TALE HEART
a guest Dec 16th, 2018 97 Never
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- I'm someone with a heavy bias towards limited animation, the idea of conveying so much more with so little drawings will always be the coolest shit to me. The UPA style interests me for that very reason too! Even if Idon't know that much about it.
- It's a different kind of limited that's for sure, it isn't as wild or bombastic as Kanada-school animators. Where the low drawing count accentuates dynamic poses and wild FX animation. The UPA style had it's own quirks, less concerned with full animation and more focused on making simple and memorable designs. From Micheal Barrier's book, Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in it It's Golden Age:
- "They inclined more and more to the idea that the boundary between characters and background paintings should be erased... the likeliest effect would be to elevate design—the overall “look” of a film—and thus the designers, at animation’s expense."
- Erasing the boundary between the character and the background led to designs that were more abstract and stylized, while still feeling like natural extensions of the setting. Compared to the more common approach of more detailed designs clashing with the backgrounds, resulting in a lack of harmony between the character and the world.
- Most staffers at UPA were former Art Directors and BG artists at Disney who left after the Disney Strike of 1941, which was the catalyst for the creation of the studio. The UPA style was born out of rebellion against Disney's fuller animation and intricate backgrounds. The staff at the studio still carried the Disney ambition however, they wanted to show that there's more to conveying a characters thoughts and feelings in animation through just character acting alone.
- While the backgrounds in Tell Tale Heart are telling (heh.) the story. The few bits of animation, handled by ex-Disney animator Pat Matthews, captures the narrator's guilt-filled decent into insanity with the already abstract backgrounds degrading into puddles, tying into the Old Man's heartbeat being shown as drops of water slowly beginning to quicken as the scenery becomes more and more abstract.
- The stills of the officers are absolutely haunting. They still maintain a casual tone while their eyes bore into the narrator. We rarely see what the cops look like as their faces are obscured by the dark, but their gaze is omnipresent. This transition is my favorite part of the short as it's expertly directed thanks to Ted Parmelee's storyboards. The flexibility of the setting and the characters, prioritizing symbolic imagery to put you in the character's shoes..
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