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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Party in the Forest - by Ring & Rønde 1950

The last two days were all about A/S Nordisk Tegnefilm, mainly because their old premises are just outside my window. I also spoke of Ring & Rønde studios, which were situated first in Arne Rønde's apartment on Vesterbrogade 63 (where we also had our studio just before we started A. Film in 1988, it being the apartment of my business partner Karsten Kiilerich who's father-in-law was Arne Rønde), then finally at Fredensvej 3 in Vedbæk.

I thought it would be nice to see an example of Ring & Rønde's production, so here is the 1950 commercial "Fest i Skoven" (Party in the Forest). Animation by my old mentor Børge Ring, Bjørn Frank Jensen and "grand old man of Danish animation" (sadly more old than grand) Jørgen Myller, who was asked to design the characters, set the colors and paint the backgrounds. Ring and Jensen later went to Toonder in Holland, remember? Here is the film, which I blatantly ripped from a 2007 Danish DVD that everyone should own anyway (though I do not right now recall its title), and color-corrected quite a bit - the original was badly interlaced, so my excuses for the quality.

The rhyme tells of a party in the forest that Mr. Eagle throws to please his children. Carpenter Mr. Woodpecker has to build a house. The original song has a fox and a starling as priest and parish clerk, and it ends with a drunk Mrs. Owl complaining that her days are numbered, but though we see her getting tipsy, we instead focus on Miss Field Mouse (who is not in the original song) who has to do - the dishes. "But who would complain if they could use Imi?" she says.

You will notice several things: first, the quality of animation, timing and general entertainment is much more advanced that done for Allan Johnsen's 1946 film Fyrtøjet (The Magic Tinderbox). Clearly the stork-cook was animated by Ring. The characters around the table were animated quite stiffly by Myller.

[Børge Ring adds: "I animated from the beginning of the film with the eagle at his dressing table until the sequence with the woodpecker building the house, which was animated by Bjørn. Then I drew the stork, the horn orchestra and the dansing couples except a scene with two yellow chickens, which was Per Lygum's debut in Vedbæk.
I also animated the Miss Field Mouse.

Jørgen Myller was irritated that the camera was so close to the mouse when she sang. "The scene with the big rat" he called it.
I learned my lesson on that one.
Jørgen drew all layouts and chose the colors, but he also animated the soap bubbles on the packshot using a template with circular holes in many sizes; he also animated the water circles around a pole of the landing.

I had at first animated the dance sequence as a jazzy jitterbug thing like The Cotton Club in Harlem NYC, where young dancers swing the girls around in the air above them. I liked it, but Persil got afraid when they saw the line test."]

Furthermore, it only becomes apparent that this is a commercial for the Persil detergent product imi "Foaming with Energy!" in the end of the film. This is how things used to be, folks. The beautiful Philips films that George Pal made in Holland in the late 1930s are in my opinion the best examples of this. The reason was, as explained to me, that advertising budgets for films were higher, since there were no TV ads to be produced. When TV came, the budgets were basically cut in two, and everyone suffered.

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Anonymous Michael Sporn says...

The animation, of course, is excellent. A very nice short. Thanks for posting.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 6:15:00 AM PST  

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