FUNNY ANIMALS AND MORE
April 14, 2013 posted by Fred Patten

Animation That (Almost) Nobody Ever Heard Of

cendella_smallOn February 28th, “Crossaffliction” (aka Brendan Kachel) proposed humorously on the Flayrah website that Furry fans create their own version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to review really bad animated videos. He had specifically in mind the 2011 French animated feature Cinderella in the Far West, with an all funny-animal cast – Cinderella as a cowgirl antelope, the prince as a visiting hound, foreign nobleman with a turkey mother, etc. — which had just become an American direct-to-video release as Cinderella: Once Upon a Time in the West. Crossaffliction’s movie review included a weblink to the American DVD, which is a Walmart Exclusive – with advertisements for three other 2011 or 2012 foreign animated features that had been campaigning for American theatrical releases, but ended up as Walmart Exclusive DVDs instead; China’s The Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit, India’s Delhi Safari, and South Africa’s Adventures in Zambezia.

Crossaffliction’s quip got comments from other Flayrah readers with their own suggestions for an animated MST3K: the French 2009 The True Story of Puss in Boots, and the Italian 2000 Titanic: The Animated Movie (which Jerry wrote about here in 2001 – almost everyone is rescued safely, especially the funny-animal passengers) and its 2004 sequel, In Search of the Titanic.

But there are plenty more animated features that the American public has never heard of, until they appear as direct-to-video releases in supermarkets and toy shops for parents to buy for their kids. These got theatrical releases in their homelands; many won national or international film awards. The Hungarian 1981 The Little Fox was even commemorated on Hungarian 1982 postage stamps as the highest grossing Hungarian-made film of the previous year. (The American video-box blurb was fascinating for trying to take advantage of its Hungarian fame while passing it off as an American production. “Award Winning Animated Feature”, but it didn’t say what award. “Based on a best-selling book”, but it didn’t say what book.)

What are some of these “unknown” animated features? Well, let’s see …

The Adventures of Renny the Fox. A Luxumberger 2005 feature, based loosely on the Reynard the Fox folk tale. The DVD is in English with French and Spanish subtitles.

Donkey Xote, a.k.a. Donkey X. A Spanish 2007 CGI feature; Don Quixote with a lot more funny animals than Miguel de Cervantes ever put into it. The American DVD came out in 2009.

Dragon Hunters. A French 2008 feature, based on a 2005 French TV series. The TV series has shown erratically on American TV. Zoe is a little girl in a fairy tale world whose rich uncle needs a dragon slain; so she goes looking for brave knights and finds two shabby losers and their midget blue dragon handyman.

Help! I’m a Fish. A Danish 2000 feature. Three children are turned into a fish, a jellyfish, and a starfish by drinking Prof. MacKrill’s potion to help humans survive when rising sea levels submerge the continents. Despite an English voice track and rave reviews and awards from international film festivals, including American, this has not gotten American theatrical distribution. Or a video release; the 2003 DVD is British Region 2 and not viewable on American DVD players. But most animation fans have multi-region DVD players, don’t we?

Little Longnose. A Russian 2003 feature, an adaptation of Wilhelm Hauff’s 1827 fairy tale (with modern comedy-relief pratfalls added). Jacob, a brave and handsome boy, refuses to help an evil witch, who curses him into a dwarf with a hunchback and a ridiculously long nose. The witch also kidnaps Princess Greta, turns her into a goose, and sells her to her father’s chefs to be cooked for dinner. Jacob helps her to escape despite his grotesque looks. Amazon.com is selling the English-dubbed 2009 DVD, but there is no information on what other languages it has.

The Missing Lynx. A Spanish 2008 feature, produced by Antonio Banderas’ Kandor (Moon) Graphics studio. Félix, a rare Iberian lynx, and four animal friends from Spain’s Doñana National Park go after the ruthless Newmann big game hunter when he kidnaps Félix’s girlfriend Lynxette. Another animated feature that got a very limited American theatrical release to qualify for an Oscar, and a much bigger 2010 home video release.

Samson & Sally: The Song of the Whales. A Danish 1984 feature, based on the novel The Song of the Whales by Danish author Bent Haller. Samson, a young albino sperm whale, believes that Moby Dick is real. His girlfriend Sally, a normally colored sperm whale, cannot convince him otherwise. When Samson’s mother is killed by whalers, Samson leaves the pod to search for Moby Dick to get him to stop the whalers. Frustration and disappointment follow. Despite being unusually depressing for a children’s movie, the American 1991 video release is still in demand.

The Snurks. The first (2004) German CGI feature, based on a TV series. The German title is Back to Gaya. Gaya, a fantasy TV show, is about the tiny, furry-pointy-ears Snurks, especially the comically bumbling wanna-be warriors Boo and Zoo. When the magic Dalamite stone is stolen, threatening their world, Boo and Zoo are part of the recovery team. The quest leads them out of the TV and into our world. Boo and Zoo must convince the other Snurks to take them seriously and become the leaders of the team to get home again.

A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures. A 2010 Belgian CGI feature, as Sammy’s Adventures. Sammy, a sea turtle, hatches in 1959 and spends the next fifty years having adventures around the world, incidentally seeing the effects of global warming.

Willy the Sparrow. A 1988 prize-winning Hungarian feature; a 2004 American DVD. Schoolboy Willy is thoughtlessly cruel to animals, and is changed into a sparrow by the Sparrow Guardian to teach him a lesson. Gee, how many times has that plot been used in children’s fantasy novels and films?

And so on. You can probably add lots of titles to this list. In May 2009 Amazon.com began selling the Indian DVD of the 2008 CGI feature Roadside Romeo, but that doesn’t count because it was not a supermarket/toystore release, and it was unmistakably Indian because it was in Hindi with English and Malayalam subtitles. Still, there are more American kidvid releases of foreign theatrical movies. The Adventures of Scamper the Penguin (Soviet, 1986; American VHS, 1992; American DVD, 2007). Animals United (Germany 2010; American Blu-Ray, 2012). Gnomes & Trolls (Sweden, 2009; American DVD, 2010). The Reef, a.k.a. Shark Bait (South Korea, 2006; American DVD, 2007). Et cetera.

To end, here is one that probably should not count, but I am going to include it anyway. In 1997, the German office of Warner Bros. agreed to commission Bioskop-film in Münich to produce an 89-minute feature, Die Furchtlosen Vier – “The Fearless Four” – in exchange for foreign and German home video sales rights. It is the story of the Brementown Musicians; Buster the dog, Gwendolyn the cat, Fred the donkey, and Tortellini the vain operatic rooster. I don’t know how well the home video sold in Germany, but I assume quite well. WB prepared a complete English dub for America, and then for no explained reason, shelved it. I had a bootleg video print, and it is delightful! Frank Welker used his Ralph the Guard voice from Animaniacs quite noticeably for one of the villain’s henchmen. I showed the video at a couple of Furry conventions in the late 1990s, when it was assumed that WB would release it in America soon, and almost everyone was eager to see it again theatrically or to buy the commercial video. Nothing. A heavily cut version of the English dub was briefly available in Britain on a PAL – Region 2 video; it and the complete German home video disappeared at about the same time. Some of the individual song sequences have been put up on YouTube, so Americans can get samples of it. But the German video is out of print, and I can’t find that it is available anywhere.

50 Comments

  • Now I wish I hadn’t heard of some of these!

    • Yeah, there’s a lot of clunkers here, yet you do find at least one or two that might peak your interest or have had a shot had they have been given better marketing/promotion. I usually blame this on our dependence on domestic works over foreign anyway (those in the anime community know what I’m talking about, of course there’s always crap there too).

  • A quick correction: In Search of the Titanic is not the sequel to Titanic: The Animated Movie. It’s actually the sequel to The Legend of the Titanic, which is ANOTHER animated film about the Titanic with talking animals.

    • There are too many animated films about the R.M.S. Titanic, all bad.
      We ought to acknowledge J. J. Sedelmaier’s Titey, too. It was nominated for an Annie award in 1998.

    • “There are too many animated films about the R.M.S. Titanic, all bad.
      We ought to acknowledge J. J. Sedelmaier’s Titey, too. It was nominated for an Annie award in 1998.”

      Yeah, we ought to blame him for starting the whole thing Fred! What started out as a joke apparently festered itself on a number of Italian film producer snobs who thought nothing but wanted to ape the James Cameron film for a quick buck (suitable for family viewing of course). Here’s the breakdown for anyone who cares to know!

      In 1999, one Italian company called “Mondo TV” produced a film called “La Legenda del Titanic” (The Legend of the Titanic). This is not the Titanic film most would know of that Jerry reported about way, way back. This version, while involving talking animals of dubious anthropomorphic qualities, tells an odd tale of two people meeting on the ship and the motives of some business tycoon who wanted to marry the girl in order to get on her dad’s good side and to have worldwide whaling rights or whatever mess. The ship goes down thanks to an octopus’ attempt at wanting to “fit in” with the gang and apparently saves everyone on the ship through keeping the Titanic up momentarily until they were off it.

      Some years later a sequel to this got made under the names “In Search of The Titanic” or “Tentacolino” (named after the octopus of the first film who bothers to be in here). Both films were outsourced to North Korea where they were animated at The April 26th Children’s Film Studio (or “SEK”) in Pyongyang. What a perfect way to realize your adaptation of a tragedy than to have it worked on at a place that might never have even heard of it).

      In 2000, another Italian producer set up a studio called “Titanic Cartoons S.r.l.” to produce his take on the tale with “Titanic, mille e una storia” (Titanic: The Legend Goes On). This is the one with the rapping dog character that’s graced every anime con room screening possible. This one bothers to tell several subplots within the same frame of a love story involving two central figures aboard the ship, much of it felt like used tropes from far better films with the villains and other characters involved (one set of characters feeling like Cinderella’s stepmother and her stepsisters while another set involved bungling burglars out of 101 Dalmatians). And strangely yet, there’s two different cuts of the film depending on region they were distributed in, the original cut, with very unpolished music work and extended scenes, and a “abridged” release that Jymn “Disney Afternoon” Magon was involved in fixing up with changing the music and songs in the film, as well as cutting it up extensively that it made the film a bit more incoherent to follow along. This is the one most remembered for the rapping dog going “Party Time!” rather than “Viva Fritz!”. This edition got released quietly up in Canada on DVD. The original version saw a release in Hong Kong on a disc that contained the English audio whose voices weren’t changed when the film was re-edited.

  • A. Film’s Help, I’m a Fish has actually been issued domestically—under the alternate title “Fish Tale,” with a cover that makes it look tragically derivative of Dreamworks’ Shark Tale.
    A. Film president Hans Perk, a personal friend, stated that the cover design was “the choice of the distributor, out of our hands”; quite a shame.

    • Yarst! Yes, I certainly overlooked this when looking for an American release of Help! I’m a Fish. Thanks for the correction.
      It is good to know that it is available.
      http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Tale-Alan-Rickman/dp/B000GBEWKM/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1365959956&sr=1-2&keywords=Fish+Tale

    • It’s nice that these things get released at all Fred, if they’re not going to be on TV, at least we still have the home video route (though net-streaming sites like NetFlix can help a good deal too if there was an interest there).

      Reminded of A. Film also produced the film “Jungledyret”. That film along with a sequel did see a very mild release in the US through Miramax Family Films on a single DVD release “Hugo the Movie Star”.

  • One animated oddity was released by MCA/Universal in the US under the title THE DRAGON THAT WASN’T (OR WAS HE?) on a 1987 videotape. It’s a Dutch film originally called ALS JE BEGRIIJPT WAT IK BEDOEL (1983), based on the “Tom Poes” funny-animal comic strip. It’s interesting just to see these old-favorite characters animated at all, but the sex of one of the main characters was changed in the US version. Tom Poes (think “Tom Puss,” or “Tom Cat”) became “Kit Cat” and distinctly female. I can only guess that somebody in the front office decided there weren’t enough female characters in the thing for the US release, and since Tom Poes is the only character that doesn’t wear clothes and so isn’t obviously male or female (and has a kind of pretty kitty-character design to boot), he was arbitrarily reassigned gender-wise. If you’re at all familiar with the original comic strip, this is somewhere beyond bizarre, but with the strip unknown in the US and likely to stay that way, the executives could dictate a drastic change in the strip’s premise like that for a one-shot movie without worrying about it.
    I actually have a copy of HJAELP, JEG ER EN FISK! When I was doing work for the Danish Disney licensee, I had a comp subscription to the Danish Donald Duck comic book, and every issue came with a free bonus like a cheap toy. One issue came with a DVD of that film. There are soundtracks in four different languages like Danish and Swedish, but unfortunately not English. There are bonus features like a couple of production featurettes and a trailer that are in English, however. One of the making-of featurettes has soundbites from the British voice artists (including “Professor Snape” before Harry Potter), which is a little odd since the English soundtrack they appear on isn’t on the disc.
    Somewhere around here I have a German VHS tape I can no longer play of VALHALLA, a Danish animated version of a Danish comic album series by Peter Madsen about the Norse gods. As I remember it, the original graphic novel series, even though mostly a comedy adventure to begin with, was considerably dumbed down for the film, by focusing not on on the gods in all their majesty, but on the problems caused by a boy giant named Quark who for some reason is being raised in Asgard. Quark is one of those supposedly cute and lovable and mischievous etc. “id” characters who is actually so thoughtlessly destructive as to be obnoxious. The sense I get is of some demand from higher up on the production food chain for a marketable star character that would appeal to kids, with dismal results. I don’t know if VALHALLA ever got a US release, but I’ve seen some one-shot short QUARK cartoons (made by the Danish studio to keep busy after work on the VALHALLA feature wrapped up, I’m told) on a US video tape.
    And isn’t there a Russian-made version of Hans Christian Andersen’s THE SNOW QUEEN floating around in the US video bargain bins?

    • Now that you remind me, I wrote a long article on the Tom Poes comic strip for the apa ROWRBRAZZLE #15 back in October 1987. I should see about getting it reprinted online.
      Kees van Toorn, a friend in Rotterdam, sent me the video of Als Je BegrIijpt Wat Ik Bedoel, but he said that he didn’t expect me to actually watch it because (a) it was PAL which would not play on American NTSC videos, and (b) it was a disappointment compared with the comic strip, anyhow. I still have not seen it, and hearing that the American producers changed Tom Poes into a girl didn’t make me any sorrier to miss it.
      I don’t know if Valhalla was ever released on video in America, but I was part of a test group around 1986 or 1987 that was shown the film to decide whether to release it theatrically in the U.S. I said yes, it would make a wonderful release; it had good animation, Quark provided just the right amount of humor without overdoing it, and there was a lot of mystery with the gaping plot holes to be answered in the obvious sequel. I was told that there was no sequel planned, and what did I mean by gaping plot holes? Oh.
      I still think that it would have made a wonderful release if someone with a better story sense could have taken over the animation studio and written a sequel to explain such points as why Thor and Loki, who obviously hated each other, were buddy-buddy roommates; whether Tjalvi and Röskva, the two human children who had been kidnapped to be Thor & Loki’s houseslaves, would decide to remain in Valhalla or return to Earth, and if to return, how; why Valhalla, where all the souls of dead Vikings go to spend eternity in endless feasting, was almost empty; etc. (I know; it would have cost too much to show an enormous banquet hall full of roistering Viking diners; but they needed some plot reason for the hall to be empty.)
      Yes, the Soyuzmultfilm animated feature of The Snow Queen (1957) has been out in America for a long time. It was on the 16 m.m. rental film circuit in the 1960s to 1990s.

    • Dwight Decker wrote:
      “I can only guess that somebody in the front office decided there weren’t enough female characters in the thing for the US release, and since Tom Poes is the only character that doesn’t wear clothes and so isn’t obviously male or female (and has a kind of pretty kitty-character design to boot), he was arbitrarily reassigned gender-wise.

      I always assumed the fact nobody in the US may have ever heard of the Tom Poes stories or the work of Marten Toonder led to that choice. It’s a shame the comics never came out in the US since I sorta dig that look very well and would’ve loved to have read them personally.

      “There are soundtracks in four different languages like Danish and Swedish, but unfortunately not English. There are bonus features like a couple of production featurettes and a trailer that are in English, however. One of the making-of featurettes has soundbites from the British voice artists (including “Professor Snape” before Harry Potter), which is a little odd since the English soundtrack they appear on isn’t on the disc.”

      Funny they went through all that trouble yet not give us an English track (now you know what it feels like to be an anime fan complaining about these things that are so trivial). I bothered picking up an R2 DVD of a film that was animated here but didn’t have it’s English audio track anyway, but it didn’t matter since I can proudly say I have this film that’s not available domestically on DVD anyway!

      “I don’t know if VALHALLA ever got a US release, but I’ve seen some one-shot short QUARK cartoons (made by the Danish studio to keep busy after work on the VALHALLA feature wrapped up, I’m told) on a US video tape.”

      It was, I actually rented that tape from a video store over a decade ago! It does feel like those guys were just glad to get something done after the film.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StHEirIwPqg&t=5m5s

      Fred sez…
      “Kees van Toorn, a friend in Rotterdam, sent me the video of Als Je BegrIijpt Wat Ik Bedoel, but he said that he didn’t expect me to actually watch it because (a) it was PAL which would not play on American NTSC videos, and (b) it was a disappointment compared with the comic strip, anyhow. I still have not seen it, and hearing that the American producers changed Tom Poes into a girl didn’t make me any sorrier to miss it.”

      Well if you’re a little curious to see it Fred!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW1dxDUQW6o

      I managed to get a pal of mine in The Netherlands to send me an legit R2 DVD of the film before she moved to New Zealand many years ago, it was still worth the effort for me, though the film was presented in a matted 4:3 ratio rather than anamorphic widescreen, which was a downer (knowing I saw more on my old VHS tape of the English version on the top and bottom).

      Intresting about Valhalla’s plotholes. Have to check it out someday! And yes, The Snow Queen has been out for a long time in the PD entrails.

    • Okay, I have located the article that I wrote back in 1987 on the “Tom Poes” comic by Marten Toonder (or his studio). Most of it was based on personal study of several complete story sequences of the comic strip and comic book, and some scholarly studies of ‘Tom Poes’ from the 1940s to the 1980s (the Dutch take their comics much more seriously than the Americans do), but these comments about the Dutch animated feature were largely based upon its publicity, on what some Americans who had seen the American video release said about it, and on what Kees van Toorn told me about the Dutch original, since I had not seen it (and still haven’t).

      “This 1983 feature is titled ‘Als Je Begrijpt Wat Ik Bedoel’, or, ‘If You Know What I Mean’. (This is Ollie B. Bommel’s favorite catchphrase, which he uses to try to get out of situations when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about; and it is reportedly as well-known to the Dutch public as are such American comics/movie catchphrases to the American public as, ‘I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,’ or, ‘Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!’) This movie has already been dubbed into English and dumped without publicity onto the childrens’ home-video market under the title, “The Dragon That Wasn’t (Or Was He?)’. Since the ‘Tom Poes’ series is unknown in the United States, the translators took the liberty of changing him into a female(!) named Kit Kat. Aside from that, however, it is an accurate and technically well-done translation.

      It is a *bad* movie. Technically, it is nicely done, but the story … Well, everyone knows that when Walt Disney first announced his production of ‘Snow White’, everybody called it ‘Disney’s folly’ and said the public would never watch an 80-minute cartoon. “The Dragon That Wasn’t’ is the kind of cartoon that they had expected. The animation may be 1980s state-of-the-art, but the story is basically an early 1930s ‘Mickey Mouse’ or ‘Betty Boop’ collection of sight gags which go on and on for over an hour. The slight plot involves Lord Ollie adopting a cute pet which hatches from a mysterious egg, despite the fears of everyone that it might be a baby *HORRIBLE DRAGON*! Most of the gags are built around everyone (except Tom Poes) acting in as silly and stupid a manner as possible, so that they make fools of themselves; and then being too stubborn to admit that they are wrong, so they keep repeating the same foolishness over and over.”

    • It’s been a while since I’ve seen the VALHALLA movie, but as I remember the original “graphic novels” (these being European, I want to say “albums”), the children Tjalfi and Röskva weren’t really slaves kidnapped and held against their will. The first album starts with Thor and Loki on Earth and spending a night in the home of a poor peasant couple who have the aforementioned two children. That Tjalfi and Röskva go back to Asgard with Thor and Loki seems to be a matter of mutual consent on all sides: the children will have much better lives there than they could in poverty on Earth, and they’ll be raised by Thor and his wife Sif in exchange for light services. They’re more house servants than slaves, in an arrangement similar to what we see in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES where orphan children are sent to live on farms where they’re raised and educated like family members though working for their keep. Loki may be a guest in Thor’s house at times, but I don’t think he lives there full time as a roommate. Loki is a complex character, a trickster and a conniver, but during the period the VALHALLA albums cover, he’s still on the side of the gods (usually) and a welcome companion. His sneaky con-man talents are even useful when the gods get into some scrape or other (sometimes his fault to begin with), and he’s personally so charming that even if he does do something that’s a little too much to his own advantage, the tendency is to forgive him. He might turn really rotten later, as the prophecies indicate, and betray Asgard, but that hasn’t happened yet. How well the movie conveyed all this, I’ve forgotten.
      I bought the QUARK tape sight unseen through mail order hoping it would be an American release of VALHALLA under a different name, knowing enough to recognize the Quark name but not knowing about the Quark short cartoons. I was disappointed, I can assure you.

    • True to argue the plot behind “Als Je Begrijpt Wat Ik Bedoel” is nothing to write home about, it was pretty well-made film design/animation-wise but certainly the story felt pretty stretched to fit the running time, but at least The Netherlands could claim to have made their first animated feature that way (though I noticed they had some help from Japan on it too).

    • It has been about 26 years since I saw “Valhalla”, and I don’t remember the details, either. I do remember that Tjalfi and Röskva were free to talk back to Thor and Loki as equals, but they were still their servants and they were pretty much marooned in Asgard unless they could get Thor or Loki to take them back to their home on Earth.

  • I’ve seen Willy the Sparrow and Samson & Sally. Can’t say the same for the rest, though.

  • Willy The Sparrow? YUCK!

    • I have not seen Willy the Sparrow myself, but I have seen and read too many other childrens’ films/books about insensitive children who are shrunken to mouse-size or turned into the animals that they torment to Teach Them a Lesson. The only one that was really interesting was the Swedish The Wonderful Adventure of Nils, by Selma Lagerlof; and that is only interesting if you care for a detailed geographic description of Sweden as seen by Nils from gooseback.

      I can’t resist quoting the beginning of one of my reviews, from Yarf! #64, April 2002, of Lady: My Life as a Bitch, by Melvin Burgess (Anderson Press, Sept. 2001):

      “‘It was me and Wayne heading down Copson Street. […] it was me and Wayne, me and Wayne, me and Wayne all morning. He was leaning over and smiling, tickling me and touching me. I wasn’t going to say no, was I? […] he reached forward and tickled the palm of my hand. It sent little shivers up my arm. My hand closed around his and we gave one another a little squeeze, and that was it. We were holding hands. We turned and looked into each other’s faces and…
 I was just thrilled. You know? That moment. I just love that moment. I could do it over and over again until the end of my life. I mean, all right, he wasn’t the first boy ever, or even the first boy that month. In fact, the way I was then he’d have been pretty lucky if he was the first one that week. But still—it just made me shine.’” (page 1)
      “‘I’ is Sandra Francy, a 17-year-old British high-school student who spends more time cutting class, smoking and drinking, and having sex than studying. By the end of Chapter One she is magically turned into a dog.
 This is not the first Young Adult fantasy in which a rude and wild teenager is turned into a dog (see, for example, T. Ernesto Bethancourt’s 1976 The Dog Days of Arthur Cane) or some other animal to be taught a moral lesson. They spend the novel desperately trying to regain their humanity, which they do in the final chapter after sincerely repenting and vowing to become a better person. Sandra’s reaction is more like, “Hey, I don’t have to go to school at all any more! I can run around stark naked, and shit and fuck in public whenever I want! Cool!!” At least, that is the synopsis implied by outraged editorials in the British press. A month before its release, The Observer reported (Sunday, August 12, 2001): ‘Lady is already controversial, providing it with the sort of advance publicity that most writers, and children’s writers especially, can only dream of. There have been calls for parental guidance stickers and some kind of ratings system; the Daily Mail called the spokespeople of several parents’ groups who had objected to [Burgess’] 1997 novel Junk (often without having read it) and got the hoped-for response.’”

    • “I have not seen Willy the Sparrow myself, but I have seen and read too many other childrens’ films/books about insensitive children who are shrunken to mouse-size or turned into the animals that they torment to Teach Them a Lesson. The only one that was really interesting was the Swedish The Wonderful Adventure of Nils, by Selma Lagerlof; and that is only interesting if you care for a detailed geographic description of Sweden as seen by Nils from gooseback.”

      At least Japan got an adaptation of Nils in anime form (featuring Mamoru Oshii in one of his early directorial efforts)! I sorta enjoy stories like that where someone has to be told a lesson that way.

  • In addition to English, Die Furchtlosen Vier seemed to have been dubbed into additional languages for other international releases. Warner Home Video’s Spain division released it on VHS back around the turn of the century. I was actually quite intrigued when I first came upon the cover artwork, as I’ve been a fan of the Musicians of Bremen story but at the same time dreading that it was going to be of the ilk of the other films mentioned. I’m relieved to hear that it’s a decent production, but now it makes one wonder even more what’s been holding up any sort of U.S. release, especially since Warner unearthed some really curious (and insipid) movies and specials for VHS release back in the day (the Filmation “Oliver Twist,” that “Mighty Kong” thing, etc.).

    • Fans have been wondering about Warner Bros,’ corporate sanity ever since the studio essentially killed Cats Don’t Dance and The Iron Giant. My only criticism of The Fearless Four was turning the animals into a pop-rock group, but it was well done. As much as I like Osamu Tezuka, I have to say that The Fearless Four is miles better than Tezuka’s 1981 Bremen 4: Angels in Hell. I am glad that Spain got to see The Fearless Four, at least.

    • Greg sez…
      “I’m relieved to hear that it’s a decent production, but now it makes one wonder even more what’s been holding up any sort of U.S. release, especially since Warner unearthed some really curious (and insipid) movies and specials for VHS release back in the day (the Filmation “Oliver Twist,” that “Mighty Kong” thing, etc.).”

      That’s nothing, the Warner’s had that Oliver Twist film for decades, I remember that showing up on Showtime in the early 80′s. Another Filmation TV movie that was produced was “Treasure Island” if you can find it!

      Fred sez…
      “Fans have been wondering about Warner Bros,’ corporate sanity ever since the studio essentially killed Cats Don’t Dance and The Iron Giant. My only criticism of The Fearless Four was turning the animals into a pop-rock group, but it was well done. As much as I like Osamu Tezuka, I have to say that The Fearless Four is miles better than Tezuka’s 1981 Bremen 4: Angels in Hell. I am glad that Spain got to see The Fearless Four, at least.”

      We’ll never understand Fred. Glad to see a nod to the less interesting stuff Tezuka made over the years. As much as we often hear of these weird, unusual things out there, whether we want to see them or not is up to our interests surely . I just reminded myself of Germany’s 1993 animated feature “Felidae”, based on a novel I also had to read too after the film, and for what the film did, I’m glad that they did it. I wish more films were like that.

    • ” I just reminded myself of Germany’s 1993 animated feature “Felidae”, based on a novel I also had to read too after the film, and for what the film did, I’m glad that they did it. I wish more films were like that.”
      Really? I read the novel (first) and saw the movie, and I muchly preferred the novel. The movie follows the novel closely, but I felt that it compressed the story too much; doubtlessly for reasons of length. For example , in the novel, Francis the cat would walk into a murder scene, carefully study it, think for awhile, and then give his theory of what happened. In the movie, Francis is giving his theory of what happened almost as soon as he enters the scene. This speeds up the story, but it makes Francis sound like an omniscient know-it-all.

    • Yeah, the book was far better in that respect Fred, far more than what they could do in the running time of the film itself, and it made far more sense how Francis studies the situation as it goes along. The movie certainly speeds that all up pretty much. I should’ve stated my love for the book but it didn’t came up in my head before. I haven’t read the sequel (“Felidae on the Road”), though I recall someone stating on a webpage that it was more a retread of before.

    • I said in a followup to a criticism of a novel last year, Alflor Aalto’s “The Prince of Knaves” (Rabbit Valley Comics, March 2012), that “Although there was no place to say so here, I was reminded of a criticism that I made in a review of Akif Pirinçci’s “Felidae on the Road”, the first sequel to his “Felidae”, about fifteen years ago. I said that the sequel was so similar to the first novel that I almost grew bored and stopped reading it. Suddenly the story veered in a completely new direction, and it turns out that Pirinçci is deliberately making things so similar to lull the protagonist into a false complacency; “been here, done that”. By the time he realizes that the villain has been setting him up, I felt that the average reader would have given up on the novel as just an unimaginative rehash of the first book. Aalto has done something similar here; many of the earlier criticisms turn out to be explained away, but too late in the novel to satisfy the reader.”

      http://www.flayrah.com/3964/review-prince-knaves-alflor-aalto

      “Felidae on the Road”, the second “Felidae” novel, is actually the only sequel to be translated into English. Pirinçci has written six more that are only available in German.

      Pirinçci, Akif. Cave Canem. Ein Felidae-Roman. Wilhelm Goldmann Gmbh, August 1999, 285 pages.
      Pirinçci, Akif. Das Duell. Ein Felidae-Roman. Eichborn Verlag, October 2002, 320 pages.
      Pirinçci, Akif. Salve Roma!. Ein Felidae-Roman. Eichborn Verlag, March 2004, 270 pages. (Kindle edition)
      Pirinçci, Akif. Schandtat. Ein Felidae-Roman. Diana Verlag, January 2009, 336 pages. (Kindle edition)
      Pirinçci, Akif. Felipolis. Ein Felidae-Roman. Diana Verlag, October 2011, 352 pages. (Kindle edition)
      Pirinçci, Akif. Göttergleich. Ein Felidae-Roman. Heyne Verlag, September 2012, 352 pages.

    • Glad to know I don’t have to pursue that second book, though impressed he was able to keep at it this long. I hope Pirinçci learned his lesson after the second book.

  • It is true how they had marketed “The Little Fox” the way the tape came out in the 80′s (actually there were two versions, an edited release and an uncut version, as the movie itself was quite dark in it’s purpose of a young fox’s survival in the forest). It was nice a few key staffers were credited at the end of the film (not enough by today’s standards obviously), the book itself that was blurbed in the promotion was written back in Hungary in the 1960′s by Istvan Fekete, whether the book was translated into English and sold in the US, I don’t know. I do have the postage stamps though, two sets actually (one set are first-day covers with their own special postmarks/envelopes I enjoyed getting).

    Willy The Sparrow also saw a VHS release in the 90′s care of a Utah-based operation known as “Feature Films for Families”. The same company would also collaborate on a film with Pannonia Film in Hungary called “The Seventh Brother”, and a sequel “Tiny Heroes”, surrounding a lost puppy and a family of rabbits. The US release though was a slightly altered version from what was seen in Hungary as certain parts of the story had to be re-written/re-animated to suit FFF’s guidelines or whatever (such as how the main character was originally thrown out of a car down a hill, now replaced with the dog simply leaving the car on his own and accidentally fell off the cliff instead while chasing a frog or something).

    Really a shame about “The Fearless Four” since I wonder why WB couldnt’ commit itself to at least give it a VHS release at all back then. It just seems hypocritical.

  • An English dub of The Fearless Four was *briefly* available for VOD rental on Amazon a few years ago. As you remember about the UK release, it was edited. But it didn’t have Frank Welker in it; the dub was done in Vancouver.

    I think that Vancouver dub is what was released in the UK. If you had a version with Frank Welker, that would mean that ANOTHER English dub was commissioned for the United States and never used. This also happened with Asterix and the Big Fight – the UK dub featuring Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Brian Blessed was only released on VHS in Britain, while the English track included on DVD was a heretofore-unreleased American dub with a bunch of the character names changed, featuring (I’m serious) Henry Winkler as Asterix and Rosey Grier as Obelix.

    And you didn’t mention that the English singing voices of the dog and the donkey were, respectively, James Ingram and B.B. King!

    Vuk was also released on video in the UK as “Tag the Intrepid Fox” – could it have been a different, British dub?

    Many European animated films (especially now) have had English voice tracks done for international export. In some cases, the mouth movements are animated to the English – perhaps because non-English countries aren’t as bothered by lip sync issues, since they see lots of English films dubbed into their languages. One example is the 2003 German film “Till Eulenspiegel” (English: “Jester Till”), which was animated to an English voice track done in Vancouver – the U.S. got a straight-to-DVD release in November 2011.

    In another example of celebrity voices, Asterix and the Vikings had an English track featuring Paul Giamatti and Sean Astin. Again, the animation was lip-synched to the English. It wasn’t released in the U.S., but it did come to bilingual DVD in Canada.

    And speaking of our favorite Gaul, the first five Asterix films got American video releases – the first three by Disney! And while 1994′s Asterix Conquers America (partially animated in the U.S. by Kroyer Films) didn’t get an American video release, its English dub was also available on video/DVD in Canada.

    • “An English dub of The Fearless Four was *briefly* available for VOD rental on Amazon a few years ago. As you remember about the UK release, it was edited. But it didn’t have Frank Welker in it; the dub was done in Vancouver.”

      Wouldn’t surprise me if there was two dubs made of the film that way. Shame there couldn’t be just one official version they could use. Kinda curious about the US version though I”m sure that never leaked out of someone’s hands!

      “the UK dub featuring Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Brian Blessed was only released on VHS in Britain, while the English track included on DVD was a heretofore-unreleased American dub with a bunch of the character names changed, featuring (I’m serious) Henry Winkler as Asterix and Rosey Grier as Obelix.”

      Oh GOD (I think I heard that version too)!

      “Vuk was also released on video in the UK as “Tag the Intrepid Fox” – could it have been a different, British dub?”

      Wouldn’t surprise me if that was possible (depending on how these things are licensed for specific markets).

      “In another example of celebrity voices, Asterix and the Vikings had an English track featuring Paul Giamatti and Sean Astin. Again, the animation was lip-synched to the English. It wasn’t released in the U.S., but it did come to bilingual DVD in Canada.”

      I could be wrong, but I thinK “Asterix Conquers America” from 1994 was done that way too.

      “And while 1994′s Asterix Conquers America (partially animated in the U.S. by Kroyer Films) didn’t get an American video release, its English dub was also available on video/DVD in Canada.”

      At least Canada gets good things. The other two films, “Asterix Vs. Cesar and Asterix in Britain were released by Celebrity Home Entertainment under their “Just for Kids” label (featuring Noel “Tracking Control” Bloom for anyone who had to go through watching those), though I recall they removed Plastic Bertrand’s “Asterix Est La” from the first film for who knows why (other than it was in French and perhaps they weren’t in the mood to confuse children with hearing something in another language, their release of Macross in Clash of the Bionoids brings that to mind).

    • If the fox was named Tag instead of Vic, it was definitely a different dub. The name in the original Hungarian children’s novel and the film is Vuk, which is a legitimate name in southern Hungary and northern Serbia, though more of a “peasant” name. I have not read the novel by Istvan Fekete, which I was told by the Hungarian embassy about twenty years ago has never been translated into English (I have not checked since then), but I suspect that the American video is a very faithful translation of the movie because it keeps some Hungarian ingroup references that most Americans would not get. For example, in one scene Vic/Vuk has just escaped after robbing the farmer’s henhouse, and the farmer’s watchdogs are wondering what excuse to give. One says, “Let’s blame the German shepherd.” “Yeah, the GERMAN shepherd,” the others snigger. You have to know what the average attitude in Hungary was for a long time after World War II toward the Germans. Hungary was officially an ally of Germany, but the Nazi officials and the German army treated the Hungarians like their servants, and the Hungarians resented it.

    • That’s something I didn’t think about Fred with the German Shepherd line in the film. Of course watching from an American perspective (and as a 10 year old since I had first saw this on Nickelodeon’s “Special Delivery” block), it was still very odd watching an animated film be as dodgy about killing and death the way it was handled in the film. It was a nice wake-up call for someone that was raised on the usual Saturday morning junk.

      The actual name of “VUK” is an abbreviation for the Hungarian phrase “Vadászom, utamból kotródj!”, which translates as “I’m hunting, get out of my way!” For the dub, calling the fox “Vic” sounded pretty good if you thought of it as the shorten nickname for the noun “Victor”. When the film came out on DVD some years back in Hungary, they did include the English audio on the disc along with a German and French track (not sure if the disc was a legit release or not).

      Thinking of other “bad’ or no-so-bad animated films out there, the director of Vuk, Attila Dargay, made a few more features in the 80′s that also found very minor VHS releases here include Szaffi (dubbed by Cinar Films in Canada under the title “The Treasure of Swamp Castle”) and Az erdő kapitánya (Captain of the Forest).

    • Vuk is also the Serbian-Croatian word for wolf, and there have been several notable Serbs named Vuk. Vuk Dragovic, an industrial designer; Vuk Karadžić, a language scholar; Vuk Jeremić, who “was elected President of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly on 8 June 2012”, and so on.

    • I liked 1970s-‘80s Pannonia director Attila Dargay’s cartoony art style, but I thought he always drew his “real” animals looking like humans crawling on their hands & knees. I see that he died in 2009.

    • I was sad to learn of his passing too. Apparently there was at one time an attempt at doing a sequel to “Vuk” that was going to use his designs before it was scrapped for something else involving CGI and looking terrible ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeV1y9Gojpw ). I kinda wanted somehow to get in touch with him somehow simply for a nice sketch/signature personally. I see he also did comics as well such as an adaptation of Pinocchio. It’s true how he does draw his animals here that does turn off one or two people I noticed ( like referring to the back legs on some of the animals in Vuk as “stove-pipe”).

      Magyar Posta (Hungary Post) last year did a commemoration by re-issuing the stamps I see.
      http://www.posta.hu/stamps/stamps/new_stamps/attila_dargay_born_85_year_ago

  • Speaking of unknown animated features…how about “Metamorphoses” which was directed by Takashi in the late 70s. It’s sort of a Fantasia parody-like; but a wide number of Golden Age animators worked on the film: Ray Patterson, Fred Hellmich, Manny Perez, Amby Paliwoda, etc…just to name a few. I swear the film isn’t even available on VHS or DVD, as it’s pretty much vanished into obscurity..

    • The film was released on VHS Steven, back in the 1980′s by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video. The film by the way was produced by Sanrio (creators of Hello Kitty) at a time when it’s founder, Shintaro Tsuji, wanted to make a film that would be his answer to Disney’s Fantasia as well as be big on both sides of the Pacific. In order to do this, a studio was set up in LA that hired many familiar animators of the Golden Age as well as many up ‘n comers like James T.Walker (reminded Jerry Eisenberg also was a sequence director on the film too). What premiered as “Metamorphoses” at a screening in 1978 was said to be a flop given it’s retelling of several tales of the poet Ovid set to rock music. The film was later retooled and released theatrically as “Winds of Change”, this time featuring narration by Peter Ustinov with music by Alec Constandinos. This is the version that did find a VHS release in the US, though oddly in Japan, the film was dubbed strangely to give the characters in the stories voices despite nobody actually moving their lips!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjkovYf8OgU

      Sanrio also collaborated with Murakami-Wolf Films to produce a feature based on the book by Russell Hoban called “The Mouse and His Child”. This film also saw a release by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video in the 80′s too (as well as other notable Sanrio movies like Unico, The Sea Prince & The Fire Child, and the ever-so-unfair Ringing Bell). All these films did see DVD releases in Japan (though Pony Canyon), though the American co-produced Winds of Change and Mouse and His Child are without English audio tracks, despite having promotional materials included in on-screen galleries and English credits during the films. Go figure!

    • I was present at the theatrical premiere of “Metamorphosis” back in 1978. The orchestral rock music was so loud that there were rumors of plaster flaking off the ceiling, while director Takakshi was complaining, “Can’t you turn up the sound any more?”

      That was back when Sanrio was going to take over both the American animated theatrical film and comic-book industries. “Metamorphosis” was the only project that was finished and released. I got $60 a page to write a 60-page young girl’s science-fiction comic-book story because, “We have done market research and found out that nobody is publishing a comic-book for young girls in America.” Yes, and there was a reason for that; but as with “Metamorphosis”, you couldn’t tell the Sanrio executives anything. So both the comic-book people and the animators that they hired “took the money and ran”.

      My comics story, “Angela”, was illustrated by Doug Wildey for $120 a page. Mark Evanier wrote a similarly-long story about a 19th century teenage girl Mississippi riverboat captain, illustrated by Dan Spiegle, and I remember that Dave Stevens and Dan Morgan were two other artists who finished their stories. Then, “We have done more market research, and we have decided not to publish the comic book, after all. But you have done what we asked you to, so you can keep the money.” I bought a new car. I have often wondered what Sanrio did with all that finished but never published artwork.

    • Who knows, wouldn’t be surprised if those got published in Japan anyway (know they ran a girls’ magazine then called ‘Lyrica” that Tezuka had his Unico published in). It’s another case example of a Japanese company making assumptions of the US market and then pulling out when it doesn’t go as planned (those in the anime community know that lesson too well).

    • Sanrio was planning (tentatively, at least) to reuse Lyrica as the title of its American comic book for young girls. I got a complete set of the Japanese magazine at the time that Sanrio was planning its American comic for young girls. It had a Metamorphoses serial drawn by Dan Morgan, with an original story but using the Boy and the Girl from the movie. Also Osamu Tezuka’s Unico, as you note. One issue had a story with talking cats that was drawn in the style of Disney’s The Aristocats movie. I don’t know if Sanrio planned to translate any of the stories from the Japanese Lyrica for its American one.

      I also don’t know the planned size, but I do know that Sanrio planned to make the American magazine much larger than the regular American comic book, more like the 200+ page Japanese manga magazines. I’m pretty sure that the stories finished for the American Lyrica but never published were never published in Japan; by today word of original Japanese comic-book stories by big-name American artists like Doug Wildey, Dan Spiegle, and Dave Stevens would have gotten back to us. Oh, and Sanrio had my story drawn by Wildey and Evanier’s drawn by Spiegle painted by them in full color. The American Lyrica was to be in full color, but photographed from the comic art painted by the artists; not colored by the usual 1970s process. Regular Japanese comics were printed in monochrome.

      Sanrio obviously lost a lot of money on its market research and on the stories that it commissioned, but at least it didn’t lose as much as it would have if it had printed its first American issue for national distribution. And that reminds me that other problems that Sanrio discovered during its preparations were that its planned much larger, printed in full color from the original art magazine could not be printed in America by the existing American comic book industry; it could not be distributed along with other American comic books; it would have to be priced much higher than the standard 10¢ or 15¢ of the time; and Sanrio wanted to get all unsold copies back, not just the covers, which American newsstands (specialty comics shops did not exist yet) were not prepared to handle. I assume that Sanrio’s further market research told them that young American girls or their mothers just would not buy a giant comic book designed especially for them.

    • God their ambitions were so high! Wonder if they do have this stuff stashed away in a Tokyo warehouse without knowing of it’s existence? These days it would be interesting to get a book published on the Sanrio magazine that never was just to release what was there, just saying.

  • The U.S. dub of Vuk was commissioned by Robert Halmi, who is Hungarian. Maybe that had something to do with how faithful it was? (Then again, Halmi/Qintex also commissioned Richard Epcar’s strange dub of Captain of the Forest, which worked in some American pop-culture references that I’m sure weren’t in the original.)

    Hungarian emigres Robert Halmi in the U.S. and Josef Sefel up in Canada imported several Hungarian animated films to the U.S., and Sefel even co-produced two, Treasure of Swamp Castle and Cat City – both were dubbed in Sefel’s home base of Montreal, by Cinar. Halmi also commissioned Jozsef Gemes to direct the animation for two “Lollipop Dragon” cartoon specials.

    And as for this mysterious UK dub of Vuk, I’m wondering if it might have been done by the same London crew who did the Hungarofilm export dub of “Mattie the Gooseboy”. That was released on VHS in the U.S. twice (by FHE, and again by Celebrity – the latter again credited RHI, but I’m not sure if Halmi had the U.S. license when it first came to video).

    FYI, the official Hungarian DVD of Vuk includes the U.S. English dub.

    • “The U.S. dub of Vuk was commissioned by Robert Halmi, who is Hungarian. Maybe that had something to do with how faithful it was? (Then again, Halmi/Qintex also commissioned Richard Epcar’s strange dub of Captain of the Forest, which worked in some American pop-culture references that I’m sure weren’t in the original.)”

      I’m sure too Jeff, a lot of what probably went on in the Hungarian version simply would go untranslatable in our version. So we end up with lines like “Are you the captain of the Love Boat?” Still I did like the big with the hippie wolf eating a poisoned cake and flying for the rest of the film!

      “Hungarian emigres Robert Halmi in the U.S. and Josef Sefel up in Canada imported several Hungarian animated films to the U.S., and Sefel even co-produced two, Treasure of Swamp Castle and Cat City – both were dubbed in Sefel’s home base of Montreal, by Cinar. Halmi also commissioned Jozsef Gemes to direct the animation for two “Lollipop Dragon” cartoon specials.”

      Pretty good information here I didn’t know before Jeff! Reminded Jozsef Gemes also worked on “Hugo the Hippo” for Halmi back in the 70′s too.

      “And as for this mysterious UK dub of Vuk, I’m wondering if it might have been done by the same London crew who did the Hungarofilm export dub of “Mattie the Gooseboy”. That was released on VHS in the U.S. twice (by FHE, and again by Celebrity – the latter again credited RHI, but I’m not sure if Halmi had the U.S. license when it first came to video).”

      I recall the later “Just for Kids” release of Matt the Gooseboy that edits the film too (the earlier FHE release was left uncut like showing a huge pile of dead animals that the lord shot down on his hunting trip or when a dentist got kicked out of the castle and spit a tooth out of his mouth after not knowing the lord didn’t have a toothache and pulled a tooth out of his mouth). The UK dub on that was pretty OK for what it was.

      “FYI, the official Hungarian DVD of Vuk includes the U.S. English dub.”

      The Hungarian DVD for “Lúdas Matyi” also does as well for the UK dub.

    • P.S. Instead of taking over the American theatrical animation and young girls’ comic-book industries, Sanrio decided to spend its money creating something else. It was called “Hello Kitty”. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

    • They did Fred (it came out as early as ’74 in Japan), but I guess Sanrio wanted more on their plate when they made all those deals in the late 70′s to get into film production.

  • Further plumbing the depths of the obscure, I have a couple of DVDs of OLD MASTER Q that I turned up when I was looking for Hong Kong action films. I first heard about OLD MASTER Q from a couple of friends of mine who had discovered a rack of imported HK comic books in a grocery store in New York’s Chinatown, and came across this particular character. OLD MASTER Q mainly appeared in short one- or two-page gag comic strips, usually wordless so they were readily understandable even without knowing Chinese. The title character seemed to be a caricature of a traditional Chinese scholar though he was living in the modern world where he seemed old-fashioned and a little out of place but amusingly cunning enough to get by (or even too clever by half and getting his comeuppance). His stories were anything for a laugh, with of course no continuity at all. He could easily die and go to Heaven at the end of one story and turn up alive and whole in the next (though in this strip, a more likely outcome would be dying and the last panel showing representatives of the Christian, Buddhist, and Islamic heavens fighting over his protesting soul because he had previously been shown cannily attempting to improve his chances of salvation by professing belief in all three religions). I have both a collection of traditionally animated OMQ short cartoons and a feature-length movie that’s mostly live-action with Old Master Q himself and his two sidekicks as 3-D CGI-animated characters. Old Master Q is probably too culturally Chinese to export well, but people of Chinese origin I’ve asked about it get all misty-eyed with nostalgic reminiscences of happy afternoons in Hong Kong barber shops and reading a well-worn stack of Old Master Q comic books while waiting for a haircut.

    • The Old Master Q films were animated in Taiwan.

      Now, if only someone could find a copy of the unauthorized Taiwanese Doraemon film done by frequent Hanna-Barbera subcontractor Cuckoo’s Nest in 1983. Bootleg copies do exist, and a clip has surfaced on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOrvqoKgY2k

    • I once started to watch the 2003 “Master Q: Incredible Pet Detective” animated feature, but got bored and gave up about halfway through.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0396094/?ref_=fn_al_tt_8

    • Jeff sez…
      “Now, if only someone could find a copy of the unauthorized Taiwanese Doraemon film done by frequent Hanna-Barbera subcontractor Cuckoo’s Nest in 1983.”

      It’s weird just watching it!

      Fred sez…
      “I once started to watch the 2003 “Master Q: Incredible Pet Detective” animated feature, but got bored and gave up about halfway through.”

      Well you tried. I’m sure those movies do vary in quality and content over time.

  • Animation Scoop has just reported that Bibo Bergeron’s October 2011 French feature, “A Monster in Paris”, which has been mentioned often on animation websites during the past year as trying to get an American theatrical release, has just gone Direct To Video at Amazon.com. The comedy/mystery/musical feature has a “Phantom of the Opera”-like story with a giant musical flea replacing the Phantom.

    It’s too bad, but at least we can gt a copy for ourselves now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnCJTv5Az4A

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AWHDFLW/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AWHDFLW&linkCode=as2&tag=animationblast08

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0961097/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

  • Bothering to add iodine to the pain (update wise), I see “The Fearless Four” (the English version) is available to us US folk through Walmart’s “Vudu” service if anyone cares to want to see it already.
    http://www.vudu.com/movies/#!overview/128173/The-Fearless-Four

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