With Thunderbean ‘world headquarters’ moving out of the basement here and into an actual office, I’m finding time to work a little more on the titles for this year. As we’re working on the Snafu Blu-ray, I’ve been looking through all the materials that were transferred on the Army/Navy Screen Magazine, some with Snafu in them, some without. These were all transferred in HD, so we’re dusting them off for the Snafu blu-ray set. Right now, I’m debating putting ALL the Army/Navy Screen Magazine animation on the Snafu set (even the Non-Snafu episodes) or having an HD version of the ‘Cartoons for Victory‘ materials with these. What do you folks think would be best?
The two shorts I’m posting this week (below) were produced by the Disney Studio, and were among the harder to see of the war films made by the studio. They remain, as so many war shorts, interesting looks back into history more than having great entertainment value. I was happy to be able to transfer them from the 35mm materials (both of these from the Fine Grain Master Composties) at the United States National Archives. Both appear on the ‘More Cartoons for Victory‘ DVD from a few years back.
These films were more than likely designed & storyboarded at the First Motion Picture Unit, comprised of artists from various studios. Because they were produced as past of the Army/Navy Screen Magazine, they don’t have the usual Disney credits on them. Both are fairly dry, concentrating on the information at hand. It would be great to see the original storyboards on both these shorts for comparison to the studio’s styling. One short on the More Cartoons for Victory, “Weapon of War”, was boarded at FMPU beautifully; what appears in the animation from UPA is virtually identical in design and composition.
I hope to head the National Archives again sometime soon to look for various materials. I’ve promised a friend that I would try to track down things on his longtime list of want-to-sees..
The first here, Another Chance (1944) is barely animated- almost all stills. It explains how the newly founded United Nations works, and why. It’s a fairly straight forward explanation to the troops on the formation of the United Nations. It’s understandable why this particular film was handled in animation/graphics: it does a good job of explaining simply many ideas that would be hard to show in any other way.
Voting for Servicemen (1944) was included as a special addition to the Army/Navy Screen Magazine to help the service men and women understand how they could vote while overseas, how the system works and why it’s important. It’s funnier at the beginning especially, and interestingly similar to the format of the educational Disney films to come in the future. It’s a good explanation of how the voting process works for service people.
The production, even with a limited budget, is top notch, with excellent design and execution of graphics especially. To me, it’s interesting to see how the Disney Studios animated Snafu, but also odd to see several different art styles unitized in the same film. Some of the posing is quite nice, while other poses / expressions are not as well drawn.
The lack of these particular films showing up in 16mm war prints is understandable. These were some of the later films produced for the war, and more than likely only appeared once in the Army/Navy Screen Magazine. Because they arn’t as entertaining as the Snafu shorts, it makes some sense that the were not kept.
That’s the report from Thunderbean-Land for now. Have a good week everyone!