There are many Animated features that get lost to the ravages of time. This is especially true of the films that were created by smaller studios, or films from another country that saw an American release. I’ve been getting lots of good suggestions of things to look for, and find that many of them are films I saw way back then. Some haven’t seen a DVD or Blu-ray release, while others have.
Here’s a *short* “Top Ten” list of some that I’d personally love to see sooner than later in a better copy, and a few that are perhaps better left in the vault – in no particular order:
1) I Go Pogo (1980) The only feature adaptation of Walt Kelly’s wonderful Pogo Characters leaves some things to be desired in it’s script, but the design and animation are a lot of fun. The Chiido Brother’s studio has a poster from the film in their hallway (several of the brothers worked on the film) and since I last visited this orphaned film has been on my mind. The last it saw a release was on Walt Disney Home Video in the mid-80s.
Here’s a little clip showing a sneak preview of the film (from the 1980 CBS TV special The Fantastic Funnies):
2) The Adventures of Mutt and Jeff and Bugoff (1973) This is one of the oddest films ever made, but, like the slightly more seen Betty Boop for President, it uses retraced/colored cartoons. It’s impossible to describe how bizarre this is… last year Mark Kaulser replied in Cartoon Research, mentioning this film.
I think Something Weird Video had offered it at some point as well. In more recent years a collector friend of mine told me he has a nice 35mm print of it in his closet; it might be best for it to stay there! This odd film was produced by Fred Ladd’s Radio and Television film packagers.
3) Twice Upon a Time (1983). John Korty’s strangely wonderful animated feature was a huge favorite of mine in a bootlegged VHS copies several generations down. It deserves a better audience. Not too long ago CineFamily in Los Angels showed the film – here’s a trailer from their showing:
4) Raggedy Ann and Andy (1977).
I loved this film as a nine year old, and John Canemaker’s book on this film lost it’s binding completely from me pouring over it. It’s never been released on DVD or Blu-ray. Directed by Dick Williams, it was a career- launching film for some many amazing animators and artists as well as many studio veterans. High on my list of things I’d love to get the rights to release. It hadn’t really been seen in it’s original cinemascope format since it’s original release – until this copy became more available:
5) Hansel and Gretel (1954):
The charming and well-remembered stop motion Michael Myerberg – produced film really should be available in a high quality version. Let’s hope it is sometime soon, from the negatives or from perhaps an excellent 35mm Technicolor print. Mike Sporn had a nice article about this film on his splash a while back. Here’s short clip that looks like it was taken from the VHS release in the 80s:
6) Hoppity Goes to Town (1941). This is my all-time favorite film. There are various versions that have been released on DVD already- some are fairly good. Perhaps the best is this one is Studio Ghibli’s Japanese release of the film. It looks like they’ve done a digital restoration on it and the colors are beautiful. Now, if we can get a Blu-ray…
and here’s Robert Osborne and our own Jerry Beck introducing the film in 2012 on TCM’s:
7) Song of the South. At some point this will be available I’m sure. See Who’s Afraid of Song of the South by Jim Korkis for more info!
8) Robot Carnival.
A beautifully designed ‘anthology’ film created by nine different anime directors in 1987. A terrific example of an anthology film done right. Although Anime isn’t my usual cup of tea, this is a wonderful film (Kudos to fellow Cartoon Research columnists Jerry Beck and Fred Patten for their involvement in bringing this to the US back in 1990). I think the only ‘real’ version of this film is the VHS release, available on Amazon. Here’s a version taped off the Sci-Fi channel many year back:
9) Invitation to the Dance (1956). Ok, so this isn’t a completely animated feature, but Song of the South isn’t either! This film is on DVD, but would look just wonderful on Blu-ray. Here’s the trailer:
10) Momotaro’s Devine Sea Warriors (1945).
This children’s feature, produced near the end of the war, is a fascinating piece of propaganda film, and Japan’s first animated feature. It was available on VHS in the 1980’s, but as far as I know it’s still not available on DVD. There are some beautiful shots in this film, and a sequence in the middle (explaining the west’s pirate-takover of the east) done in a Lotte Reiniger-inspired style.
So, now.. what are YOURS?