05/29/2015  
Inside the Court of Henry VIII on DVD Jun 16Infected on DVD & Digital Video Jun 2See You in Valhalla on DVD May 26HeForShe Campaign Features Star-Studded Cannes ConversationDespite The Gods on DVD May 19The Gunman on Digital HD Jun 16 & Blu-ray Combo Jun 30So Bright Is the View on DVD May 26

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Steven Spielberg's 'Jaws' to return to US screens for 4...
Trevor Noah to take over 'The Daily Show' on September ...
'Jonny Quest' hitting the big screen...
How Miley Cyrus Helped Get Grace and Frankie, Your New ...
Carrie Underwood Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Her 'Am...
Johnny Depp could face up to 10 Years in Prison...
Jon Stewart's big secret: Even Fox News might cheer 'Da...
Inside the Court of Henry VIII on DVD Jun 16...
Anne Meara Dies: Actress, Ben Stiller's Mother and Jerr...
'The Voice' Winner Tessanne Chin sings 'I Will Always L...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Image Entertainment presents
Gulliver's Travels (1939)

"Poor, poor foolish little people... Look what you've done."
- Lemuel Gulliver (Sam Parker)

Review By: debi lee mandel   
Published: October 17, 2000

Stars: Sam Parker (Gulliver), Pinto Colvig (Gabby), Jessica Dragonette (Princess Glory singing voice), Lanny Ross (Prince David singing voice), Jack Mercer (King Little)
Other Stars: uncredited
Director: Dave Fleischer

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for children of all ages
Run Time: 01h:15m:27s
Release Date: August 29, 2000
UPC: 014381944723
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B-C+A- C

DVD Review

It is sad to imagine how synonymous the names Disney and Warner Bros. have become with the history of animation, while the genre's innovators have all but vanished in the mist. These studios deserve their place, but the visionaries who made their modern success possible should continue to stand beside them. Fleischer Studios ranks among these. The brothers, Max and Dave, created what is arguably the most important work among the earliest animators, and Gulliver's Travels remains one of the finest feats of full-feature animated classics. Not so much for its story, which is thin and lacking—it seems more a song vehicle than a re-telling of Swift's tale—but for the beauty and genius in the art of its active illustrations.

The brothers fell prey to parent company Paramount who wished to ride the wave of success churned by Disney's Snow White in 1937. Gulliver, the ambitious result, shows the stress of its short turnaround time and the Disney-esque limitations the studio pressed upon them. The subtle fluidity of movement and the individuality of the Fleischers' own creations were lost in the race. Gabby and the mass of his fellow Lilliputians are Popeye/dwarf grafts and the young lovers seem to be weak clones of Snow White, leaving only Gulliver as remnant of the remarkable Fleischer style.

Some might view the use of Max Fleischer's own invention, the rotoscope (a device used to trace an actor's movements directly from live-action film), as animation heresy, but these might be the same people who have gobbled up computer-enhanced cartoons now for decades. Although I had not seen this film in many years, I had powerful childhood memories of the "realistic" characters I'd seen. Gulliver fascinated me like no other animated human I can remember.

The film opens with beautifully rendered illustrations that echo the blockprint style of the Japanese Ukiyo-E masters, in the stormy scenes of Gulliver's shipwreck that embody the glorious Fleischer style. But the look and feel soon disintegrates into a Disney-style cartoon, laden by song after song—reminiscent of how Warner Bros.' "Looney Tunes" was born. Gulliver washes up on a dark and welcomed beach, and does not move (by himself) for the next 35 minutes.

In Lilliput Castle, King Little and King Bombo plan the marriage of Princess Glory to Prince David. All is well until they argue over what song will play to mark the occasion. Their jovialities turn to declarations of war, and the young lovers are soon parted.

Meanwhile, the sleeping giant is discovered by Gabby, the (obnoxious) town crier, and is laboriously captured by the island's tiny inhabitants. There are songs and battles and songs and spies and songs and, finally, an anti-war moral before Gulliver sets sail again. Besides the wonder of the rotoscoped hero, the one true delight in the second half is the use of the bluebirds to mimic the emotions of the lovers.

Gulliver's Travels was the only feature-length animation the brothers Fleischer ever completed. Although considered a landmark, they returned to shorts and brought some of out most beloved characters to the screen over the ensuing decade until the studio was sold and all but forgotten.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.37:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: This transfer is most likely the best we will ever see again of this film, only the second feature-length animation ever created in original 35mm nitrate Technicolor. It screens at 1:37:1, which translates as a few pixels cropped off the bottom edge—this is only apparent in the original Paramount logo and the title frames, it does not seem to detract from the feature itself in any noticable way. Gratefully, the most care and attention has been paid to the truly memorable scenes—those that feature the magnificent details of the title character. There are signs of time and neglect, and the transient blues and violets have lost their regal depth. Still, there is nothing unforgivable in its imperfections and the result is worthy of this rare, non-Disney classic.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: I applaud the folks at Image for presenting us with a Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack that is more than sufficient here. The songs croon as tunefully as they likely did in the original theater runs, and I cannot imagine the horror of any attempt to split the sound into the surrounding channels! The volume is consistent throughout and the dialogue is clear. I especially enjoyed the subtlety of the ambient music and the "true" sound of the original Foley work. Simple and well suited to this lovely little story.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Snapper
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The original 1939 trailer is in somewhat less restored condition than the film, but retains the style and sound of the era that makes it a worthwhile addition to this disc.

From 1941, It's a Hap-Hap-Happy Day (07m:08s) was also included on The Great Animation Studios: The Fleischer Studios disc from Winstar that I recently had the pleasure of reviewing. The two seem in very similar condition.The Color Classic animated short stars Gabby, the well-meaning town crier from Gulliver's Travels, as the annoying Lilliputian wheedles his way into joining the Mayor's camping adventure.

The menu design is spare and unremarkable.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

I have fond memories of viewing Gulliver as an anticipated event throughout my childhood. While it has its moments, it has its lulls that are a bit more difficult to defend as an adult. Still, I loved it, and the high points I carried in my mind all these years did not disappointment me.

Recommended for children of all ages who can still appreciate its sweet and lovely message.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

movie, steven spielberg, jaws, summer blockbuster, fathom events, turner classic movies, television, the daily show, trevor noah, comedy central, jon stewart, animation, jonny quest, action adventure, robert rodriquez, netflix, grace and frankie, miley cyrus, jane fonda, lily tomlin, music, carrie underwood, american idol, memorial day, may 25, 10th anniversary, celebrity, johnny depp, australia, yorkies, quarantine laws, comedy channel, stephen colbert, new york times, documentary, comedian, anne meara, jerry stiller, ben stiller, sex in the city, law & order: special victims, memorial day concert, tessanne chin, nick fradiani, sci-fi, drama, a very murray christmas, bill murray, sophia coppola, george clooney, amy poehler, chris rock, paul shaffer, rashida jones, the late show, david letterman, ed sullivan theater, taco bell, dancing with the stars, abc, rumer willis, riker lynch, noah galloway, val chmerkovskiy, mile high club, plastic surgery, saturday night live, louis c.k., racism, israel-palestine, movies, cannes, jackie, jackie kennedy, darren aronofsky, pablo larrain, pitch perfect 2, rebel wilson, super fun night, derek hough, nastia liukin, fox, jennifer lopez, harry connick jr., keith urban, ryan seacrest, gary newman, daytime soap, general hospital, anthony geary, genie francis, frank valenti, mad max: fury road, mel gibson, george miller, tom hardy, hugh keays-byrne, charlize theron, the cw, arrow, the vampire diaries, supernatural, the originals, jane the virgin, the flash, the 100, izombie, reign, beauty and the beast, action, afc football championship game, jim mcnally, john jastremski, tom brady, bill belichick, prince, baltimore, rally 4 peace, freddie gray, 3rdeyegirl

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store