I am sorry I haven’t written in so long, but I decided that I would wait until summer came. I was very overwhelmed and thought if I had free time I would be focused better. But, I am back now lol. Now, let’s start with The New Gulliver which frankly doesn’t look very interesting. Also, I do not own pictures, videos, etc. I found the pictures on google.
- The New Gulliver combines live-action with animation, and is the first animated film to be made in the Soviet Union. The Director is Aleksandr Ptushko from the Mosfilm studio. It came out March 25, 1935.
- The movie had widespread acclaim and earned Ptushko a special prize at the International Cinema Festival in Milan (Italy). In 1934, it won the 2nd International film in Venice, the award “For the Best Program.” In 1935, it won the International film festival in Moscow, the certificate of honor of Mosfilm studio.
- The movie was written by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Grigori Roshal, and the director. The original tale “Gulliver’s Travels” was written by Jonathon Swift in 1726. I’ve never read the book, but there are a ton of movies made of it. So, it must be good.
- This would be Ptushko’s first feature film. The New Gulliver was one of the first to combine stop-motion animation with live-action footage. (The first few were by the man responsible for King Kong and the Lost World: Willis O’Brien.) Ptushko had muh success after this film. It helped him set up his own department, “the Ptushko Collective.” They produced another 14 animated shorts from 1936 to 1938, and one feature The Golden Key in 1939. Ptushko has directed ten feature films, numerous other featured works, and an abundant number of shorts.
- The New Gulliver featured 3,000 different puppets. Each puppet had a detachable head which helped convey emotions. “Ptushko’s technical experimentation in The New Gulliver also extended to the soundtrack. While recording the dialog of the actors for the Lilliputian puppets, Ptushko drastically raised the sound frequency of the voices until they attained a high-pitched, almost squeal-like timbre (Mark Vinitsky, “An Ordinary Genius”). The original soundtrack for the film rapidly deteriorated and was restored at Mosfilm Studios in 1960.” (http://www.rusfilm.pitt.edu/2002/if2/new-gulliver-program-notes.html)
- While looking for the history of this movie, I found a review from the New York Times published in 1935 on this movie, “In addition to the technical finesse with which the puppets are managed, the film has so much genuine wit in its sly assault on bourgeois institutions that its sledgehammer propaganda only partially limits its effectiveness.”
The island of Lilliput.
Plot of the Movie:
“The story, a Communist re-telling of Gulliver’s Travels, is about a young boy who dreams of himself as a version of Gulliver who has landed in Lilliput suffering under capitalist inequality and exploitation.”
We start off with live-action and we begin the movie with some sailors (?) marching and singing. They’re basically singing about going to the boats and the ocean. I will warn you now, they’re singing is kind of “harsh.” So, make sure the volume isn’t that high, or it will hurt your ears lol. There is this giant speech and then the children climb aboard the sailboat and swim away. The kids are playing, blah blah blah, and then the little boy begins to read a book. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed, Gulliver, than you are correct. The teacher reads out loud to the children.
Then, a “pirate?” boat randomly appears, and a man with no shirt is screaming and shooting his gun. The man (more like older child) named Gulliver appears on the boat, and the pirates don’t even know who he is. (How does a man just appear on a pirate’s boat and no one notices?) The half-naked pirate starts hurting one of the slave children, and Gulliver yells at him. Also, Gulliver who looks like he is 11 is steering the boat. He leaves the wheel to go fight with the half-naked pirate. Also, apparently Gulliver is a Doctor.
All the pirates start attacking Gulliver and the slave-child. They’re all fighting each other. Pirates are going overboard while there’s a giant fish there. The pirates do what Gulliver says. The boat crashes?
Finally, after almost 16 minutes we finally reach the animation part. (You could probably skip the first 10 minutes, nothing important and pretty boring.) So, Gulliver is tied up on a beach, and the little people are all around him. They have tiny cannons near him. They even have a tiny car.
At like 20 minutes of the movie (nothing so far has really happened), but they appear to be a courthouse, and one of the guy there is just talking. Then his tongue comes out and I don’t know it looks really weird. It made him appear to be some kind of demon or something. So, the little people start beating each other up. Also, the little people keep saying Gulliver’s name, but he hasn’t even woken up yet? How do they know his name?
The King decides that Gulliver will be their soldier. They are driving Gulliver around, and he’s still tied up, and passed out. He must be having a nice dream to sleep through all that. Eventually, they start shooting cannons at him which he sleeps through. Then the King on his tiny horse, climbs on top of Gulliver, and starts poking Gulliver’s nose with his stick. Gulliver finally wakes up and looks very confused. So, when the King was poking his nose, Gulliver sneezed, and him and the horse went flying. So, at 30 minutes, it comes back to the King, and his face was like shocked, and he was screaming. It was hilarious.
So, Gulliver is eating. We get to a scene where it’s sort of like a conveyor belt. But, there are pigs and other animals on it, and they chop it up, and put in in the big pot. It’s pretty gross. Then we get to a ballet scene and a man dancing. Some parts look really weird, like when they talk. The voices don’t really seem to match with their mouth. Then a man brings a cage of even tinier people. He acts like the ringmaster and starts whipping them. Gulliver gets angry. Then the Queen starts singing about their way of life. Gulliver insists that she’s lying. Gulliver tries to start a revolution, urging the workers to rise up.
Gulliver goes to sleep, even though he slept all day. The people want to kill Gulliver, but he is woken up by a worker who warns him of their plan. A riot breaks loose, and the royals start hiding themselves in their suitcases. Gulliver pretends to drink the poison.
Everyone is in war, and the royals lose. Gulliver frees the people. Then it goes back to the live-action, and the boy realizes he is only sleeping.
I haven’t read the original, but I’ve heard this is a pretty close adaption. I don’t have any way to verify that. Some of the animation wasn’t that bad. I thought the King was funny, or well his reactions were funny. He has the creepiest laugh I’ve ever heard.
The little people are really creepy looking. I probably wouldn’t recommend this movie to children. Those little people would’ve given me nightmares if I was a child. Also, they would probably be pretty bored. I was literally starting to fall asleep on this movie. It is pretty boring. I’m not sure what the point of the movie was. Nothing seemed to really be important or necessary in this movie. Nothing seemed to happen either. It was just weird and very boring. Also, I’m not really sure why it’s in the animation department, when this movie is almost entirely live-action.
I did not like this film at all. I could barely keep my eyes open. I was bored throughout the entire movie. A lot of the parts of the movie could be removed, and it wouldn’t make any difference to the movie. The only part I would recommend watching is the King’s reaction at the 30 min mark. It is hilarious and if you can, you should watch him laugh. The animation isn’t very good. It might be good for its time, but it does not come close to standards now. I don’t understand what the point of this movie was at all. I wouldn’t recommend this movie. I’d give it a D-.
What did you think of the movie?
The next movie (hopefully) is The Seven Ravens. It was made in 1937 in Nazi Germany. I’ve never heard or seen of it, but it looks interesting. Anyways, the reason I say hopefully is because I can’t find this movie anywhere. It’s not on YouTube or the internet. I even thought that maybe I shall just purchase it, but it’s not even on amazon or eBay. So, I shall keep looking and hopefully I can find this movie. After, all we have left are the Academy Review of Walt Disney, Snow White, and The New Gulliver, and then we move on to the 40s. See you next time and thank you for reading!