Welcome Back! Today, we will watch The Seven Ravens. It is a German stop-motion-animation film. It was directed by the Diehl brothers, and this is their only film. It was released in Germany on Dec. 2, 1937. It was the eighth animated film to ever be released and the third to use puppet animation.
- The movie is based off the fairytale “The Seven Ravens” by the Grimm Brothers who are responsible for most fairy tales we know of today. (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc.)
- The movie was directed by Ferdinand and Hermann Diehl. It was produced by Puppentrickfilm. The screenplay is by Paul Diehl. The music is by Walter Pepper. The cinematography is by Alfonse Lufteck.
- It is believed to be the first German puppet animation feature-length film. This is literally the only information I could find on this film. I tried numerous sites, but like I said in my earlier post, this film is very difficult to find.
Before the Film:
Thanks to SwanPride, I was able to watch this film, because I looked everywhere, and I could not find it anywere. It’s not even available to buy on Ebay or Amazon. The video is in German, but I figured out how to add English subtitles to the video. So, if anyone needs help trying to figure out how to do that, I could help. Also, I do not own pictures, videos, etc. Anyways, let’s begin.
Germany: Village, Forest, Castle
Plot: (Synopsis by Hal Erickson)
“Based on a Grimm fairy tale, the animated The Seven Ravens is the story of a young maiden whose brothers are placed under a curse. Turned into the ravens, the brothers can only be released from their spell by the girl — who doesn’t know how to pull this off. Complications ensue, culminating in the girl being condemned to the stake for witchcraft.” http://www.allmovie.com/movie/v147429
Well, we are introduced to a jester who gives a long speech. The translation can get to be confusing sometimes, and it will be hard to understand, but it is better than nothing.
Anyways, we meet a blond girl (I’m going to guess she’s the main character except I don’t know her name yet), getting water. There are two maids there gossiping about her, and I guess she is in trouble. (I’m not sure why though) Well, we meet her mother who starts to tell a story. The subtitles go away when she is telling the story, and I went back, and they work. But, not when she is telling the story. So, I’m not sure exactly what happing.
At the moment, a father is with his children, who are rocking the baby in the cradle. The kids leave the room to go get water in the well, but the jug fell.
Everyone has gone to sleep. The young lady wakes up and talks to the man plowing the fields. The young lady goes into the middle of the woods and meets a man with a crossbow. I think she is looking for her ravens. He tried to make her leave, but she wasn’t having any of that. “I’m not going home as my reasons have found.” Basically, she’s telling him to mind his own business. (So, far I like her.)
The young lady crosses a tree trunk. There is a beautiful fairy/witch there. She reminds me of the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio. So, the Fairy says “Then should it seven years his brother’s reunion.” Then she just randomly disappears.
The young lady stays in a tree and all kinds of animals come up to her from squirrels, to deer, to bears. She even stays in the trees through snow.
Eventually, we are introduced to some men who are talking on a shot of some ravens. “I, the story of the seven brothers, the tour dates have become, but where are the banks get, the story goes, the objective one votes against while residing the rational Chen in the world. They have their life design with its human heart in the chest and waiting for the day, the fish looks come the establishment and what’s that sister became. I went away from home the British created. Now, I six years away no man but there is where is the left remained.”
So, the ravens are the seven brothers and the young lady is their sister. The young lady is with the deer, in a scene that reminds me of Sleeping Beauty. The Prince/King sees her as he’s about to kill the deer, but then stops. He is amazed by her beauty and offers to take care of her. She goes into his arms and he carries her.
The Prince/King and the young lady (who shall now be referred to as the Princess) just got married and are leaving the church. The Princess is in the bedroom, and the maids are washing when a raven comes in and steals a tower. Then the fairy appears. “Otherwise you will have your pictures not allowed.” (What does that even mean?)
The Prince is upset and wants her to explain, except I have no idea what she is supposed to explain. So, we get to a scene where the Princess looks sad and these guys are in a costume that resembles the KKK outfit except its black. I think that they all think she is a witch or something. They decide that she is guilty and send her to death by the fire.
The maid tries to comfort the Prince. The Prince visits the jail where the Princess is, and tells her that only she can fix this. As soon as the Prince leaves, the Fairy appears. “Is not Rome, I think younger sister.” This lady keeps on speaking in riddles basically. I don’t understand and I guess they’re sisters? What?
The Princess is marching to her death. The Fairy appears in the castle and grabs these “bags?” She throws it on the ravens and they transform into men. They hug and the Fairy urges them to go help her sister.
The Priest is reading “They were ready transferred spiritual sorcery and of working with processes spirits. She shall is the judgment of want because we do not know strengthened with fire from life to death.”
The Prince believes in his heart that she is innocent. One of the boys climbs on a horse and rushes straight away. The brothers rescue her and give her babies? Then it ends with the Jester talking. I’m not sure about what.
The animation is beautiful. The characters are pretty one-dimensional, but it seems to work for the movie. The movie reminds me a little of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. The story seems interesting, and I would like to read the Grimm’s version now.
The ending was awful. I’m not even sure if that was supposed to be the ending. I’m so confused and I have so many questions. 1) Were those her brothers? And, if so why did she stop searching for them? How did they become ravens? Was the fairy her sister?
2) If the fairy is her sister, why didn’t she just release her or something? She has magic?
3) Why did everyone think she was doing witchcraft? All we saw was a raven come in and steal a towel, and then they accuse her. I don’t understand.
4) What is up with the ending? It seemed so rushed. Are those babies hers? Is she going to die? Is she going to continue to be a Princess? What is happening?
Other, than the questions and the ending, I don’t really have any complaints. Also, maybe the questions were answered in the movie, and it was the translation that was off. I guess we’ll never know.
The movie was pretty good. The beginning and middle were good, although confusing at times, but the ending was terrible. The movie will leave you with tons of questions. The animation is brilliant, but the story doesn’t work as well. Also, why doesn’t the Princess or any of the characters have names? Besides, the few things, I would still recommend watching it. I’m not sure if children would enjoy the movie, because it is very slow-paced. So, it would just depend on the type of child. I was going to give the movie an A-, but that ending was really bad. So, the movie gets a B-.
What did you think of the movie?
Three more movies and we reach the 1940s. Next up is the Academy Review of Walt Disney Movies. Well, I hoped you enjoy. Thank you for reading and I bid you Adieu.