Posted by: bluesyemre | September 3, 2012

Silent Animation preserved by UCLA Film and Television Archive

  • The collection of animation at UCLA Film & Television Archive from the years 1930-1950 is practically without peer. Nitrate prints of classic cartoons abound, as do original negatives or best-surviving printing elements for many of the films from animation’s “golden era.” Included here are most of the Max Fleischer and Famous Studios Paramount subjects; the George Pal “Puppetoons”; the independent productions of Ub Iwerks; many of the Van Beuren “Rainbow Parade” shorts; a large number of Warner Bros. cartoons; and a recent acquisition of “Terrytoons” still being sorted through as of this writing. By contrast, the pre-1930 silent animation holdings at UCLA are less extensive and, correspondingly, less impressive. However, with the extremely low survival rate for cartoons from the silent film era, this is to be expected. It has been estimated that eighty- to ninety-percent of all silent films–not just animation, but feature films and other short subjects, as well–have been lost to neglect, mishandling, vault fires, and nitrate decomposition. Given those figures, it’s fortunate that UCLA has as much silent animation as it does. That includes a sizeable number of “Aesop’s Film Fables”; original negatives to several dozen “Inkwell Imps” and “Out of the Inkwell” cartoons; scatterings of prints and elements from other series, such as “Felix the Cat” and Disney’s “Alice Comedies”; and the occasional one-shot subject that survives today only as a single print. Although best-known for its restoration of feature films, UCLA Film & Television Archive has been preserving animated films for more than three decades, with over one hundred titles to its credit. The short subjects, trailers, and promotional films presented here provide a representative sampling of that work. They have been preserved from best-surviving and sole-surviving 35mm nitrate and 16mm prints, showcasing many forms of animation spanning the entire silent film era.

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