norman mclaren

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NORMAN McLAREN, ANIMATOR: Making the screen come alive

NORMAN McLAREN, ANIMATOR: Making the screen come alive

When a history of animated film is written, it is possible that the largest chapter about how this genre emerged will go not to Walt Disney or Otto (Felix the Cat) Mesmer but to a modest quietly spoken Scots-born Canadian, Norman McLaren. McLaren’s whimsical films charmed and delighted audiences for nearly 50 years. He entered the...

HARRY SMITH'S LEGACY REVISITED 2007: His grave is being kept . . . clean?

HARRY SMITH'S LEGACY REVISITED 2007: His grave is being kept . . . clean?

In 1952, the 29-year old Harry Smith -- an archivist and film-maker whose innovative work bears comparison with the genius of Elsewhere favourite Norman McLaren -- selected 84 songs from his collection of thousands of fragile 78rpm discs and -- through Moses Asch of Folkways Records -- released them as three double albums on the then-new LP...

QUENTIN TARANTINO: The director defining the landscape

QUENTIN TARANTINO: The director defining the landscape

There was a scene in Michael Palin’s much acclaimed travel-doco Himalaya which, even if you didn't see it, you'll recognise. It was of a towering mountain with clouds scuttling over at about 10 times the speed. Such an image is over-familiar these days -- you see it often in ads which indicates how cliched it has become -- but the...

AVATAR, a film by JAMES CAMERON (2009)

AVATAR, a film by JAMES CAMERON (2009)

The day after I saw Avatar in a 3D preview screening I wrote a blog about it: here is a modified and updated version of that to coincide with the DVD release. Despite the naysayers who emerged after the initial rush of enthusiasm, I haven't changed my opinion that this a terrific film . . .  I didn’t think much of James...

IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL: THE MYSTERY OF HENRY DARGER a documentary by JESSICA YU (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL: THE MYSTERY OF HENRY DARGER a documentary by JESSICA YU (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

When the reclusive and friendless Henry Darger died at 81 in Chicago in 1973 (after a brief period in the same poorhouse in which his father had died) his story really began. Shortly before his death his neighbours discovered that Darger's apartment was full of the most remarkable, sustained artwork. Over the course of his later life -- in...

HUE AND CRY, a film by CHARLES CRICHTON, 1947 (Madman DVD)

HUE AND CRY, a film by CHARLES CRICHTON, 1947 (Madman DVD)

The population in central London in the years after the Second World War was less than half what it is today, around 3.5 million. Even in the early Sixties it wasn't much more . . . which explains why, if you watch an early episode of The Avengers for example there was hardly a car on the roads and eerily few people. In the Forties -- when...

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