Friday, January 18, 2008

Influence on cartoons

When I watch films I don't just watch them for fun, I always try to learn from them...Well that's a half lie, because learning from them is also fun!
One of my favorite things to do is "dig in" to cartoon/film history, especially to look into the influence behind my favorites, It's rare, but I'm very pleased when I find it.

John K. has often noted Peter Lorre as one of his favorite actors, The first film I happened to see with him was "The Maltese Falcon", I caught it one night on TCM, and I was hooked from the first minute...That film is totally cut to the chase! They never waste any time! The characters are so strong, and the pace was so tight, it's as if John Huston had me hooked by a fishing rod and pulling me into the TV, I just couldn't sit back in my chair. The scene that most interested me happened in the climax.

When John K. took Steve, kali and I to dinner last summer, we talked about our favorite Film Noir, John's favorite is THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, I mentioned that mine was the MALTESE FALCON...and that I've been meaning to ask him: Near the end of the Film: Peter Lorre snaps at Sydney Greenstreet....and before I could finish my sentence, John completes it: "That's where Ren and Stimpy came from!"

In his commentary on His favorite cartoon "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery" John notes a hilarious scene in it may as well be influenced by the same wonderful film

I like surfing the internet because I often find material that both inspires me and teaches me, As I was putting together the link list, I found Rosemary Clooney's wonderful performance of the song "Blues in the Night"

This was a great discovery because I often heard references to this song in many of Bob Clampett's Cartoons, Notably the banned and brilliant "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs"

If you'd like to see the complete cartoon in it's original release quality visit Steve at the ASIFA-Hollywood Archive

There's still a ton of stuff to discover, and Blogs can help us get there, so I hope folks such as Will Finn and Pete Emslie will continue commenting with "Useless Trivia"!

By the way, do you need a clue to find out which American cartoon the Miyazaki Lupin episode is based on? I'll give you a hint: It's a Fleischer cartoon from the 1940s.


Mitch Leeuwe said...

Great post Amir. All those videos feel so original. And I really love that scene from "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery" I really remember that scene good as a kid. I also like old movies but I don't see them so much. It's a real pitty we don't grew up anymore with that kind of movies (although in the Netherlands they show allot of old second war movies on tv, but that's it). I grew up with Jurassic Park, Rambo and Terminator beeing the first movies that impressed me as a kid.. Later on it become games.. I recently got a lesson on school about hitchcock, but that was all we got... I can't find such movies in the store either (I once found casablanca). But maybe I don't search hard enough or I am lazy but it needs to be encouraged more to watch old movies and old cartoons offcourse ;)

amir avni said...

Hey Mitch

Glad you like

I intend to post about Hitchcock,
I'm a fan of his work, my argument is that his most popular movies aren't necessarily his best.
But before I do that, I gotta do more research (watch more Hitchcock)

Chris S. said...

It's so great that you share all of your John K. stuff ... it's quite an inspiration. How blown away were you to receive that 7 page construction letter?!

In the previous post you comment on Miyazaki.
Are there any of his films that you like? I've tried to watch his films (or any anime, which I'm sure the true fans don't like him lumped into), and although they're technically impressive I just can't get into 'em. Maybe it's that I'm not so savvy to the cultural side of it - but I just find them difficult. A lot of people in my school want to do anime - and that's cool, I respect that, I JUST DON"T GET IT. I, like anyone in they're right mind, want to be a WB animator from the 40's!

amir avni said...

Hey Chris,
I like sharing, especially when others can benefit from it.
I was very excited and happy to get it.

I like Miyazaki's Castle of Cagliostro and Princess Mononoke, The episode I linked also has some good action scenes, He's a good filmmaker, he's not a cartoonist though.
My argument is that being open to someone's style or liking it is not the same as being influenced by it. Not connecting with it is totally natural, Art is very subjective, it's good to know what you like.

I generally think it's a better idea to look into directors you like and study their influence, you may choose to apply their work directly, but you'd risk scraping the surface if you stick to just that, that includes Miyazaki, who started his directing career in the 70s, after his influences have already made their impact.

I'm as well, much more influenced by old school WB, and I'm glad Folks like John, Steve and Eddie look into them, and their influence, and teach it to us.

Another good thing about WB cartoons is that you don't need to be familiar with American culture to understand them, all you need is to be human. There's references to culture, but they work within the context of the film and don't rely on you being familiar with it.

Ben Forbes said...

Hey Amir,

We have not met. I'm in Visual and Creative arts trying to get into Animation. I'm working on the portfolio assignments right now. *Shoots self*

You have some amazing stuff!

Jim St. James Stawnyczy said...

Hey Amir! Lovin' the post! Just thought I'd give you a friendly HEADS UP I got my art practice blog up and running (comments and all)! Try and swing by and check it out! I'm gonna try and update regularly.

Thanks again for the nostalgic list of Toons to watch!