blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Storybook Review (1946, Ray Harryhausen)

The Storybook Review consists of four nursery rhymes told in stop motion animation. Director and animator Ray Harryhausen has a varying degree of success with the four, usually due to storytelling.

For example, the Mother Hubbard entry goes on way too long even though it’s shortened from the original. Some of the problem is the lack of Mother Hubbard’s personality–Harryhausen animates the eyes beautifully (especially on Little Miss Muffet in the first one), but not much else on the face. There are eerily real movements to the body, but the faces are rigid except the eyes. Or when Harryhausen fades to a different head.

The use of fading only really works on Humpty Dumpty, as Harryhausen makes what appear to be a real egg (albeit a very large one) come to life. The fades work okay on the eggshell.

Review is expert and fun, but the form constrains it.

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