Maleficent: For the Love of Purple & Green…

By Jason Haggstrom, October 31, 2012

It’s October, and with the changes of Autumn come fall colors. Between the descending leaves and the presence of pumpkins, we’re accustomed to seeing plenty of orange and yellow at this time of year. But the Halloween season brings forth another, less natural combination of colors. It’s a union of colors that resonates with me more than any other. It’s that luscious pairing of purple & green.

I have the distinct memory of seeing Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in the theatre as a kid. IMDb lists Sleeping Beauty as being re-released in September of 1979 (it’s original run was in 1959), which would have made me 3½. Seeing that film for the first time, and in such a magnificent setting, was a formative experience.

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Viewing Toy Story 2 Through a Vertigo Lens

By Jason Haggstrom, February 25, 2012

The films of Pixar are heavily populated with references to movies of the past, to the films most beloved by the studio’s many writer/directors. Consider WALL-E‘s villainous robot AUTO whose devilish red-eye brings to mind HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey; or The Incredibles‘ hilarious Edna as a doppelganger for real life costume designer Edith Head; or even A Bug’s Life whose entire plot—a defenseless village hires warriors to protect itself from bandits—is lifted right out of Seven Samurai. Most of these homages are created as comedy. They’re cinematic in-jokes for the initiated, connections that simply make one smile. But Pixar’s films are far greater than the sum of their homages. Most often they are great films, the kind that reveal hidden nuances with each additional viewing. Toy Story 2 is one such film.

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Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies Title Cards: 1950-51

By Jason Haggstrom, March 17, 2011

Following up on last month’s post on Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies title cards from 1948-49, I bring you a gallery of title cards from 1950-51. Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll start with the title card for The Wearing of the Grin. While I wouldn’t call this one of the great title cards in the set, it does feature the iconic clover leaves that are so closely linked to today’s holiday. The cartoon itself involves a pair of leprechauns who torment Porky Pig in order to drive him away from their castle and prevent him from finding their pot of gold. Along the way, Porky is given a pair of magic shoes that force him to dance and that eventually chase him through a surreal, Dalíesque wasteland. The Wearing of the Grin was to be the final cartoon to feature Porky Pig in a starring, solo role and it’s a great one. Porky had been Warner Bros. animation’s first major star but had been supplanted first by Daffy Duck (a phenomenon that was even satirized in toon form in Friz Freleng’s You Ought to Be in Pictures), and then by Bugs Bunny. After The Wearing of the Grin, Porky was relegated to the role of "straight man" in pairings with Daffy Duck or the non-speaking, house cat version of Sylvester.

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Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies Title Cards: 1948-49

By Jason Haggstrom, February 2, 2011

I have a real fondness for the title cards that precede animated shorts, especially those found in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Such title cards tend to feature the characters and settings in painted form which gives them a distinctly different look than how they appear within the cartoons themselves. The artists who worked on Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies produced some of the most stylish and iconic title cards I’ve ever seen. Most of them are elegant works of art that feature terrific design work in composition, layout, and typography (which was lettered by hand!). They’re just plain fun to look at!

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