Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Bastille Day 2014 From Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog

Here's the answer to the question, "are there any unbelievably cool cartoons from France we can post in honor of Bastille Day?" Yes - this one, a gem produced in 1934.

This classic and most original animated short was produced by painters Anthony Gross and Courtland Hector Hoppin.

The following version of La Joie de Vivre, one of three animated films produced in Paris by Hoppin (1906-1974) and Gross (1905-1984), is shorter but with a bit sharper image quality.

In either case, the film, which looks forward to the ambitious animated short subjects we'd see from the likes of National Film Board Of Canada and Zagreb four decades later, elicits a lusty Viva La France!

A less lusty but still awed and respectful Viva La France goes to their second cartoon, Fox Hunt, released in 1936. They started work on an animated version of Around the World In 80 Days for Alexander Korda, but war was declared before the film could be finished.

Now, if the name Anthony Gross sounds vaguely familiar to you, it's with good reason. Gross not only enjoyed a lengthy and astonishingly prolific career as a painter, illustrator and printmaker, he was, along with Edward Ardizzone, among the British born official war artists who documented the battles of World War II.

This included the North African Campaign, front line battles in India and Burma countering the strategy of Prime Minister D-Day invasion of Northern France, as well as following the Allied armies into Paris and Germany. Gross was there at the meeting of American and Russian forces at the River Elbe on April 25, 1945.

Acknowledgements, A.K.A. the appreciative tip of the Max Linder/Raymond Griffith top hat, go to Jerry Beck for posting The Fox Hunt, the West End At War website, and most of all, comic artist, animator, director and film historian Milton Knight, who covered the animated films of Anthony Gross and Courtland Hector Hoppin in a super article, The Shock Of The New, that posted on the Cartoon Research website on January 1.

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