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devil duck

classic animation

After we saw "Frozen" a few weeks ago, shalmestere wanted to refresh her memory of the original Hans Christian Andersen story, and came across the 1957 animated version by Russian director Lev Atamanov, which sticks much closer to the original story.  The animation is beautiful (for 1957 technology), and allegedly was a major inspiration for the young Hayao Miyazaki.

But something struck me as oddly familiar about the Atamanov movie: the "frame story" narrated by a pudgy magical guy who carries an umbrella, and who (a minute or two in) suddenly realizes he hasn't introduced himself yet, so he does.  Later on, when particularly scary or sad things happen in the story, we break back to the frame story to see him shivering or sobbing in sympathy.  Does that sound familiar?  What if the character were voiced by... say... Burl Ives?  "Rudolph" was filmed seven years later, in 1964, so it's not much of a stretch to imagine some conscious imitation going on.  (It might not have been popular to be viewed as "copying the Russians" during the Cold War, but an English-language dubbed version of the Atamanov film had been seen on U.S. television in 1959.)
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