Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

A German silent fantasy animation by Lotte Reiniger and Carl Koch.
An African sorcerer makes a magic flying horse and tries to trade it for a princess. The prince (Achmed) takes off on the horse and falls in love with a woman in a far away land. The sorcerer steals the woman from the prince who befriends another of the sorcerer's enemies, a fire witch. The witch gives the prince weapons and sends him to regain the princess. When spirits from her homeland steal this princess, Aladdin's magic lamp is required to enter their realm. Aladdin and Achmed get the witch to kill the sorcerer in order to retreive the lamp, defeat the spirits and save both princesses.
Wonderful! Fantastic! Beautiful! This is the oldest surviving animated film and it beats the living shit out of whatever is newest. At the time of writing, there's a whole slew of computer animated brainwashing flicks. Just like hospitals destroy health and schools destroy knowledge, the entertainment industry destroys art. As I watched this, I was awe-struck by hand painted backgrounds with silouette characters painstakingly animated onto them. These guys had to arrange each frame and photograph it with absolutely prehistoric cameras. Creative character design yeilded unique and memorable characters with lifelike movements out of just cut paper. The backgrounds and scenery were created very similarly and made unique and memorable locations and settings. The monsters were AMAZING! From the sorcerer/evil kangaroo at the beginning to what I would call the "Omega Caterwocky" (not pictured. I don't want to spoil the coolest monster!) at the end, all the beasts were fantastic, diverse and wild. There was even a wizards' duel a la Sword in the Stone (1963). The complex plot was obviously based on 1001 Arabian Nights, one of the best books ever written. I rate this best and it is HIGHLY recommended for those who can dig real art. WATCH IT!

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