: : : Animaland

Story

David Hand came to the Disney Studio in 1930, where he directed 70 short cartoons, served as supervising director on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi and as animation supervisor on Victory Through Air Power. In 1944, he moved to England to set up an animation studio: the shorts he produced there have not been seen in the U.S. in nearly 50 years. Although these cartoons are interesting historically, they're not particularly funny or entertaining. The characters are highly derivative: Ginger Nutt, the squirrel who appears in four of the films, is essentially Thumper with shorter ears and a longer tail, but Ginger lacks the vivid charm that makes Thumper come alive on the screen. "The Australian Platypus" is too predictable and too cute--problems that the stolid pacing only amplifies. "The Ostrich" recalls the "Swing Symphonies" Walter Lantz made around the same time, especially the production number "Don't Hide Your Head in the Sand," performed by hieroglyphics in an Egyptian ruin. Although it goes nowhere, that sequence showcases a graphic imagination missing from the other films. The Animaland series reveals that David Hand, like animation greats Ub Iwerks and Bill Tytla, never equaled the work he did for Walt Disney. --Charles Solomon

Cast

David Hand

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