Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Frog Princess

 
 

Ellis, since we are the same age, I'm hoping you can share this memory with me.  When I was very young I saw this cartoon on a local children's program, and it made such a huge impression on me I've never forgotten it.  Today I did some internet detective work and re-discovered it.  This cartoon was made by a Russian animation studio, Soyuzmultfilm, that was set up to be their version of Disney.  Another of their cartoons was the basis of The Space Explorers which I remember from the same show.  I never knew this cartoon was in color.  I'm quite excited to have finally identified it after all these years as the memory has been haunting me for decades.  Have you ever seen this?  It's an absolutely beautiful production of a classic Russian Fairy Tale.  If you watch it, try to imagine how one would feel about it as a five-year-old.

11 comments:

MrGoodson2 said...

Wow. That was something. Rotoscope obviously but very well done as far as style goes. After the Fraog Skin is burned was a lot of fun. Never saw this Tom. Thanks for the link.

MrGoodson2 said...

It would be hard to list all the Brothers Grimm plagiarism. Or is it the other way around? Did they make this old Russian story their own with several of their own versions.
Midas, etc.
The many morphs until we get to the deadly needle reminded me of Axe Cop. So ridiculous it feels like it came from a child like mind.

Rickart said...

Whoa... trippy. Never heard of seen this before. So strange.

MrGoodson2 said...

This is hallucinogenic stuff to five year olds. You're lucky they didn't have video tape or dvds when you were a kid. You would have watched it a hundred times.
No, the stuff I was haunted by for a long time were the very bad, UPA like, Col Bleep cartoons.
Like you comment, who knew they were in color.
What did you think, Tom, watching your black and whiite memory in color. I hated the Bleeps color. I wanted my monochrome memory back.

Tom Moon said...

I've read books of fairy tales from around the world and you would be surprised how similar they are. Each culture has versions of the same familiar stories, so they are probably all based on tales that came out of a common cradle of civilization. Have you ever read "The Epic of Gilgamesh" from Mesopotamian literature? It was written about 2500 years B.C. and it talks about a great flood sent by the warrior god Enlil to destroy mankind. One of the other gods, Ea, warns a man named Utnapishtim to tear down his house and build a boat, then take into the boat "the seed of all living creatures." He does this and survives the flood along with his family and the craftsmen who built the boat. The storm lasts six days and six nights and on the seventh the boat comes to rest on a mountain called Nisir. After seven days of being stuck on the mountain, Utnapishtim releases a dove and then a swallow, neither of whom find any land. Then he releases a raven that does not return because the water is at last retreating. Then Utnapishtim makes a sacrifice to the gods, who come and gather round him. The god Enlil, who sent the flood, is scolded by the other gods for sending the flood. In the end Enlil blesses Utnapishtim and his wife making them immortal.

Tom Moon said...

I loved seeing it in color! I also loved Colonel Bleep. Years ago Keith Freitheit gave me a tape of Bleep cartoons he didn't want. Now I can watch them on YouTube.

Tom Moon said...

Ah yes, rotoscoping. Avatar's computer graphics and motion capture is basically the twenty-first century version of rotoscoping isn't it? Just actors wearing digital make-up.

MrGoodson2 said...

Very interesting. Sleeping Beauty arrives 5 years after this came out. You can be sure Disney people were aware of it. Tom, do you have a memory of seeing Sleeping Beauty and linking up any style and story similarities between these two? The bad guy with his black lined robe, the mirrors. Lots of touches that were similar.
I liked the witch , Baba Yaga. I've seen her in another Russian fairy tale, live action. Fritz Leiber had a Baba Yaga inspired Sorceror.

Rickart said...

Hellboy has met Baba Yaga as well: http://www.flickr.com/photos/armchairdj/2009498845/in/photostream/

MrGoodson2 said...

That seems right that Hellboy would personally know her.
Sheelba of the Eyeless Face has the traveling mud hut on walking poles.
Mouser's Sorceror - anti-guardian angel.

Tom Moon said...

I don't remember linking Sleeping Beauty with this stylistically, but I see what you mean. What made a big impression on me was how realistic the rotoscoping made it look.

Of course I had no words for it at the time, no vocabulary at all to express my fascination with it. I couldn't even have told you that I liked it because it was "realistic". The whole thing just seemed "magical". It would only be as an adult looking back that I could say, "Oh yeah, that cartoon must have been rotoscoped."

I remember loving the scene where the Frog Princess's tapestry is pulled out of the box and dazzles the king.