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History of Animation - Origins of American Animation (1900-1921) (2-DVD Set)

Price: £15.74
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Product details

  • Directors:
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, Full Screen, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio:
  • DVD Release Date: 27 July 2007
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,672 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


This fascinating DVD is a rare compilation of the earliest animated films. In effect, it represents an early history of this thrilling medium of communication. Animation came as a boon to producers who were looking for a vehicle to express their ideas in a form that defied logic and challenged imagination. Bringing inanimate objects to life on the screen would certainly make the presentation both amusing and memorable. Only in an animated film could the moon be made to talk or a cat sing a song and a can of your favorite cereals wink at you naughtily. The acrobatics that characters in an animated film could perform were well beyond the reach of live actors. In an era when special effects were unheard of, this was a huge bonus. Humor, the key element in these animated films was often achieved by emphasizing the more bizarre or through exaggeration. Technology has advanced far beyond anything early producers would have imagined or even hoped for. Yet we cannot forget the efforts of this adventurous lot who took movie entertainment to new heights at a time when the regular films were still trying to find a firm footing. We owe the Edison Manufacturing Co., the Vita graph Co. of America, International Film Services and the Mutual Film Corp. a huge debt for opening the doors to a fascinating medium that is so widely employed in entertainment, education and advertisement. Amazingly, the quality of films in this DVD is superbly preserved, and the features can be enjoyed without straining your eyes. Superb musical scores by Philip Carli and catchy headers make up for the lack of recorded speech. The caricatures are superbly crafted and each clip is a work of art. Based on strong moral themes, these films carry a relevance that has not diminished in any way. Be prepared for over an hour of amusement, historical insight and loads of laughs as you slip in this amazing DVD into your player.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Baker on 9 Aug 2008
I bought this DVD and it was worth every penny. The presentation is a bit amateur but the content is fantastic. I recommend this product and I will continue to buy from this production house.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Slapdash presentation of downloaded content - do not buy! 26 Dec 2006
By James L. Grosbeck - Published on
The Library of Congress "American Memory" website has since 1999 included an exhibit called "Origins of American Animation" featuring films from 1900-1921. This product is no more than the video files from that website, downloaded and carelessly burned to DVD, with ugly template title cards and slightly misplaced chapter marks. This is a 2 disc set for no clear reason - each disc only runs for 45 minutes. There are many other ways in which the presentation is shoddy and tasteless, but the most damning is the misleading and illegal inclusion of Mickey Mouse on the packaging. [...]
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Unusual Animation 1 May 2006
By Deacon - Published on
I ordered this DVD out of simple curiosity. I'd been watching a lot of modern animated films with computer graphics and I wanted to learn a little bit more about what cartoons were like before CGI graphics came into vogue.

I got more than I bargained for. These are pre-Disney era cartoons and as such are not as techonologically advanced as most that you see on television - but, they are very well done for what they are.

You can tell that the animators considered what they were doing "art" so they fill in every section of the screen with something going on - which meant that I was able to watch the DVD several times and see different things each time.

Of course, some of the clips are a bit scratchy, but what the hell, they were made by Thomas Edison and you have to expect some degrdation in film stock over 80 years.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great collection of films 4 Nov 2010
By Masashi Kimmimoto - Published on
This is a great title!

I bought this for a digital animation class, to understand what functions on suggested movement, and the difference of actual movement to persuasion. It was super informative, and actually entertaining. I have seen many of these clips in other examples shown in class, but this was a very good collective. I just ended up giving it to my prof. when I was finished with the class.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
history of animation - don't believe it 23 Dec 2009
By R. A. M. Verheul - Published on
Verified Purchase
this is a very poor product without an overall view of american animationfilms, most of the films are ended very abruptly, without the normal ending belonging to the original films themselves: cheap quality (and this has nothing to do with the original date of the material), expensive price! a shame! ask much, give less!
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Good Change From Disney 3 May 2006
By Bart - Published on
Watching documentaries on early animation techniques I sometimes get bored because so much time is spent discussing the way Disney revolutionized animation, but no time at all is spent talking about what animation was like before Disney started putting together his films.

In that sense, this DVD is a good, rare catch. Obviously if you are looking for Mikey Mouse, this is not the disk for you. These shorts come from about 10 years before Walk and company started making their films. Instead you get to see very early shorts that demonstrate how the concept of animation was being developed.

Some of the ideas were good and some were nowhere near as well done, but they all put other animation into context.
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