Sunday, April 1, 2012

THE HAND BEHIND THE MOUSE: The Ub Iwerks Story (1999, Leslie Iwerks)

The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story / DIR: Leslie Iwerks / WRITTEN: Leslie Iwerks / PHOTO: Shana Hagan / EDIT: Stephen Myers; Seth Flaum / NARRATION: Kelsey Grammer / MUSIC: John Debney; Louis Febre / PRD: Leslie Iwerk Productions / 1999 / 1h 30m.

INTERVIEWEES: Ollie Johnston; Chuck Jones; Mark Davis; Ed Friedman; Mark Kausler; John Lasseter; John Hench; Richard Edlund; Don Iwerks; Virginia Davis; Roy Disney; Leonard Maltin, Russell Merritt, and Joe adamsom.

Who was Ub Iwerks? A pioneering animator? An Special Effects Technician? A great and generous teacher? A fast work at drawing? A free-spirited Artist? Through the years a man's work comes to form his face; looking at his photo I think it's possible to have a glimpse of Ub Iwerks life. He was all of that and more: he was a Genius.

Leslie Iwerks made her directorial debut in 1999 with this documentary about the achievements of his grandfather, the animation legend Ubbe Eert Iwerks (1901-1971). Overcoming a tough childhood; Ub learned the basics of animation in a comercial art job; where he got to know Walt Disney. Together they planted the seeds of an empire: they were two sides of the same passion. Like Walt, Ub was obsessed with perfection, and like him he was not marked by conformity to customs: he didn't rest on his laurels.

An inside look into the art of Iwerks. The "circle drawing, perfect perspective, rithmic animation". His legendary ability to draw faster and better than anyone: an average of seven hundred drawings per day for Plane Crazy (1928); Gallopin Gaucho (1928); and the first Silly Symphonies totally animated by him - layout, design, animation-, including masterpieces like The Skeleton Dance (1929).

You'll see him experimenting with the mixing of live action and animation. From the rough techniques used in the Alice's Comedies of the 20's; to the subtle and fluid illusions of The Three Caballeros (1945) and Mary Poppins (1964). Remaining loyal to Disney when the Charles Mintz / Oswald the lucky rabbit affair. Of course, creating the Mickey Mouse character. Breaking with Walt a couple of years later to make his own path with the opening of a Studio, Celebrity Productions (selling up his shares of Disney). There he nurtured some future talents: Shamus Culhane, Irv Spence, Ed Friedman, Grim Natwick, Steve Bosustow, and Chuck Jones. And his work would become a tour de force of the improvisatory, anarquist and surreal animation style: Flip The Frog, Wille Whopper and the Comicolor Cartoon's.

Finally you'll see him retiring from animation, and becoming the head of the photographics FX laboratory back at Disney's; where he earned the reputation of great creativity for solving technical problems: helping with the development and improvement of the multiplane camera, the Xerox's inking process, the sodium vapor travelling matte...

A captivating documentary; with some flaws (like Walt's southern accent off-voice used to read the letters) but made - you can tell - with love for the subject. (by pelida77)

AVI / 800 MB / 1h 31m / Audio: Eng / (5 RAR parts)
Video: MPEG-4 / 720x480 (3:2) / 1069 Kbps / 29.970 fps / 0.103 Qf
Audio: MP3 / 48.0 KHz / 137 Kbps

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