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Work on 'Bambi': movement and color


Walt Disney and the ostriches waking
Jules Engel Film-maker
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I looked at the man as somebody who had an enormous talent and that's very private talent, it's not spread around. But he had that. He didn't flaunt it. He never did that. It was simply, he explained why things don't work. And I listened to him, I heard him and he was right. Because he had a way of thinking and that wasn't your way of thinking, that was his private domain. And that domain, no-one could press or push or shove. And from that domain he was teaching you. You gained by his… when he looked at the ostriches, for instance, in that number and they were asleep, you know? They were all curled up. And slowly, they came up, you know? And it was so clumsy, so ugly, that he told them, 'How would you behave if you're asleep'? You know? You would put his head down, you would come out of that, you make a [sound]  with your mouth, you know? He went through a whole thing: what an ostrich can do, how he or she would behave, you know? How much you could get from it. So he was teaching them at the same time and he was not even aware that that's what he's doing. It wasn't just a question of helping. No, he was teaching them. They knew from nothing. They could draw, but when it comes to this aspect of it, which is timing, and put this other stuff out in front of the world, they didn't have the touch. What gave them that touch? So to a large degree he was teaching them. He was not aware that he was teaching them, but that's what he was doing, yeah.

The late Hungarian-American film-maker Jules Engel is best known for his contribution to the field of animation. His work includes the dance sequences in Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' and the creation of 'Mr Magoo'. His films and lithographs are housed in museums all over the world and have won many awards.

Listeners: Tamara Tracz Bill Moritz

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

William Moritz received his doctorate from USC and pursues parallel careers as filmmaker and writer. His forty-four experimental and animation films have been screened at museums in Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo, among others. He published widely on Oskar Fischinger, James Whitney, Bruce Conner, the Fleischers and 200 pages of animation history for an AbsolutVodka website. He wrote chapters for the "Oxford History of Cinema", appeared in several television documentaries, curated art exhibits and received a lifetime achievement trophy from the Netherlands Royal Academy for his work with visual music. He has served on film festival juries and received an American Film Institute filmmaking grant. His poetry and plays are also performed and published. He is a leading expert of Oskar Fischinger and recently published a biography of him. He teaches at The California Institute of the Arts.

Tags: Walt Disney

Duration: 1 minute, 59 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008