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Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00

‘John Hubley 100’ highlights John and Faith Hubleys’ superb animation + Video

Adventures of an * Adventures of an * michaelspornanimation.com
Written by Diane Carson
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John Hubley distinguished himself as a Disney animator contributing to Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Fantasia. He created Mr. Magoo in 1949 and founded Storyboard Studios in 1953 after being blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with the House Committee on Un-American Activities. After moving his studio to New York in 1955, he created animated films with his wife Faith Elliott.

The compilation film "John Hubley 100" marks the 100th year of John's birth and features nine imaginative, innovative pieces from 1956 to 1970. Several selections, each running about ten minutes, showcase the combination of jazz with vivid, impressionistic watercolor sketches. Benny Carter, the Oscar Peterson Trio, Quincy Jones and Ella Fitzgerald grace and interpret exquisite animation. Among my favorites, "Adventures of an Asterisk" shows this punctuation mark morphing into clever personas and shapes.

Occasionally political themes take center stage, as in "The Hat," Parts 1 and 2. In it, a soldier's hat accidentally falls across a border in the middle of nowhere leading to a military standoff. Two soldiers, voiced by Dizzy Gillespie and Dudley Moore, debate those lines that divide people from each other. The Hubleys also perfectly capture a child's playful perspective in "Windy Day" and the 1959 Academy Award winner "Moonbird." Unprecedented at the time, the Hubleys incorporated their own children's voices instead of using adult actors, and the effect is as striking as it is right. The Hubleys' films are lively, upbeat, and as thematically and stylistically impressive today as they were in the mid-20th century.

This nine-film program screens in a way that will do it justice, in beautiful 35-mm film prints. The St. Louis premiere of "John Hubley 100" is at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 6th through Tuesday, April 8th. For more information, you may call 314-968-7487 or on the web at: Webster.edu/filmseries.

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