the rat catcher

4 10 2011

based on a medieval german fairy tale THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN czechoslovak film director JIRI BARTA produced in 1986 the 53 min long puppet-animated movie THE PIED PIPER ( ‘Krysař’ in czech, what means THE RAT CATCHER ). the whole jiří trnka studio KRATKY FILM was involved in what was one of the most ambitious projects in the history of Czech animation. research and preproduction time took six months, the filming with puppets up to 60 cm tall one year. barta’s ‘horror’-film creates a striking contrast to the disney version of the pied piper legend as a children’s comedy, his fascinating metaphor for a society focused on material demands comes to life in a very artistic style, heavily influenced by german expressionistic painters like EMIL NOLDE, MAX BECKMANN, ERICH HECKEL, CARL HOFER, ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER, MAX PECHSTEIN, KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF and KAETHE KOLLWITZ – but as well by medieval wooden sculpture artists like JOERG SYRLIN, HANS MULTSCHER and TILMAN RIEMENSCHNEIDER. interesting is the similarity in the tilted angles and twisted shapes in the environment of the 1920 silent horror film THE CABINET OF DR.CALIGARI directed by ROBERT WIENE. below some of the stylized sets of the puppet-animated film and the reference art that was probably used.

…following a collection of reference art that could have been used

© kratky film prague



25 07 2010

the well known fairy tale of the hare and the hedgehog was first illustrated by GRANDVILLE, LUDWIG RICHTER and GUSTAV SUS in the 19th century. the BROTHERS DIEHL produced 1937 in their puppet animation studio in munic, germany, the ‘race between the hare and the hedgehog’, a 15 min animated jewel. in their characterdesign they were inspired by the earlier illustrated versions. like GEORGE PAL, the BROTHERS DIEHL had developed their own technique that allowed them to change facial expressions of their puppets.

in the late forties the hedgehog character became the mascot of a well known german radio-, later tv-magazine HOER ZU, the rights were acquired and in 1950 the drawing artist REINHOLD ESCHER started the first illustrations of the character for the magazine. soon the hedgehog character became a merchandise hit in germany and in september 1951 the first MECKI-adventure as a weekly comic strip was born, illustrated by ESCHER, who was supposed to draw these adventures for the next 25 years. he invented several new characters as MECKI’S companions, CHARLY PENGUIN and the always tired SCHRAT. ESCHER succeded over the years to create his own universe with these characters.

in 1958 a well known illustrator, PROFESSOR WILHELM PETERSEN, was added to the weekly comic-strip team and from then on until 1969 the two illustrators were delivering the stories alternating.

additional to the weekly comics a series of childrenbooks was produced, starting in 1952. REINHOLD ESCHER illustrated the first book, all the following 12 books were done by PETERSEN. in later years several illustrators have tried to follow what ESCHER and PETERSEN had started, but nobody succeeded. the taste of the younger audience had changed as well and they preferred other heroes. here is a selection of historic photographs, magazine covers and comic/book illustrations.

© axel springer publishing / hoer zu
© reinhold escher / prof.wilhelm petersen
© eckart sackmann / comicplus
© F + H. diehl

here is a link to the REINHOLD ESCHER website with hundreds of pictures

if someone is interested, the reprinted MECKI books as well as the comic strip collections of the years 1958 and 1959 are available through AMAZON-GERMANY


20 05 2010

THE FOOL OF THE WORLD AND THE FLYING SHIP is a puppet-animation film from 1990, a COSGROVE HALL production, great britain. the russian muenchhausen-like fairytale has terrific animation, the puppets and the environment are beautifully designed. mark hall and brian cosgrove formed their animation company in 1976 in manchester. their most successful films are DANGER MOUSE, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, PETER AND THE WOLF, – all in puppet animation as well as traditional animation.

© cosgrove hall


27 09 2009

these are the final screen captures of JIRI TRNKA’S 1950 puppet animation film PRINCE BAJAJA



trnka bayaya last web

© LUTKOVI film praha + jiri trnka

more puppets

24 01 2009

I found some production photos from JIRI TRNKA’S animation feature film production A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and some better quality production stills. there is an additional production photo of BAJAJA.







22 01 2009


1959 JIRI TRNKA created his ultimate masterpiece, after the shakespeare comedy – A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. the puppet animation feature film is in cinemascope and 88 min long. as you can judge yourself in the following images it is the top of his life work, he visualized the pretty complicated story and designed all the characters. the animation as well as the design of a greek inspired phantasy world is beautiful, the wide format used well. in a later post I have some more images…




© KRATKY film praha + jiri trnka

The Hidden History of Oz

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The Hidden History of Oz

Discover the Secrets of an Enchanted World is the best place for your personal blog or business site.