The Tale of the Fox (Le Roman de Renard) (1930)
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this was starewicz's only feature, a stop-motion masterpiece based on the medieval tales of reynard. brilliant, beautiful, on youtube...
The characters are not particularly well developed and the narrative feels a bit episodic in the first half, but The Tale of the Fox has astonishing technical aspects - the soundtrack is solid, the art direction and set design are splendid and the animation is advanced; the story is also very involving, the slapstick quite good and even though it hasn't aged quite as well as that year's other classic animated film Snow White, it still holds up pretty well and is a hidden gem from the early days of feature animation.
It's not so much one tale as a bunch of short tales strung together to make a feature. This was in fact the only feature from Starewicz, the early master of stop-motion animation. Very episodic but extremely clever, and a remarkable technical achievement that set the bar for stop-motion for many years. It's also rather cynical, showing how the devious, cheating fox always manages to get out of every situation and never loses his control over all the other animals. Very unjustly overlooked. Hopefully the homage paid to it by the recent Fantastic Mr. Fox (it owes an awful lot to Starewicz) will get more people to notice this one, but somehow I doubt this will get the recognition it deserves.
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