Tuesday, 19 October 2010

British animation circa 1957: family businesses and craftsmen's guilds

A year ago Michael Sporn reproduced a 1957 article from the British Film Academy's journal on the state of animation in the UK; it's definitely worth a read if you haven't seen it already.

The article captures the flavour of the period: emphasis is placed on Halas & Batchelor, with Larkins, Nicholas and Mary Spargo and Joan and Peter Foldes also covered. But for me the most interestng aspect is the author's comparison between British and American production methods:
IN America, most animation work is linked with the major studios. Tom and Jerry come from the M.G.M. studios, Popeye from Paramount, Tweety Pie from Warners; even the U.P.A. unit works under the general umbrella of Columbia, whilst Disney’s is almost a separate major studio in itself.

In Britain, animation is a family business, operating in the style of the medieval craftsmen’s guilds. The Units tend to stay together in small communities, usually in converted houses or tiny offices.

The post also contains a few stills from little-known films.

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