Monday, 28 January 2013

George Pal in Holland: Horlicks for Britain

The Hungarian-born animator George Pal will be forever remembered for the Puppetoons series that he created after moving to America, but in the thirties he worked in Holland and directed a number of advertising films for Philips and Horlicks.

A few of these shorts were made for the British market, and so Denis Gifford listed them in his British animation filmography. Reviewing the book in 1988 Ken Clark objected to the inclusion of these Dutch shorts, however, arguing that if they are to be classified as British then the American-financed Animal Farm and Yellow Submarine should not be.

The films have at least two ties to the British industry beyond their funding and their target audience, however. One is that the German animator Peter Sachs worked at Pal's studio during this time; Sachs would later move to the UK and become the main creative force behind the Larkins studio.

The other British connection emerged when an associate of Pal's, named Gerard Holdsworth, invited some of the former Dutch studio's former crew members to the newly-formed London company Signal Films; Ken Clark again has the full story.

First is Philips Cavalcade from 1934.

Next is On Parade from 1936.

Next up is the 1937 short What Ho, She Bumps.

And finally Sky Pirates from 1938.

Pal's studio made a few other shorts for British audiences: The Sleeping Beauty, Love on the Range, South Sea Sweethearts and Philips Broadcast of 1938 (AKA The Big Broadcast of '38). AWN's George Pal Puppetoon Site has information on these shorts here and here, along with various other films from Pal's Dutch studio which, I'm guessing, were not made for distribution in the UK.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this info; I didn't know there was controversy regarding "claim of ownership" of Mr. Pal's Horlick's advertising films. I guess that, as an American, I have no dog in this fight, so it hadn't occurred to me that these works were produced in Eindhoven for British audiences, and that that might throw their origin open for question. I have the "G.P. in Holland: 1932 - 1939" book, but I've not read it as I don't speak Dutch. I've scanned it and run some pages through Google Translate, but what was yielded was a tough read. :^D

    Are the screenshots on this page from a personal collection or are these available for purchase somewhere? I have never seen "Sky Pirates" in such quality, and I've not seen "On Parade" at all.