Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Pink Elephants on Parade!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pink Elephants on Parade!


A visual tribute to the "Pink Elephants" sequence in Dumbo (1941)



Update 10/27: Please visit Bill Benzon's astute and highly entertaining analysis of this sequence. I've also borrowed the third-to-last image from his site; it was not included in the original post but I think it adds a nice bit of punctuation to the piece.

9 comments:

Stephen said...

Very nice indeed, MovieMan.

I'm not going to talk about it being a 'trip' or 'psychedelic' but it is impressive.

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, Stephen - yeah, animation was always way ahead of the game in some regards; sometimes I feel watching a 40s cartoon that I'm getting a closer feel for the era (maybe its inner life) than in a more subdued live-action film. And yeah, this and Fantasia are both pretty trippy - and the Pleasure Island sequence in Pinocchio is an all-out bad trip!

In all seriousness, I find that for all the talk of Disney not being edgy enough (eventually true) or too "sweet" or whatever I find his 30s cartoon shorts a surrealistic blast, there's something weirdly mythic and uncanny about them, and I actually prefer them in a lot of ways to the later Looney Tunes which are a whole lot of fun, but not quite as "weird".

Just Another Film Buff said...

Ha. Lovely post, MM. I love this sequence. Very daring and risky. ANd the most striking part of the movie too...

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, JAFB. The rest of Dumbo's animation is a bit rudimentary by the studio's standards, partly because this was quickie to fill in time between Pinnochio/Fantasia and Bambi and partly I guess because of the labor tensions disrupting the studio, with an impending strike during Dumbo's production. At any rate this sequence gave the animators a chance to cut loose as they weren't really doing in the rest of the film...

bill benzon said...

Thanks for this post. Nice to see all the frame grabs. You might be interested in my analysis of the sequence:

http://new-savanna.blogspot.com/2010/10/pink-elephants-parade-on-web.html

MovieMan0283 said...

That's fantastic, Bill - I've just commented on your posts over there and I highly encourage any readers stumbling across this to follow your link. In fact, I've added it to the main post.

MovieMan0283 said...

I also added that explosive image to the tail end of this line-up; I don't usually modify so long after the fact but it seemed worth the revision.

bill benzon said...

It's difficult to "frame grab" this sequence since most of it is unconventional. The visual action is always taking unexpected turns.

MovieMan0283 said...

Indeed - I didn't know where to stop!