November 11, 2006

The Animations Of Oskar Fischinger: 90% Kid-Friendly

fischinger_dvd.jpgRichard McGuire is not the only fan of Oskar Fischinger's animated films, but as with McGuire's own influence, there's much more I didn't know.

Fischinger was singularly focused on integrating music and visual art. And he created the abstract masterpiece sequence in Fantasia which brought Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor to life. But he also did an ad with a goose-stepping army of German cigarettes that prefigured "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and he did his own synched interpretation of that piece which at least one critic says is better than the later Disney/Mickey version.

And in 1920, he struck a deal to include advertisements for the recordings he used at the end of his animated shorts. Literally, the first music-promoting music videos.

But the reason you can't see Fischinger's work on YouTube or being sampled by McGuire is because the Fischinger Archive just released a 10-film DVD with some of his greatest works on it. I can totally see the kid grooving to this stuff [though I may skip over the marching cigarette movie.] The DVD is the first in a planned series, which would really raise my spirits, except the same phrase was used to describe the 1998 VHS release of 7 films, and well... I say buy it while you can and be happy about it.

[update: someone from the Center for Visual Music, which released the DVD corrected me by pointing out the cigarette ad isn't included on this one. Also, it's a big hit with the kids. Fischinger, that is, not cigarettes.]
Buy Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films on DVD, $29.95 [amazon]
Review: Oskar Fischinger's Visual Music [bright lights film journal]
Oskar Fischinger Archive [oskarfischinger.org]
Oskar Fischinger's Avant-Garde Animation [npr.org]

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