Monday, April 23, 2012

Fairy Godmother




Look at the strength in this pose above!
What a beautiful thing to study, there is this warm personality combined with a great graphic composition. The Fairy Godmother in "Cinderella" changed quite a bit from storyboard to final footage. Her design used to be more realistic, along the lines of the Stepmother and Cinderella herself. 
I assume it was Walt's idea to enrich her personality by making her act absentmindedly and change her appearance into that of a warm, loving grandmother.
Brilliant actress Verna Felton supplied her voice, and her key scenes were animated by Milt Kahl, equally brilliantly. 
You would think that Walt might have given this character to either Frank Thomas
or Ollie Johnston, who always had a sensitive touch in their animation. 
But Frank had his hands full animating the Stepmother, and Ollie was doing the stepsisters.
It is obvious that Milt was able to do "warm stuff" as well, some of his previous assignments include Pinocchio, Bambi and Thumper.

The following Milt rough animation drawings show dimension and delicacy, especially in the character's face and hands.








24 comments:

  1. Such beautiful poses! Milt made it look effortless!!

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  2. Love Fairy Godmother :D She's such a grandmotherly character, but little things about her make her an adorable quirky old lady.

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  3. There is one scene that always bugs me.If you watch the video at 0:56 seconds in, The fairy godmother settles up into the apex of the pose with the wand up high and just freezes for a full 6 seconds or so.They did animate effects over the pose, but other than that, no moving hold or anything.I'm sure it was just an oversight, but noticible to me every time.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TKBHJeEljU

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  4. Love the early 50's style. So clean, but still cartoony and fleshy. Would not have thought Milt was the animator. Totally missed that one. Thanks for sharing, Andreas.

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  5. I am always amazed to see how clean his roughs are... So inspiring! Andreas, I noticed that on key 76 Milt indicated to work the arc for the head. Is that a note for himself, or is it intended to an in-betweener? I know Milt liked to do everything himself.

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    1. That arc was meant as a guide for the inbetweener.
      Milt liked to control everything himself, but if there were drawings
      that needed to be just mechanical inbetweens, he most certainly would not do those.

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  6. There's a moment right after Cinderella's unselfish, grateful acceptance of the "midnight clause"...That little bit where the Fairy Godmother says "Bless you, child" is one of my all time favorite Disney moments -- so genuine and heartfelt.

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  7. Marc Davis said in an interview that Walt considered Cinderella's transformation his favorite piece of animation the studio had done. To quote Mr. Davis, "this was [...] a part of this magic that was Walt Disney, this belief that good things were going to happen; good things were there."

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  8. @ BradConstantine I will never not be able to see that. LOL

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  9. Andreas maybe you can help. I sent a portfolio in to Disney back in 1989 and I got a call from someone at the studio. He was over the talent development at the time and I was so shocked to have gotten a call, I forgot the name of the person. I was wondering if you may know. I want to remember that man's name because he saw something in me. He said he started with Disney on pinocchio. I will fill stupid when I find out. I hope you can help thanks for all the great posts and all the years of great animation.

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    1. We didn't really have anybody in the recruitment department who
      had worked on Pinocchio.
      There was a Bill Matthews, who was around during Sleeping Beauty. You probably talked to Bill, who is doing well these days.

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    2. Thanks for the info that name does ring a ball.

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  10. Andreas, I just read that Ron and John are officially working on a new hand drawn film at the studio. Are you going to helping out?? Say yes! :)

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  11. very interesting!

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  12. Love seeing those pencil drawings. Thanks for posting.

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  13. This post, probably my favorite since this blog exists, is like a whish come true. What a fantastic character. Her voice is so heartwarming here. Just compare it with Dumbo's sever Matriarch and the bloody craziness of the Queen of Heart and you have a measure of Verna Felton's talent. I saw Cinderella one thousand times and you can't imagine the thrill to see the original drawings of this scene. A song's about to start and she acts so naturally, she's not anticipating anything. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo springs out naturally. Maybe if her look would have been closer to the original Mary Blair's concept the audience would aspect great things from her, at this point of the story audience just relax and have fun, not realizing that this tiny clumsy woman can make great things. Even Cinderella doesn't believe too much in her magical ability, but she's still bewildered by her apparition and, in any case, with no other chance. Telling the story that way the transformations come as a total, delightful, surprise. Strangly enough Edie Adams's representation of the character (In Rodgers and Hammerstein II's "Cinderella" with Julie Andrews, aired on TV just seven years after the Disney movie) brings closer resemblances with Disney's original concept arts of the Fairy. In my opinion Disney's character is way the best one, as a proof of Walt Disney's staging talent. Thank you very much for posting this!

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  14. I saw Cinderella one thousand times and you can't imagine the thrill to see the original drawings of this scene. A song's about to start and she acts so naturally, she's not anticipating anything. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo springs out naturally. Maybe if her look would have been closer to the original Mary Blair's concept the audience would aspect great things from her, at this point of the story audience just relax and have fun, not realizing that this tiny clumsy woman can make great things.


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  15. Cinderella's fairy is one of the best Disney character. I've seen the film in theaters several times and, as a boy, watched again and again the clip "Cinderella's Fairy Godmother" on super 8mm. The magic of this film will never end (don't know if any of the Pixar "Masterpieces" will live as much as Cinderella and others classic animated films) and I'm super extra happy because this summer in Italy, at the end of June, we will have a special screening of Cinderella in cinemas, to promote the blu ray! Thanks for the post, Andreas!

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  16. Awesome. nice job. thanks..
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