Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Woolie, Tramp and the Rat

Woolie Reitherman was an expert in animating action sequences such as fights and chases.
In Lady & the Tramp he drew the street dogs as they threaten Lady before getting into a brawl with Tramp. But Woolie also animated the rat fight toward the end of the film.
I love what he once said in an interview about animating aggressive confrontations. He felt that among all the action involved there should be a moment or two of pause. The opponents freeze for a second to catch their breath or re-evaluate the tense situation.
I see this kind of stuff over and over again in wildlife films, where two lions battle furiously, then stop as they stare at each other. Then all of a sudden the altercation starts over again.
This is one of the reasons why good old Disney Animation feels so believable and engaging, the best footage is always based on observation of real life.
Now I sound like Eric Larson teaching us the philosophy of Disney Animation way back.

Woolie was a hell of an animator!

Drawings Disney/


  1. When reading this post, I pictured those fight scenes in my head. Then I recalled the fight scene between Tod and Copper and even Copper and the bear in "The Fox and the Hound". Even though he wasn't animating on that movie, it's cool to see Woolie's tips and the other masters "tricks of the trade" being used by the newer generations.

  2. "and Always let the Bad guy attack first...." Thanks fer sharing these.

  3. Excellent management of negative space, especially in the last 2 drawings!

  4. I love the fight sequences in this film. I especially love the fight against the dogs in the alley. It was really well done, especially since half of the fight is done with shadows, but it's still quite intense. And then there's Tramp biting up the big dog's leg, which is something even to this day makes me chuckle a bit. I don't know if it's the sound effect that accompanies it or just how quick he goes for it.

    The rat fight did give me the creeps a bit as a child though, but always glad the rat was defeated.

  5. Tramp is just gorgeously-animated throughout this picture, but he is exceptional during the rat battle.

  6. Hi Andrea!This is Rodolfo the Colombian guy! we talked at CTN on sunday night. You mentioned your next movie and you told me to send you my contact info through your blog. Here is my email:
    Thank you very much for your time.