Sunday, January 13, 2019

"Quiet, Wart!"

Milt Kahl sure had some fun animating dialogue scenes with Sir Kay from the Sword in the Stone.
In this scene from an early sequence Kay turns toward Wart who is observing Kay's hunting "skills" from a tree branch above.
Milt drew facial expressions and mouth configurations that let you know right away, this guy is not very bright. The puckered lips for QUIET and WART, then the wide open mouth for QUIET, and later for WART. There is comedy in the way the mouth moves during the dialogue.

When I was animating Jafar way back, I tried to aim for humor in some of his dialogue scenes.
Weird mouth shapes that would hopefully express character while still being in sync with the words spoken.

The thing with Milt is that the flat graphic character design still turns absolutely three-dimensionally in space. He could draw any mouth configuration from any angle.

Come to think of it, I would have added some teeth to the last mouth shape in order to pronounce the T in Wart. But what do I know?

Here's more on Kay:


  1. Did Don Bluth work on this film? His Dirk looks like a thinner version of this guy.

    1. He was an assistant director and uncredited in the film.

  2. Great Scott, I LOVE Sir Kay's animation in EVERY scene!

  3. Hi Andreas,
    I have a thought. Why not show us Woolie Reitherman's animation of the Magic Mirror in animation drawings, before it got distorted by the special effects in the final film? That would be something to see.

  4. Hi Andreas,
    I've got a question:
    Walt Stanchfield always mentions that it's very important to observe human behaviour and movement. But how does one do that? Do I just look for how arched the back is when walking or how the foot tilts? How to observe emotion in simple actions like a walk, opening a door, sitting down etc.?
    I can see if someone who opens a door is strong or in a rush but I can't tell if that person is sad or happy.
    How to observe/analyse humans for animation?
    Thank you in advance :)

  5. As a child I was always so scared of this scene when Kay later gets angry and yells at Wart for making him miss his target. I would cover my face with my hands and watch it through my fingers. Kay's voice was much more intense in the Swedish version.

  6. There is something very intriguing going on with the Timing Charts of this sequence. One aspect is how the charts are on the last drawing of the sequence (as opposed to the first) but then there is also where the chart numbers are reversed. Very interesting.

  7. I can see what you mean! It makes him look a bit ape-like; also as if his face is constantly screwed up in concentration to understand things, and scowling at a world that refused to be understood.

    For what it's worth, Mr. Deja: I think Jafar's expressions and speech are one of the animation highlights of Aladdin.