Review: ‘Gulliver’s Travels’

In 1937 Walt Disney released the first feature-length cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Its novelty, production excellence and entertainment factors rolled up terrific grosses for all. Gulliver's Travels is the second cartoon feature to hit the market. Turned out by Max Fleischer, who has been making cartoon shorts for 20 years, it is an excellent job of animation, audience interest and all around showmanship.

In 1937 Walt Disney released the first feature-length cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Its novelty, production excellence and entertainment factors rolled up terrific grosses for all. Gulliver’s Travels is the second cartoon feature to hit the market. Turned out by Max Fleischer, who has been making cartoon shorts for 20 years, it is an excellent job of animation, audience interest and all around showmanship.

Jonathan Swift’s amusing tale [adapted by Edmond Seward] introduces the inhabitants of Lilliput, on the verge of war with their neighbors because the two countries cannot agree on songs to be sung at wedding of the prince and princess. Gulliver, the giant, is discovered on the Lilliput beach one night, and the inhabitants proceed to tie him up and transport him in a creaky makeshift vehicle to the town. He remains long enough to settle the pending war.

The busy Lilliputians, organized as an army and busily engaged in tieing down the giant, with miniature cranes ravelling their strong ropes around the sleeping Gulliver, and with firefly torches lighting the proceedings, is a particularly effective episode. Gulliver’s finger dance with the Lilliputian king, and his capture of the invading navy to save his little friends from attack are both noteworthy.

The two royal lovers capably interpret the several tuneful songs composed by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin. Lanny Ross is the singing voice for the prince, while Jessica Dragonette handles similar assignment for the princess. Of the songs. ‘Faithful Forever’ and ‘It’s a Hap-Hap-Happy Day’ loom as hit tunes. Score numbers eight songs, all way above par.

Gulliver’s Travels was a year and a half in preparation and production, with Fleischer setting negative cost at around $1.5 million.

Gulliver's Travels

Production

Paramount. Director Dave Fleischer; Producer Max Fleischer; Screenplay Dan Gordon, Ted Pierce, Izzy Sparber, Edmond Seward; Camera Charles Schettler; Music Victor Young

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1939. Running time: 75 MIN.
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