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The movie that changed their lives …

Creatives talk about their influences

“Playful Pluto,” 1934

I loved seeing the Disney pictures when I was an art student at Stanford, (especially) “Playful Pluto,” where Pluto is stuck on a piece of flypaper. Later on I realized the reason I enjoyed it so much was the fact that this character was thinking about what he was doing.

— Ollie Johnston, last of Disney’s “Nine Old Men”

“Jason and the Argonauts,” 1963

At the age that I saw it, it seemed to encapsulate everything that movies could possibly be about – the creation of worlds that couldn’t otherwise exist. The bodies moved with such grace, in ways puppets were never intended to move. I still draw inspiration from the living example of (Ray) Harryhausen, who truly created a whole genre all on his own.

— Peter Lord, co-founder, Aardman Studios, “Wallace & Gromit”

“Fantasia,” 1940

I first saw it in the 1950s on one of its revivals, and it just inspired me so much. It’s an exciting, experimental work – one of the most radical films done in mainstream cinema. Had it succeeded (financially) at the time of its making, it would have led animation into directions we can’t imagine.

— John Canemaker, 2005 Oscar winner, “The Moon and the Son”

“Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor,” 1936

There was one scene with Popeye walking through a cave past all these beasts in front of a background which was actually built out of clay. It was the most dimensional and believable world I had ever seen. From that point on, I never just did a drawing; I always drew to enter into the paper as if it was a sort of magic mirror.

— Glen Keane, animator, “The Little Mermaid,” “Pocahontas”

“How to Animate”

I remember at a very early age buying the Preston Blair book “How to Animate” – it was a revelation. Preston Blair was famous for animating “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and the great, sexy dance in “Red Hot Riding Hood” for Tex Avery. So, here were all his characters showing me all the secrets of animation. It was, and still is, my bible.

— Bill Plympton, animator, “Your Face,” “Mutant Aliens”

“The Miracle of Flight,” 1974

There was a show in the early ’70s called “The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine,” and their house animator was Terry Gilliam. “The Miracle of Flight” had his weird cut-out, airbrushed animation spoofing those old documentaries with the crazy flying machines. It was just so quirky.

— Gary Trousdale, director, “Beauty and the Beast,” “Atlantis”

“Bambi,” 1942

I didn’t cry where you’d expect, at the death of the mother, but I did cry during the “Little April Shower” sequence, watching and thinking how many people had actually sat there and hand-drawn these drops of water. That with the music set me completely off — I was uncontrollable.

— John Powell, composer, “Shrek,” “Happy Feet”

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