Cartoon of the Day: Egyptian Melodies

Egyptian Melodies
1931
Directed by Wilfred Jackson
Available on: Walt Disney Treasures – Silly Symphonies

Like so many of Disney’s Silly Symphonies, “Egyptian Melodies” was an exercise. A chance to stretch the animators abilities. Of course, Disney had a way of even making these exercises entertaining.

This one follows a spider through the depths of an Egyptian pyramid. The beginning sequence plays with camera moves as we follow the spider down corridors and around corners. It seems like no big deal now, but in 1932, having the camera follow an animated character around the corner was breaking new ground.

The next sequence features dancing mummies. It’s sort of a different take on the basic idea of “The Skeleton Dance,” but since the arms of the mummies are bundled up, the range of movement for these characters is not too much.

The sequence that follows, featuring hieroglyphs come to life is also an animation exercise. Making them move around corners and columns was also quite a feat when this film was made.

“Egyptian Melodies” is not one of the greats of the Silly Symphonies series, but it is interesting to watch the animators stretch themselves.  It’s these sort of shorts that provide us with the chance to see how the art of animation progressed one small step at a time.

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