After an eight week hiatus to deal with the lead projectionist’s medical issue we are back in bidness at The Langrick Film Forum. We dusted and cleaned the main 16mm projector earlier in the week and have two shorts in the line up tonight (don’t want to go crazy right out of the gate).
First we have “Mimi the Lazy Kitten”. This film has proven difficult to find information online about, probably due to the fact it was produced in China by Shanghai Animation Studios and distributed by Italtoons Corporation which I assumed was an Italian company although it has offices in NYC (maybe I need to pay them a visit next time I’m there). I was half afraid it would be in Italian or Chinese but it is in fact (dubbed) in English. According to the only web reference on the film I could find it won an “excellent Film Awards issued by the Ministry of Culture in 1979”. The Shanghai Animation Studios evidently dates back to the 1940’s but was shut down during the cultural revolution and was only reopened in 1978, so this must have been one of the first efforts by the studio after being allowed back.
The story involves a, you guessed it, lazy kitten named Mimi. Instead of practicing her skills at mouse catching she prefers to sleep all day. Already she is sounding like Suzen. After she is humiliated by the rabid mice in the house she has a change of heart and commits herself to training and preparation. Soon she is faced with mice again who now think she will be a push over yet again. This time of course she goes vikingnon them and wins the day, er night, and becomes the best mouse catcher in the village.
The print is well worn but is not faded with the colors still looking very good. A lot of surface wear and scratches but it played nice and smooth.
Our second offering was the 1945 “Donald’s Crime” staring Donald Duck and his three nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. Donald has a big date planned with Daisy but it turns out he’s broke. To solve his dilemma he breaks into the nephew’s piggy bank and takes Daisey on a wilnd night which ends with a very suggestive smooch. On his way home Donald is overcome with guilt from his “crime”/and after several minutes of mental anguish arrives at the back door to an all-night cafe which needs a dish washer. To make up for his thievery he takes the job and manages to make just enough, plus 15 cents more. He only realizes he’s overplayed after all the money is back in now fixed piggy bank and, Donald being the selfish duck that he is, takes to trying to get his 15 cents back, at which point the three boys wake up and catch him. We are reminded at the end that crime does NOT pay.
The print was in bad shape with a lot of scratches and surface wear, eblven more than the first film. But the color was still outstanding and the sound good. It was a little jpy at the start but evened out after about twenty seconds.
So stay tuned for the next films up at The Langrick pick Film Forum (yet to be announced); we have a backlog to catch up on so it could be any one of three or four new films, or even an older one from the archives…