Non-Disney Animated Films
The art of film animation was developed by Winsor McCay around 1911. He personally animated his short films, drawing each and every frame, with his most famous animated cartoon being 1914's Gertie the Dinosaur. One of the first "stars" of cartoon films was Felix the Cat, who was first drawn in 1916 by Otto Messmer, an employee of the Pat Sullivan Studio. But two of the best-known non-Disney animation studios were Warner Brothers and MGM. In 1930, Disney veterans Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising teamed with producer Leon Schlesinger to make the first Looney Tunes cartoons. Out of this would be developed the wonderful cast of characters that includes Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety and Sylvester, and so many more. Harman and Ising soon left Warner Brothers to form their own animation studio at MGM, where such memorable characters as Tom and Jerry were developed.
[All photos copyrighted by Warner Brothers]
(1962 - 86 min. - Warner Brothers/UPA Studios **
Plot: Judy Garland stars in the title role of a French country cat who travels to Paris to find fame and adventure.
(1978 - 92 min. - Warner Brothers) ***
Plot: Based on a popular English novel, a family of rabbits whose home is threatened escape into the countryside and, with the help of a seagull, survive against the cruel leader of another group of rabbits.
(1996 - 87 min. - Warner Brothers) ***
Plot: Live-action/animation: Michael Jordan is drawn into the cartoon world to help Bugs Bunny and friends defeat a group of cartoon aliens in a game of basketball, the outcome of which could affect the future of the cartoon world.
Cats Don't Dance
(1997 - 75 min. - Warner Brothers) ***
Plot: A talented cat goes to Hollywood to try to break into the movie business as a song and dance man, but he finds that only humans get the good roles.
Quest for Camelot
(1998 - 86 min. - Warner Brothers) ****
Plot: A teenage girl and a blind squire go on a dangerous quest to recover King Arthur's legendary sword, Excalibur, from an evil knight who has stolen it from its rightful place.
The King and I
(1999 - 87 min. - Warner Brothers) ****
Plot: A surprisingly good adaptation of the tale of an English school teacher who goes to Siam to educate the royal children and ends up falling for the stubborn king. The classic music by Rodgers & Hammerstein is outstanding.
The Iron Giant
(1999 - 87 min. - Warner Brothers) ****
Plot: In the late 1950s, a giant iron robot from outer space crashes to Earth and is befriended by a young boy, but the boy and the iron giant are hunted down by a government agent intent on destroying this possible threat to national security.
Looney Tunes: Back in Action
(2003 - 92 min. - Warner Brothers) ****
Plot: Live-action/animation: Bugs, Daffy, and friends embark on a "looney" adventure with live-action characters to find and destroy the Blue Monkey Diamond before it falls into the hands of the evil head of the Acme Company.
(2005 - 74 min. - Tim Burton/Warner Brothers) *****
Plot: Stop-action animated: Preparing for his wedding day, something goes wrong and a young man finds himself in a world of the dead and engaged to be married to a corpse bride. [2005 Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature]
The Ant Bully
(2006 - 88 min. - Warner Brothers) ****
Plot: Computer animated: A boy who takes his frustrations out on an ant hill in his backyard, is shrunken by the ants and forced to live and work in the ant colony as punishment for his attacks.
(2006 - 100 min. - Warner Brothers) ****
Plot: Computer animated: Among the Emperor Penguins, each individual is expected to have his or her own song; so when a baby penguin develops happy dancing feet instead of a good singing voice, he has to overcome the disadvantages of being different. [2006 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature]
Lastly, listed below are the Warner Brothers "Looney Tunes" theatrical features, which actually were compilations of short cartoons with newly animated backstories to tie together the individual shorts. The "Looney Tunes" shorts included in these compilations are all classics in every sense of the word.
1996-2015 Arnold E.
van Beverhoudt, Jr.