Picture of the Week #60

This week’s picture is a little preview of things to come, I hope. Tomorrow, I’m off to Frankfurt to visit archival holdings for the Diehl Brothers (Ferdinand (1901 – 1992) and Hermann (1906 – 1983), German animators who released a feature-length puppet film (Die Sieben Raben) days before the world premiere of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (though neither film can truly claim to be the first animated feature, an honour which must go Christiani Quirino’s The Apostle from 1917, though no prints survive, leaving Lotte Reiniger’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed as the oldest surviving animated feature). They achieved lasting fame with their hedgehog character Mecki, but little has been written about them in English. I’d like to find out much more about them, hence the visit to Frankfurt. I look forward to sharing much more information here in the future, but for now here’s a taste, in the form of the patent filed by Ferdinand Diehl in 1935. His innovation is a system of animation that allows for improved mouth movements, removing the need for head replacements when changing the expressions on a puppet’s face during stop-motion animation. Here we find one small example of a puppet’s anatomy becoming the site of negotiation over realistic motion, as well as the practicalities of streamlining the industrial production of animated subjects.

1 thought on “Picture of the Week #60

  1. Pingback: Picture of the Week #62: The Diehl Puppets « Spectacular Attractions

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