Volgens On this day zou het vandaag precies honderd jaar geleden zijn dat de “1st full length cartoon” in première zou zijn gegaan. Het betrof “The Sinking of the Lusitania” van Winsor McCay. Een paar bedenkingen…

Volgens de Internet Movie Database zou de première al op 20 juli hebben plaatsgehad, maar kom, dat is nu niet zo erg. Wat me wel opvalt: zij geven als kenmerk dat het een “short” is (kortfilm, dus een kort tekenfilmpje). Met als lengte twaalf minuten zou ik dit zeker ook doen!
Maar goed, dan toch maar een beetje uitleg, dat kan nooit kwaad. “An animated depiction of the sinking of the Lusitania: In May 1915, the liner leaves the United States, headed for Liverpool with over 2000 passengers on board. As the ship nears its destination, she is struck and severely damaged by a torpedo from a German U-boat. Even as frantic efforts to evacuate the ship are underway, another torpedo strikes the ship, leading quickly to disaster.” (Snow Leopard)
Een niet-geïdentificeerde bron voegt eraan toe: “The German submarine fired only one torpedo, not two. The second explosion originated from within the ship near where the torpedo hit. The cause still remains uncertain. It was moreover German submarine U-20 that torpedoed RMS Lusitania and not German submarine U-39 as shown on the inter-title card. However, on the same day (7 May 1915) U-39 shelled and sunk the United Kingdom trawler Benington in the North Sea. Her crew survived.”
Frampton Hollis vond het toch “a unique and dark animated drama”: “From Winsor McCay, the revolutionary animation pioneer and director of the charming classic Gertie the Dinosaur comes a much darker animated tale. This film recounts the tragic striking and sinking of the Lusitania which took away over 1000 lives. This film is highly respectful in execution, and it certainly isn’t what you would expect from McCay, who normally crafted extremely funny and enjoyable animations rather than heartbreaking dramas. But, although its execution is much different than any other silent drama on the subject could be, it is highly effective and powerful, not to mention well made! The animation is wonderfully done, and doesn’t look too ‘cartoony’ for the depressing subject matter. McCay creates haunting and slightly propagandic images with this invention, images that wouldn’t have been successfully captured on a 1918 movie set.”

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