Flowers and Trees (1932)
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The cable listing for this picture stated that it was about a young sapling that falls in love with a sycamore tree. I don't know that I would have figured out the sycamore part on my own, 'he' looked like just about any other tree you could come up with. There's a villain here in the form of a gnarly old tree stump who tries to steal the sweetheart tree from the sycamore. He starts a forest fire which seemed like overkill to me, but it did lead to another creative element when a flock of birds formed a cloud seeding operation to douse the fire.
I've recorded a few more Silly Symphonies from the Turner Classics channel, and based on this cartoon I'll be looking forward to watching the rest. The passage of over eighty years hasn't diminished their entertainment value as they're a treat for young and old alike.
One can criticize this stuff - it's pretentious, it's full of itself, it thinks its so great. But what if it is just a splendid piece of artistic expression? There's a level of simplicity that I think found its way into a lot of those early Disney features, and the bedrock of that is here: no frills storytelling, clever visual flourishes, and here it borders on gags but one can take it a little more seriously. It's also the forerunner for Fantasia, of course; taking a piece (or in this case pieces) of classical music and finding a way to basically make the earliest films full of life and vitality - in brand-spankingly fresh Technicolor (and good lord does it look full of the synonyms you can think of for gorgeous).
It's not simply one of the superlative shorts of all time but one of the great music 'videos', with a fleshed-out story, conflicts and danger with the fire that spreads (and the teamwork to put it out), and the sentimental side, but wholly and expressed with passionate audacity to go for it. There's not a trace of a modern smirk or wink to the audience, no one is being talked or looked down on, and that's part of the purity: here's the trees, here's the flowers, here's the birds, here are the things that make up this crazy little world that Disney's created. It's what it is: beauty realized in a new way that, for those that can take it in some context, heartfelt.
I was hoping that the fire effects might lead to something like the Bald Mountain segment of Fantasia but it never really gets that far. Still one of the better Silly Symphonies and notable for a bizarre scene in which two trees get married (they fade out before the tree love-making).
The film consists of classical style music accompanying scenes of anthropomorphic (people-like) trees and flowers dancing, frolicking and eventually being attacked by the dreaded fire. As I said, most of it very sappy but I did like the adorable mushrooms (Disney seemed to have a knack for this--see FANTASIA for more great mushrooms). However, the artwork is tops for the time and it is diverting. It's also the first three-color Technicolor short to win the Oscar--but it's also very old fashioned and will probably bore many viewers.
People over 14, this is a delight to watch. This is basically a very old cartoon where there are trees and plants leaving their roots (literally) and moving around, creating a storyline. You will have to see at least a little snippet of this cartoon to understand what I mean. The animation and music is very beautiful, some of the storyline is very beautiful as well.
Basically the whole cartoon is about two trees falling in love. The girl tree resembles a 1930's posh "lady". There is a horrible, evil gnarled tree who tries to capture her, but the slightly dopey looking tree will not let him have her...
This is one of a great amount of cartoons called "Silly Symphonies". This is, almost beyond doubt, the most beautiful and heartwarming collection of cartoon shorts ever made (they were all made by Disney around the time this was made). I recommend you watch at least one of them, as far as I know they are all worth watching.
I recommend this to people who are interested in historical cartoons and who like something a little different (infact - a LOT different!). Enjoy "Flowers and Trees"! :-)
One beautiful Spring morning, the FLOWERS AND TREES awake to rise & shine. Two young trees, swept away by leafy bliss, carry on an arboreal romance which is threatened by the arrival of an evil-hearted old stump...
This cartoon has a cute little story, but its significance lies in the fact that it was the first cartoon produced in Technicolor. Walt had cannily entered into an exclusive contract for the use of the procedure, only the latest of a string of risky innovations he would brave. Technicolor proved to be a sensation, and FLOWERS AND TREES pointed the way to the future. It would be three more years before Mickey Mouse took the Technicolor plunge - his films were so profitable he didn't need to abandon black & white just yet - but eventually virtually all cartoons would appear in one of a handful of competing color processes.
The SILLY SYMPHONIES, which Walt Disney produced for a ten year period beginning in 1929, are among the most fascinating of all animated series. Unlike the Mickey Mouse cartoons in which action was paramount, with the Symphonies the action was made to fit the music. There was little plot in the early Symphonies, which featured lively inanimate objects and anthropomorphic plants & animals, all moving frantically to the soundtrack. Gradually, however, the Symphonies became the school where Walt's animators learned to work with color and began to experiment with plot, characterization & photographic special effects. The pages of Fable & Fairy Tale, Myth & Mother Goose were all mined to provide story lines and even Hollywood's musicals & celebrities were effectively spoofed. It was from this rich soil that Disney's feature-length animation was to spring. In 1939, with SNOW WHITE successfully behind him and PINOCCHIO & FANTASIA on the near horizon, Walt phased out the SILLY SYMPHONIES; they had run their course & served their purpose.