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A tone poem on the changing of the seasons. The melting ice turns a clock that awakens a small gnome who sings a song ("Time for Spring") and wakes up many other gnomes. They set to work mining a wide assortment of colors which get crushed and boiled and ultimately sent to the surface in a complex system of pipes. The trees and flowers start to come to life, but old man winter has a storm still up his sleeve. His actions cause chaos underground; the gnomes redouble their efforts. Finally, with the help of one late arrival, they beat back winter. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Springtime has never been more beautifully odd in the history of cartoons
Notable for the directorial debut of William Hanna(who would go on to win seven Oscars for Tom and Jerry and launch the Hanna-Barbera studio), To Spring is beautifully odd and very captivating, a cartoon that any animation or spring fan should see.
Two components make To Spring especially good. One is the music, which not only sounds like great music but couldn't have fitted more perfectly. Grieg's To the Spring is a beautiful, lyrical piece and is arranged, for orchestral arrangement(it was originally written for piano), beautifully in this cartoon. Mozart's Non Piu Andrai from Le Nozze Di Figaro surprisingly works very well as a work march, for an aria that's usually done humorously. Old Man Winter's music, with its low bass range and resonantly sinister singing(sounds like Tudor Williams but am not sure), brings a real foreboding element to the cartoon's conflict, while the Time for Spring poem/lyrics really stick in your head(evident in that the 'Time for Spring I Say' line has often been quoted between fans of the cartoon) without being too repetitive.
Even more impressive is the exceptional animation, 30s cartoons rarely had animation this colourful and vivid, and this is including the output of the Disney Silly Symphonies(that are still outstandingly well animated). The colours are incredibly beautiful and lush, the backgrounds are deep in detail and filled with imaginative moments and the characters move convincingly without being too stiff or creepy. It's not just however how the animation looks, but how it's used too and the amount of imaginative detail put into the landscapes. Absolutely nothing looks static here, everything looks so smooth and the parts with more colour being added to the landscape and especially the battle between the elves and Old Man Winter are really quite inspired in terms of visuals.
To Spring is well-written, instead of being over-complicated it keeps things simple without being juvenile or simplistic. The characters carry the cartoon nicely and are engaging and well-voiced, though To Spring is not one of those cartoons where depth or character development should be expected(this was true of a lot of cartoons from the 1930s as well), the elves are oddly charming and Old Man Winter is a fun but also mildly scary antagonist.
I do agree that the story does not fare as well as everything else, it takes time to get going and you shouldn't expect anything surprising at all. Then again most cartoons from the 1930s were short on plot, but still worked. To be honest as well, that To Spring was short on plot didn't matter hugely, because the cartoon was never dull, the conflict was very convincing and the charm, bewitching weirdness and how imaginative it was more than compensated too. Springtime in the history of cartoons has never been depicted more oddly or rarely beautifully, the origins of the season actually being much easier to swallow than a lot of other cartoons based on Spring. So while To Spring does not have the most exceptional of narratives, the cartoon is high in atmosphere, imagination and mood and it's done brilliantly too.
Overall, a great cartoon and under-appreciated. Odd but incredibly beautiful and imaginative, To Spring is light on plot but high in charm, soul and imagination, and the music and in particular the animation are outstandingly good. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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