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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is a very lost player in the short cartoon market. This market is essentially dominated by the Looney Tunes and the Merry Melodies shorts, coming from Warner Bros. But MGM is also able of releasing hidden gems, like "To Spring", an astonishing story about the most beautiful season of the year.
In the environment depicted here, spring isn't caused by natural cycles, but is fabricated. And by who? By little male elves who live below ground. Each spring, when the snow begins to melt, they start working. They begin by felling rainbow rock columns, then reducing them to rubble and using this rubble to turn it into color fluids, which will be moved up to the ground and bearing grass, flowers... In other words, spring! The first half of the cartoon depicts spring's fabrication, but the second part is a little bit different. Old Man Winter comes back and he tries to extend winter by destroying the elves' work. So from this point, we assist to a battle between the elves and Old Man Winter.
The music heard here is deliciously wonderful. The melodic parts stick in the head like an ink spot on a paper sheet. The second part melodies are thrilling and they perfectly fit with the action. This is just fantastico, Giorgio! The animation sequences are also a delight. The colors are well mixed and every little detail is shown into a massive, epic environment. The concept itself is brilliant. The elves are attracting characters, so is Old Man Winter, who effectively portrays the cold and ruthless feelings of the white season.
There's also a strong message included here. The battle seems lost for the elves at the end, until a single late arriving elf jump into the action and it leads to the elves' victory over winter. So the point is: only one single person can make the difference.
In conclusion, "To Spring" is a remarkable lost classic from short cartoon era. What is even more remarkable is that this cartoon's director made his debut here. And who is "To Spring"'s director? It's a certain William Hanna...
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