7.1/10
273
7 user 1 critic

An Optical Poem (1937)

| Animation, Short, Music
A dance of shapes. A title card tells us this is an experiment in conveying the mental images of music in a visual form. Liszt's "Second Hungarian Rhapsody" is the music. The shapes, all ... See full summary »

Director:

(uncredited)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Allegretto (1936)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Director: Oskar Fischinger
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, ... See full summary »

Directors: Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy
Stars: Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy, Katherine Murphy
Lot in Sodom (1933)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Lot in Sodom is a sensual depiction of the Sodom and Gomorrah story filled with sinewy and semi-clad bodies, delirious bacchanales devoted to physical pleasure, and a searing, cataclysmic ... See full summary »

Directors: James Sibley Watson, Melville Webber
Stars: Friedrich Haak, Hildegarde Watson, Dorthea House
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The setting with the low walls and river views is located in a private area of The Cloisters museum.

Director: Maya Deren
Stars: Chao Li Chi
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Bettie de Jong performs the same dance nine times, starting and ending in a reclined position. As the film proceeds the camera becomes more and more adventurous.

Director: Hilary Harris
Stars: Bettie de Jong
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Directors: Stan Brakhage, Joseph Cornell
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Close up we see pistons move up and down or side to side. Pendulums sway, the small parts of machinery move. Gears drive larger wheels. Gears within gears spin. Shafts turn some mechanism ... See full summary »

Director: Ralph Steiner
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Arrival in the Bronx is shown with a view from an elevated train as it enters the city. Then follows a montage of sights from the Bronx. Many typical neighborhood activities are shown, along with scenes from many local businesses.

Director: Jay Leyda
Poem 8 (1932)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Independent film featuring modern dance in a forest, with the performers wearing white fabric costumes.

Director: Emlen Etting
Stars: Mary Binney Montgomery, Agnes Hitchcock, Caresse Crosby
Tarantella (1940)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Abstract animation illustrates Edwin Gerschefski's modernist composition. Two dots - one blue and one orange - appear most often, sometimes large, sometimes small, sometimes overlapping. ... See full summary »

Directors: Mary Ellen Bute, Ted Nemeth
Anemic Cinema (1926)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A spiral design spins dizzily. It's replaced by a spinning disk. These two continue in perfect alternation until the end: a spiral design, a disk. Each disk is labelled and can be read as ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel Duchamp
Castro Street (1966)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Inspired by a lesson from Erik Satie; a film in the form of a street - Castro Street running by the Standard Oil Refinery in Richmond, California ... switch engines on one side and refinery... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Baillie
Edit

Storyline

A dance of shapes. A title card tells us this is an experiment in conveying the mental images of music in a visual form. Liszt's "Second Hungarian Rhapsody" is the music. The shapes, all two-dimensional, are circles primarily, with some squares and rectangles, and a few triangles. The shapes move rhythmically to the music: receding from view or moving across the screen. Red circles on a blue background; light blue squares; white rectangles. Then, a red background of many circles with a few in the foreground. Red gives way to blue then to white. Shapes reappear as Liszt's themes re-occur. Then, with a few staccato notes and images, it's over. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

avant garde | geometric form | See All (2) »

Genres:

Animation | Short | Music

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Quotes

Prologue (Title): To most of us, music suggests definite mental images of form and color. The picture you are about to see is a novel scientific experiment. Its object is to convey these mental images in visual form.
See more »

Soundtracks

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Music by Franz Liszt
Played throughout the entire picture
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Nice Short
26 September 2009 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Optical Poem, An (1937)

*** (out of 4)

This 6-minute animated short is considered by many to have been the inspiration for Disney's FANTASIA. This film contains various animated images being played to Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 and makes for quite a ride. In his day, director Fischinger was pretty much overlooked and after during down a job offer from Disney, he would eventually be fired by both MGM and Paramount. His animation career never took off in the movies but years later his work began to be reevaluated and today's he's considered one of the best. This, considered his best film, is pretty strong in terms of its visual style even though it's rather simple. A blue background with various circles, squares and other images. The film moves along quite well, although the six-minutes do start to get a bit long towards the end.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss An Optical Poem (1937) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page