Made In Australia by Australians for the whole world.
Visually interesting and quite funny in all the required scenes, this lovely animated film was created and released in Australia by the Sydney based Eric Porter Studios. His office made TV commercials and seemed to be a successful local animation studio of the 60s specialising also in film credits etc. This was their big cinema release for the 70s... and this epic cartoon had one of the first really wide print releases in the school holidays on about 25 screens in Sydney alone....an unusual event for the time. If you have seen the MGM fantasy style used in INVITATION TO THE DANCE (1956) with the Sinbad sequence, you can get a fairly accurate vision of the lush picture book style of Porter. Some fantasy scenes with the Princess of the piece in MARCO POLO are extremely well created and reflect a few lessons learned from Disney's FANTASIA. Sadly this strong entry into Australia's homegrown animated feature film history is not available on video or DVD. Several years ago I attempted to source the negative from Porter's widow who was thrilled to see renewed interest but alas the elements required to strike new prints were in disarray. The Film Archive in Canberra had the boxes and will eventually get around to a restoration via a deal they have with Kodak to restore 50 films held on site. The future looks good for this lovely animated film, one of the very few..if almost only feature length cartoons ever crated solely by Australians. It has a Gilbert and Sullivan feel about it..in fact there was an animated MIKADO years ago to which this also might owe a nod. It is also quite funny in a PUFNSTUF kind of way. If all those references mashed together sound hideous, let me assure you the end result is not. It's all quite zany and lovely. (Just like Australia)..ha ha. US singer Bobby Rydell is the voice of Marco no doubt detoured from a local nightclub tour to spend a few days in the booth warbling and reacting according to the script. It all worked well.
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