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Balloon Land (1935)

Approved  |   |  Animation, Short, Family  |  30 September 1935 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 276 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

The inhabitants, including the trees and rocks, of Balloon Land are made entirely of balloons. They come under attack from the evil Pincushion Man. With the help of a quickly inflated army, they manage to fend off the attack.

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(uncredited)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Billy Bletcher ...
Pincushion Man (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

High in the air floats Balloon Land, where everyone and everything is a balloon. The people, the animals, the trees and even the rocks are filled with nothing but air. Even the movie stars, such as Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, are balloons. The citizens of Balloon Land have but one mortal enemy: the Pincushion Man, who lives in the forest. A foolhardy young boy takes his girlfriend into the forest, determined to show he's not afraid of the Pincushion Man. The boy and girl are nearly popped when the evil creature comes after them. They manage to escape into the seeming safety of the city. But the wily Pincushion Man tricks a guard into letting him in. It will take an army of Balloon soldiers to get rid of this threat. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

balloon | boy | forest | army | girl | See All (25) »


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pincushion Man  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Cinecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included as a bonus feature on some DVDs of The Red Balloon (1956). See more »

Quotes

Pincushion Man: Folks all hate me, how they hate me. Tickles me the way they rate me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Pee Wee Herman Show (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

March of the Toys
(uncredited)
Music by Victor Herbert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Funny, frightening, beautiful to look at and philosophically daring.
18 October 2000 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

The glorious early cartoons of Ub Iwerks (he's the man who made Mickey Mouse move) make up for their lack of Disneyesque fluidity with a determined, and often startling, inventiveness. The story is quite conventional, and can be found in different guises in the medieval folk and fairy tales from which the film takes its visual cue. A young boy disregards his elders' advice about the safety of society, and goes into the woods with his girlfriend, clearly a metaphor for sexual pleasure. However, nature proves a rapacious shelter, and the couple are chased by a murderer who manages to invade their village and go on a killing rampage.

What makes this cartoon strange and different is that the characters and settings are made entirely, as the title suggests, of balloons. Iwerks' introduction of this fantasy world is masterly and brightly coloured, replete with balloon Laurel and Hardy, and Chaplin. It's not quite fantasy, however. The hero and his girl are created and given breath by an inventor and his machine; he warns them that they are mere air, and easily destroyed. On the one hand, this is a conservative message about the dangers of transgressing family and society, a danger which is chillingly realised.

On the other, the story is a fantastic dramatisation of what used to be called the human condition - we are just as vulnerable as balloons to the vagaries of chance and inhospitable nature; we too have been breathed into life by a creator who has left us so vulnerable, and whom we cannot satisfy whether we obey or disobey him. The Pin-killer is all destructive demon, though, gleefully revelling in his homicidal spirits, free, but sadly vulnerable too.

In a film of such wit and visual imagination, it would be difficult to select an enduring image, but there is one scene where the hero sounds the alarm, a cot of four babies whose bottles he swipes - the resulting din would wake the dead, and, as if following this idea, Iwerks zooms into one of the infants' bawling mouth, a terrifying glimpse of the abyss in a new-born child, a perfect encapsulation of the film's theme.


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