There are three great names in stop-motion: Willis O'Brien, who practically invented the field from scratch in the 1910s, and whose best-known efforts are 1925's THE LOST WORLD, 1933's KING KONG and 1949's MIGHTY JOE YOUNG; his sometimes assistant and successor, Ray Harryhausen, whose animations have yet (2003) to be equaled by computer work; and George Pal, an émigré Hungarian who brought a gaudy sense of showmanship and a cartoon sensibility to the field. There was no need for stop-motion figures to mimic life, and his didn't. They are cinematic, cartoonish and just right.
If you associate stop-motion with Gumby & Pokey or Mr. Bill shorts on Saturday Night Live, this is what you need to show you what's happening: a series of musical pieces ranging from classical etudes to "The Rhythm is Hot In Harlem" and houses that assemble themselves. Look out for it.
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