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Grandfather's Clock (1934)

A grandfather clock comes to life and tells two children a story (presented in animated cartoon form) about clocks going to school and playing football.

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Storyline

Two live-action children are playing near a grandfather clock when it comes to life and tells them of Clockland. We are then transported to an animated town populated entirely by timepieces, where we watch as a playful clock child (a pocket watch) runs into a wall and is smashed to pieces, after which he is brought to a clockmaker (a grandfather clock) who repairs the child. Written by jjwbenso

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Genres:

Animation | Short

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Release Date:

29 June 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Großvaters Wecker  »

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User Reviews

 
Land of the clocks

Van Beuren cartoons are extremely variable, especially in the number of gags and whether the absurdist humour shines through enough (sometimes it does, other times it doesn't), but are strangely interesting. Although they are often poorly animated with barely existent stories and less than compelling lead characters, they are also often outstandingly scored, there can be some fun support characters and some are well-timed and amusing.

In 1934, the studio made three cartoons mixing animation and live action, besides 'Grandfather's Clock' there was also 'Along Came a Duck' and 'A Little Bird Told Me'. The series was named "Burt Gillett's Toddle Tales" and while none of the three cartoons are terrible (far from it, Van Beuren certainly did far worse), it is also not hard to see why it was short lived and more were not made.

Under review here is the first of the three cartoons 'Grandfather's Clock'. It is a very watchable cartoon and nothing offends. There is also not much special or note-worthy here.

The best asset is the music, which was outstanding. It is beautifully and cleverly orchestrated, full of energy, great fun to listen to and it not only adds a huge deal to what is going on it also enhances it.

While the animation was not amazing, for black and white Van Beuren it could have been far worse. The clock designs are interesting and Clockland is a setting that one does immerse themselves into easily and used imaginatively. The live action also isn't too badly shot, again while not amazing it was pretty nice.

Synchronisation and sound is neat, there is some charm here, some of the pace is lively and the voice work is good.

However, the story is paper thin and doesn't really go anywhere, basically just a series of scenes. What little there is of story, which is right at the beginning pretty much, is nothing new. The pace is uneven, some of it is zesty and then other parts drag aimlessly, making the longer than usual for Van Beuren and most cartoons actually at the time but still quite short seem longer.

Not making the live action sequence so long would have helped things. The live action sequence is a little too sugary sweet for my tastes and is fairly dull, despite the cute if slightly cloying children.

The dialogue is pretty corny, while humour is sorely lacking with far too few gags and next to no laughs (the little that there are are so forgettable it is easy to mistake the cartoon from being humourless). The clock characters are not that memorable, apart from the wise grandfather clock who is quite likeable.

Overall, watchable but unexceptional. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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