The Animal World (1956) Poster

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Lost No More!
luannjim13 September 2010
I've got good news at least for the three (so far) commenters here, and perhaps for others as well: THE ANIMAL WORLD has survived intact, and is available from the Warner Archive.

I bought it, not surprisingly, for the dinosaur sequence; I too got those ViewMaster reels in 1956 and have wondered ever since what the movie was like. The movie as a whole is a pretty-good nature documentary, akin to (though not quite as good as) the Walt Disney True-Life Adventures of the 1940s and '50s. The O'Brien-Harryhausen animation scenes are justifiably the main draw here, and they alone are worth the price of the DVD.
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The movie may be lost, but the animation survives!
burtsimpson5551 August 2005
To be frank, I've never seen the movie "The Animal World" but as a kid, I inherited the View-Master reels, and later the "Prehistoric Animals" packet, from my older brother... Boy! Did I wish I could see the movie one day! Being a monster movie buff, I bought the movie "The Black Scorpion" on DVD lately and to my surprise, I found out that the entire "Dinosaur Sequence" animated by Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen from "Animal World" was included as an extra feature on it! Wow! I finally saw it! And it was worth the wait... in part. I'm giving it a rating of 8/10 because the sequence is composed of superb stop-motion animation by two great masters, but also of cheesy looking dinosaur puppets... Anyway, it's great fun to look at!
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Ahead of its time
AlsExGal2 June 2012
This documentary film comprised of stop motion animation of Dinosaurs and film clips of all kinds of animals from all over the world is ahead of its time with the possible exception of Walt Disney who had been making these kinds of films for some time by 1956.

The Warner Archive restoration is quite impressive with clear vivid imagery and colors. The photography is well done and the shots are quite clear. Compare it to the similar "Animals Are Beautiful People" of almost 20 years later where the script is humorous but looking at the blurry action shots in that film for more than 10 minutes at a time will give you a headache and a tremendous case of eyestrain.

The film begins talking about the evolution of animal life on planet earth, being careful to avoid actually saying the word evolution - this is where the stop motion dinosaur footage comes in. The reason that the film gives for the end of dinosaurs on earth involves a cataclysmic change in the earth's climate of unknown origin rather than the meteor that landed in the Gulf of Mexico as is thought to be the reason for their end today. Then it goes on to discuss the new life that populates the earth afterwards starting from life in the sea to the arrival of man. Again, being a 50's film and still under the production code, you'll see many more Biblical references than you'd find in any modern film on animal life.

Next the film shifts to talking about ecology - how current animal life is in perfect balance and how each animal contributes to the planet's existence. If the film has any fault at all it is this - after talking a bit about ecological balance the film shifts to entertaining and often humorous individual pieces about various animals in action without any kind of overriding narrative. Still, I'd highly recommend it.
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Tails old as time.
mark.waltz14 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Sea life, land life, sky life. The nature of God's planet is remarkable. Plants, algae, the living, breathing variations of every living creature with some sort of respiratory system, blood stream and brain size. Vegetarians, carnivores and scavengers. All fascinating memories in the study of biology. This documentary goes deep into the past to give the viewer a glimpse into that world, going back thousands of years.

Of course, the kids are going to be fascinated by the study of the dinosaurs, but that's just a small part. The start of the film shows the original inhabitants of the earth, all residents of the sea. The beginning of the land life shoes them all emerging from their watery homes. The fights of the various dinosaurs, their sudden extinction and the emergence of smaller animals of every variety, including blood craving plants. A baby deer befriends a baby bear and a baby mountain lion, not educated to be enemies as of yet. A sweet and funny narration helps this flow by smoothly and special effects by Ray Harryhausen are very impressive. Every major mammal gets a moment in the spotlight, so this will introduce children to a world of amazing creatures and entertain adults too.
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