In the early days of animation, Disney’s biggest rival was the studio run by the Fleischer brothers, whose Betty Boop, Popeye, and Out of the Inkwell cartoons were very popular. Their first feature, released in 1939, was “Gulliver’s Travels.” While it was not as innovative or successful as Disney’s “Snow White,” which came out two years earlier, it is still a charming and delightful film with comedy, romance, drama, and music. The release this week of the new Gulliver film starring Jack Black, has prompted a new DVD release of the film in An Ultimate Gulliver Collection.
In the book, Jonathan Swift’s satiric take on the political squabbles had his tiny characters fighting over the best way to crack an egg. In this version, the plans of the rulers of the adjoining kingdoms to untie their children and their lands in marriage is disrupted because of an equally silly dispute. Which of the two countries’ national anthems will play at the wedding?
“Gulliver’s Travels” is available online. I also have one copy of the new Ultimate Gulliver Collection DVD release to give away and it is truly special because it includes not only Fleischer’s Gulliver and seven more Fleischer studio cartoons but also the early anime film, “Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon” and the adorable four-minute Gulliver movie from George Melies, the magician who invented movie special effects back in the early days of the silent era. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Gulliver” in the title, and I will pick a random winner on Boxing Day (that’s December 26).