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Damon the Mower

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Damon the Mower

A stripped back animated masterpiece from the director of Yellow Submarine (1968), based on an poem by Andrew Marvell

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1972 4 mins

Overview

One of the greatest animated shorts of all time. Though George Dunning will always be best known as the director of the Beatles’ animated feature Yellow Submarine (1968), this is his masterpiece. The process of animation is laid bare; the index card drawings are left naked under the rostrum camera, with even the adhesive tape fixtures and sequence number revealed. The magic of the medium – to animate, to bring to life - becomes all the more extraordinary despite the revelation that it is an illusion.

George Dunning began his animation career in his native Canada under the tutelage of Norman McLaren at the National Film Board. He joined the influential UPA studio, first in New York and then at a new outpost in London opened to coincide with the start of commercial television in the UK. When UPA decided to leave the UK, George remained and started a new company called TV Cartoons (later TVC London) with the producer John Coates. Inbetween commercial work he made a staggering series of independent shorts that cement his legacy as one of the true greats of world animation. After his death in 1979, John Coates continued the studio, most famously producing The Snowman in 1982.