Episode 23 - Gulliver's Travels (Dave Fleischer, 1939)
The Fantasy/Animation podcast takes listeners on a journey through the intersection between fantasy cinema and the medium of animation.
In episode 23, Chris and Alex turn to the work of the Fleischer studios, looking at the second North American animated feature film Gulliver’s Travels (Dave Fleischer, 1939), an adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s seminal work of fantasy fiction. As something of a follow-up to Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (David Hand, 1937), the film raises questions about animation’s creative ability to render perspectival shifts and ‘scaled’ imagery of ‘big’ versus ‘small’; world-building and the intrusive fantasy of human figuration; and the surrealist design of the Flesichers’ characters offset against Disney’s more ‘hyperrealist’ aesthetic. We suggest that Gulliver’s Travels stands as an imaginative development of animation in the U.S. context, with a playful visual register in the presentation of Lilliput that uses the drama of shifting dimensionality to speak to the emotional function of fantasy spaces for children.