film history


難船ス物語 第一篇 猿ケ島 / Nansensu Monogatari Dai Ippen: Sarugashima
(Nonsense Story, Volume 1: Monkey Island)

3 in x of the works of Kenzô Masaoka
animated short film history
Release: Feb. 10th, 1931
Country: Japan
Director: Kenzô Masaoka

“One of the first films of Kenzou Masaoka about a baby raised by monkeys on an island.”

After a ship is destroyed at sea, a baby washes ashore on an island populated by monkeys. Under the care of a female monkey, the baby quickly grows into a young boy. The boy pulls pranks on the monkeys until they finally chase him off the island. As he rows away on a tree trunk, he spots another ship in the distance.


Monkey Island is available on YouTube.

Masaoka released several films before Monkey Island that I was not able to find online. They are:
Kai no kyuden, 1927
- Nansensu monogatari dai nihen: Kaizokusen, 1931


The Incredible Mr. Limpet

106 in x of animated feature film history
Release: Mar. 28th, 1964
Country: USA
Arthur Lubin

The live action of The Incredible Mr. Limpet was directed by Arthur Lubin, while the animation was directed by Bill Tytla, Robert McKimson, Hawley Pratt, and Gerry Chiniquy. Music includes songs by Sammy Fain, in collaboration with Harold Adamson, including ‘I Wish I Were a Fish,’ ‘Be Careful How You Wish,’ and ‘Deep Rapture.’

The story begins September 1941 just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Shy bookkeeper Henry Limpet (Don Knotts) loves fish with a passion. When his friend George Stickle enlists in the United States Navy, Limpet attempts to enlist as well, but is rejected. Feeling downcast, he wanders down to a pier near Coney Island and accidentally falls into the water. Inexplicably, he finds he has turned into a fish. Since he never resurfaces, his wife, Bessie, and George assume he has drowned.

The fish Limpet discovers a new-found ability during some of his initial misadventures, a powerful underwater roar, his ‘thrum’. He falls in love with a female fish he names Ladyfish, and makes friends with a misanthropic hermit crab named Crusty.

Still determined to help the Navy, Limpet finds a convoy and requests to see George. With George’s help, Limpet gets himself commissioned by the Navy, complete with advancing rank and a salary, which he sends to Bessie. He helps the Navy locate Nazi U-boats by signaling with his “thrum”, and plays a large part in the Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. In his final mission, he is nearly killed when the Nazis develop a ‘thrum’ seeking torpedo, and is further handicapped by the loss of his spectacles. He manages to survive using Crusty as his ‘navigator’, and sinks a number of U-boats by redirecting the torpedoes. After the battle, he swims to Coney Island to say goodbye to Bessie (who has now fallen in love with George) and get a replacement set of glasses. He then swims off with Ladyfish.

In the film’s coda, set in the modern times of 1964, George (now a high ranking naval officer) and the Admiral are presented with a report that Mr. Limpet is still alive and working with porpoises. The two men travel out to sea to contact Mr. Limpet and offer him a commission in the United States Navy.

This was the final animated film work released by Warner Brothers before the animation studio was shut down. Warners would continue to release theatrical shorts produced by Depatie-Freleng Enterprises until 1969. 

The Incredible Mr. Limpet premiered in Don Knotts’ hometown, at the Warner Theatre in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Prior to the film’s release, Warner Bros. distributed a promotional short subject to theaters documenting a press junket to Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida where reporters watched a preview of the movie erroneously hailed as “the world’s first underwater movie premiere.” (The audience sat in a submerged auditorium and watched movie through a glass wall as it was projected on an underwater lagoon screen.)

During World War I and World War II, there was a mine known as a limpet, a type of naval mine attached to a target by magnets named because of their superficial similarity to the limpet, a type of mollusk.

A remake entered development in 1996 when Steve Rudnick and Leo Benvenuti were hired as writers. Jim Carrey began negotiations to star in the title role, and was confirmed in February 1998 with Steve Oedekerk hired as the writer and director. Knotts was aware of plans for the remake, which he wrote about in his autobiography, and offered his support. Roughly $10 million was spent on animation tests to digitally map Carrey’s motion-captured human face onto a fish’s body, which produced disastrous results. By March 1999, Oedekerk left the project following creative differences, while Carrey followed suit in July. Later, director Kevin Lima was attached with Zach Galifianakis in the lead role, but both soon left the project. The attached director at the moment is Richard Linklater

Stephen Hillenburg studied the film’s backgrounds for Spongebob Squarepants.”


The Incredible Mr. Limpet is available online here.

Can you handle all 325 minutes of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: Extended Director’s Cut? It screens this Sunday as part of MoMA Film’s The Contenders 2014

[Nymphomaniac: Extended Director’s Cut. 2013. Denmark/Germany/UK/France. Directed by Lars von Trier. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures]


In 1963, Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field. When presenting Poitier with his Oscar statuette, the actress Ann Bancroft congratulated him with a kiss on the cheek, a gesture that caused a mild scandal among the show’s most conservative audiences. Poitier accepted his award with grace and said in his speech “…it has been a long journey to this moment.” [x]

Carla Laemmle

(October 20, 1909 — June 12, 2014)

The niece of Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle, she danced as the prima ballerina in The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and spoke the first line of dialogue in the first sound horror film, Dracula (1931). May she rest in peace and be forever remembered.

I have also published a tribute to Carla which you can read here.


They might be the most iconic shoes ever. But they need your help. 

Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers have called our National Museum of American History home for decades and have been seen by millions. Today, at nearly 80 years old, the slippers are showing their age.

YOU can help to provide immediate conservation care and a new, state-of-the-art display case. Join us on our journey to #KeepThemRuby and back our @kickstarter campaign:


September 30th 1955: James Dean dies

On this day in 1955, the American film star James Dean died in a car crash aged just 24. His famous roles include Jim Stark in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ and Cal Trask in ‘East of Eden’. Dean, a keen motoring enthusiast, died in a car accident which occurred on the way to a motor racing event in Salinas, California. The car he was driving at the time of the incident was his Porsche 550 Spyder which he named ‘Little Bastard’. After his death he became the first person to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. James Dean’s legend only grew upon his death and he remains a prominent cultural icon. In 1991 the American Film Institute ranked him the 18th best male movie star of all time.


Rare World War One Colour Photographs by Hans Hildenbrand

Hans Hildenbrand wasone of 19 official German photographers documenting the war, but the only one to shoot in colour.  The subject matter includes numerous trench shots showing soldiers standing to, relaxing and manning a Maxim Gun.  While others show supply depots backdropped by the ruins of towns and villages.  Hildenbrand’s images were taken mostly in the Alsace and Champagne sectors during 1915 and 1916. 

Hildenbrand’s film was less sensitive than other contemporary films and required longer exposures as such his subjects would have had to remain still while he took their photograph, meaning that many of the photographs would have been somewhat staged.  But this does not detract significantly from their insight into life in the German trenches.  Arguably the vividness of the photographs’ colours bring the period to life much faster than the black and white contemporary photographs were are used to seeing of the First World War

External image

Gervais-Courtellemont’s photograph of a French gun crew c.1914

While Hildenbrand was the only German photographer to use a colour process during the war he has a counterpart in French photographer Jules Gervais-Courtellemont. Gervais-Courtellemont used the Lumiere’s Autochrome technique and took photographs during the battles of the Marne and Verdun.  Both Gervais-Courtellemont and Hildenbrand later worked for National Geographic after the war, 

Images Source


“All my movies are about strange worlds that you can’t go into unless you build them and film them. That’s what’s so important about film to me. I just like going into strange worlds.”

Happy 70th, David Lynch!