Gulliver’s Travels (1939)

Article #939 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-10-2003
Posting Date: 3-8-2004
Directed by William Bowsky, Orestes Calprini, et. al.
Featuring the voices of Jessica Dragonette and Lanny Ross

Gulliver lands in the land of Lilliput and gets caught up in their war with Blefiscu.

This was Fleischer Studio’s attempt to get in on the full-length animation market that Disney had opened with SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, but this one was something of a failure. For one thing, there didn’t seem to be any attempt to change the approach they used for shorts in making the movie; the movie’s plot is weak, not to mention nonexistent for good stretches of the running time. Furthermore, the ‘realistic’ characters (Gulliver, the prince and the princess) are stiff, bland and seem to come from another movie entirely; when Gulliver’s most memorable lines are “Well, well.” and “My, My.”, you know you’re not dealing with an exciting and vibrant character. The more comic caricatures work better, though Gabby is annoying and the music is largely forgettable. There are some very evocative moments here and there, but you know the plot is stalled when Gulliver doesn’t even wake up until the movie is half over, and even after that, most of the footage consists of his interactions with the various characters that neither advance the plot nor are interesting in and of themselves. It’s not a disaster but a disappointment, and in the long run, it’s no surprise that Fleischer Studios are better remembered for their shorts than their features.


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