THE DRAGONFLY AND THE ANT (1913)
aka The Grasshopper and the Ant, Strekoza i muravey
Article 4191 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Wladyslaw Starewicz
What it is: Animated fable
A careless “dragonfly” parties while industrious ants work hard in preparation for the winter. What will happen when winter comes?
You probably know this tale better as “The Grasshopper and the Ant”, and that is, in fact, one of the alternate titles of this one. My copy has the translation as THE DRAGONFLY AND THE ANT, and you’ll notice that I put quotes around the word “dragonfly” in the above plot description. Why? Well, I know what a dragonfly looks like and I know what a grasshopper looks like, and believe me, that’s no dragonfly I see there.
I don’t remember whether I’ve touched upon any of Starewicz’s movies to date, but he was one of the early masters of stop-motion animation, and he had a tendency to use insects in his early work. His work really does seem quite confident and smooth in comparison to some of Willis O’Brien’s early work. The animation is full of fun and detailed little touches, such as having a stick fall off the wagon that the ant is pulling and having the grasshopper (let’s call it what it is) drinking lots of booze. I’m glad to start covering his work, and especially look forward to covering THE MASCOT at some time in the future.