DREAMS OF THE RAREBIT FIEND: THE PET (1921)
Article 4785 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Winsor McCay
What it is: Animated short
In a dream, a woman adopts a strange pet with an insatiable appetite and a tendency to grow at a rapid rate.
As far as movies go, Winsor McCay is primarily famous as the director of GERTIE THE DINOSAUR; outside of movies, he was known as the artist and writer responsible for the comic strips LITTLE NEMO and DREAM OF THE RAREBIT FIEND. He adapted the latter comic strip to a series of animated shorts, and this one is perhaps his most striking animated short after GERTIE. Though it starts out as comic in tone, it takes on a horrific turn as the story progresses, and in some ways, it can be seen as a forerunner to KING KONG and to the science fiction monster movies of the fifties. There’s a lot of impressive detail work as the gigantic pet makes its way through a modern city. Of course, it’s all a dream, but it’s a very striking one, and this is a very enjoyable silent short.