LA PETITE PARADE (1928)
aka The Little Lame Soldier
Article 4925 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Wlaydslaw Starewicz
Featuring Nina Star
What it is: Animated fantasy
When the toys come to life, a devil lures an ugly nutcracker into trying to woo a beautiful music box dancer, but the latter is under the protection of a toy soldier.
Yesterday’s foray into the world of Starewicz was a mostly live-action drama that only lapsed into fantasy when the animation came into play. Today’s is more of a full-blown example of the animator’s imagination and creativity; except for a couple of short moments, it is fully animated and contains dozens of characters. Yesterday’s was charming; today’s is breathtaking. My copy had French dialogue without English subtitles, but the dialogue is superfluous; the short was originally filmed as a silent and can be easily understood without the dialogue, which was added later to turn a silent into a talkie. It’s based on a Hans Christian Andersen tale that I know I’ve seen before, and like the other version, the ending is sad. Nevertheless, with the amazing animation of toys, rats, mermaids, soldiers, devils, etc, it’s a truly magical adventure, and I often wonder just how Starewicz was able to pull off such amazing effects. It’s not up to the level of THE MASCOT (Starewicz’s masterpiece), but it’s a fine addition to his oeuvre.