THE MAGIC FLUTE (1946)
aka La flute magique
Article 5188 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Paul Grimault
What it is: Whimsical animated fantasy
A wandering minstrel crosses swords with a music-hating king and his lute is destroyed. However, some birds transform into a magic flute that the minstrel can use to make anyone or anything dance.
This is a charming little French animated short. The print I saw was not translated into English, but that’s really no big problem; outside of the lyrics of the minstrel’s opening song and a sign on the castle door (which I’m guessing mostly informs minstrels that they are not welcome), the story is told visually. According to IMDB, Paul Grimault was one of the leading animators in France, and had a captive audience in that country during the period of its occupation during WWII, as American animated films weren’t allowed to be shown. The cartoon itself is pleasant and well-animated, but it’s more whimsical than actively funny and is fairly predictable. As far as I can tell, it has no connection with the Mozart opera.