Morpheus Mike (1915)

Article 5274 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-17-2016
Directed by Willis H. O’Brien
No cast
Country: USA
What it is: Early stop-motion animation

A hobo saves a woman’s laundry from a goat, and is rewarded by a meal which is unfortunately stolen by an animal. Then the hobo dreams he is ordering from a menu in caveman times.

One of the things I love about the original KING KONG is that the title creation had so much character, and I find that useful to remember when exploring O’Brien’s very early stop-motion animation shorts. In the short time we spend with this one (it runs only three minutes), we do get hints of character from both Mike and the housewife; no, you can’t call either of them fully developed, but there are touches that add dimension to them. That may compensate somewhat for the fact that as a story, there’s not much here. It would have been fun to see the caveman sequence expanded to a much longer short; here, it feels like an abrupt change of scenery from the rest of the short. I think it’s most useful to see this short as another step in O’Brien honing his craft.


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