357. Moonbird – John Hubley, Faith Hubley

song-of-the-prairie

SUMMARY: Two little boys go on a midnight adventure to try and capture a Moonbird.

WHY IT’S HERE: In 1959, John and Faith Hubley’s ‘Moonbird’ was the most experimental film yet to win the Oscar for Best Animated Short. The soundtrack of this ten minute short is based entirely around a conversation between the Hubley’s infant sons, which their parents secretly recorded. The soundtrack captures the improvisatory imaginations of two children as they hunt for the Moonbird of the title and the animation style captures this off-the-cuff feel perfectly. Scrappy, transparent characters against a dingy, dark background act out the fantasy, taking the limited animation style that was then in vogue to new extremes. In an industry in which the big name character were winning the Oscars (the last five years had seen two wins for Mr. Magoo, one for Sylvester and Tweety, one for Speedy Gonzales and one for Bugs Bunny), ‘Moonbird’ opened the door for more experimental animations to claim the prize and this was reflected in subsequent winners.

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