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Norman McLaren: The Masters Edition
Norman McLaren The Masters Edition
Actors: Grant Munro, Jean Paul Ladouceur
Director: Norman McLaren
Genres: Drama
NR     2006     0hr 8min

Influenced by surrealism and his passion for music and dance, controversial abstract filmmaker Norman McLaren is heralded as a ground-breaking visionary. From his early cinematic experiments in Scotland in 1933 to his fina...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Grant Munro, Jean Paul Ladouceur
Director: Norman McLaren
Creators: Wolf Koenig, Norman McLaren
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Homevision
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 10/17/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 0hr 8min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 7
SwapaDVD Credits: 7
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French
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Movie Reviews

Eric Blair | 12/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Awesome set! the films have been re-mastered, and they look without doubt amazingly! MacLaren was an arist with visionary poetry. For him the clash of two shots constituted more than a mere mechanical artifice, it meant a new language, which he explored and advanced enormously.
For me McLaren's works are an enormous source of inspiration. I remember when I watched "Neighbors" for the first time, I was astounded by the way he created his movements, and in the same time I realized that Norman McLaren is a genius, a true "poet of animation", how he was called.
Norman McLaren said that he was influenced by Sergei Eisenstein's films, and indeed, the influence of Eisenstein is seen in many of his films. Also, Eisenstein's conflict ("Art is always conflict") becomes in McLarens `films either movement or dispute.
First, in "Neighbors" "the conflict" becomes the battle between Munro and Ladouceur, in "A Chairy Tale" is the fight between Jutra and the chair, in "Opening Speech" is the dispute between McLaren and the microphone.
Second, where "the conflict" becomes movement, it becomes the "conflict" of forms, is the one that is seen in "Begone Dull Care", in "Le Merle", in "Fiddle-de-dee", or in "Hen Hop".
Also must be remembered that like Eisenstein, McLaren "reinvented" the monumental pose, the "mi-e" from the Japanese Kabuki Theatre, and I believe that "Pas de Deux" speaks for itself. I don't want to make a parallel between Eisenstein and McLaren, but I want to prove the immense contribution that McLaren had on the development of animation. Or in other words, what the name Eisenstein means for film, the name McLaren means for animation.
For me, McLaren is a true "wizard of movement", an original artist and innovative inventor. But instead of telling you things that you already know, I will tell you some things that you might not know about his films. For example, in "Neighbors" he sent an anti- war message using comic devices. Like Chaplin did in "The Great Dictator", or like Kubrick did in "Dr Strangelove". And to do something like this one must have the character of a genius, because it is very difficult to join two opposite elements and make them work together. Also, when I watched "Pas de Deux" or "Narcissus"; I remember experiencing something that a few movies could make me feel. I am talking about that kind of experience when the body is static, and the only thing that is "moving", is the mind. I am talking, of course, about the feeling of escaping time and space. And this happens only when the film is not made by an ordinary filmmaker, but an exceptional one. I must add here, that the same experience I had when I watched "The Passion of Joan of Arc", "Ivan Grozny" or "Orpheus".
In conclusion, I have to say that I consider Norman McLaren one of the most prolific filmmakers of the last century, and I believe that his works rank with Eisenstein's films or Cocteau's works.

Essential, yet overlooked films and DVD set!
Patrick J. Mccart | Georgia, USA | 06/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My interest in Norman McLaren's work started with the handful of the American shorts (made in NYC) that he worked on. They were included on the excellent Unseen Cinema box set (7-disc set from Image Entertainment and Anthology Film Archives). YouTube also has several of his short films.

I was too late on buying the "Creative Process" 2-disc set that Milestone put out since it's out of print and fetching over $150 for used copies. Well, this box set from the NFB and Home Vision completely went under my radar screen. Not only is it in print, but it has every existing film by McLaren.

The NFB's new digital restorations are absolutely stunning. Layers of dirt, flickering, and scratches are gone. Since his hand-drawn films were made unconventionally (india ink on clear film with color added in optical printing), color had not maintained its quality on some. They were able to color correct them to the point where the color jumps off the screen and it looks brand new!

The supplements are excellent, too. The 15 featurettes cover every aspect of McLaren's films. There's also longer documentaries, outtakes and test footage, as well as synthetic sound tests. To top it off, the set has seven discs in thinpaks and a large booklet. Most of the films also have a choice of the original monaural audio, stereo, and 5.1. While the older films aren't that enhanced, a few really stand out in the 5.1 remix. Neighbours, Synchromy, and Pas de Deux sound fantastic in 5.1.

The films themselves are usually great. The hand-painted works like Begone Dull Care, Stars and Stripes, and Fiddle-de-dee are visual delights. The live-action films are often funny, but often beautiful. Neighbours is hilarious, but disturbing since it shows how ridiculous fighting can be (like in wars). Pas de Deux is probably the most beautiful film I've seen. The combination of the swelling music and the silhouetted dancers really works well.

Overall, get this set if you're an animation fan. These may come off as pretentious or inaccessible, but McLaren's best are just as fun to watch as a Looney Tune."
The Leonardo of Animation | Seattle, WA, USA | 11/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Norman McLaren was god's gift to the art of animation. This may sound over-the-top, but one viewing of this DVD will prove it. As the driving force behind the now world-famous Animation unit of the National Film Board of Canada (NFBC), McLaren spent his life experimenting with animation and filmmaking processees like a genius mad scientist. From perky pixilation and jazzy drawing-on-film to precise cut-outs and optical designs that pre-date and hold their own next to modern-day motion graphics, McLaren's endless creativity and spirit of discovery will inspire you to create your own moving artworks."
PIERROT LE FOU | Mexico City, Mexico | 06/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Norman Mclaren is not only a great animator but also did many experimental cinema, one of his best works is the shortcut "Neighbors ", done using amazing time-lapse and with such great story won Cannes that same year. His one of the geniuses of the century."