George Pal is 20th Century's Most Significant Talents
(5 out of 5 stars)
"During the science fiction and fantasy boom of the 1950s, few names could compare with George Pal. In many ways the pioneering visionary in the ways we view outer space and fantastic creatures on the screen, he turned out a string of masterpieces as both director and producer, using his experience with puppeteering and special effects to bring previously unimaginable sights to stunned audiences around the world. This informative and extremely entertaining documentary takes a thorough look at Pal's career, from his early days in Hungary and Germany making European shorts with various types of puppets combined with simple techniques involving painting and glass. His transition to Hollywood following the rise of Naziism allowed him to bring his Puppetoons to audiences of impressionable children, but the move to live action proved to be even more fruitful. His groundbreaking Destination Moon presented a heightened new realism for cinematic space travel, and he soon realized that science fiction could become a trememndous box office draw. His literary adaptations remain loved by audiences today: The War of the Worlds, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, The Time Machine, tom thumb, and his last film, the pulpy Doc Savage:Man of Bronze. The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal assembles a who's who of Hollywood filmmaking, combining actors who worked on Pal's productions (such as Rod Taylor,Tony Randall, and Barbara Eden) to admirers like Joe Dante and Ray Harryhausen (who worked with Pal along with animation legend Willis O'Brien). The clips from Pal's early works are especially tantalizing and could have gone on much longer; "Sleeping Beauty" in particular looks like a dazzler. Unlike standard Hollywood biographies, this one keeps up a rapid pace and keeps a steady flow of fascinating clips and home movies to provide a solid, well rounded portrait of a man who loved entertaining people in any way possible. The Image DVD looks quite good for a mid-'80s documentary, with strong colors and no noticeable compression flaws. The contrast level and clarity vary wildly from clip to clip, for obvious reasons, but such is the nature of an archival beast. The mono audio also gets the job done quite well for its age. The disc also includes a host of Pal-related extras, such as promotional material for many his films from Destination Moon to Doc Savage, as well as more interview footage deleted from the final cut, some additional home movies, some warm and intriguing comments from Puppetoon veterans, and a peek at the newsreel premiere footage for Brothers Grimm. In short, no fantasy film buff should be without this disc, and hopefully his entire catalog will one day be available to perfectly complement this love letter to one of the 20th Century's most significant creative talents."
What a Deal!
jimac51 | Allentown, Pa United States | 01/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First-Thanks to cartoon expert and great guy Jerry Beck for alerting cartoon fans to this box set on his websites.
Second-If Amazon is combining the FLIGHTS of FANTASY box with the PUPPETOON MOVIE or THE FANTASTIC FILM WORLD OF GEORGE PAL at a sale price,be forwarned:the FLIGHT OF FANTASY box includes both DVDs along with Pal's first feature film,THE GREAT RUPERT.
Others have said nice things here about Pal and the FANTASY FILM WORLD documentary-suffice it to say that without George Pal there would be no STAR WARS,no E.T.,no TOY STORY and a slew of other pop culture icons.
My childhood was filled with the works of George Pal and I didn't even know it. From the Puppetoon "Tubby the Tuba" to the live action 1960 film,many a sit on front of the TV on Saturday morning or the movie theater on a Saturday afternoon was filled with the magic of George Pal.
My list of children entertainment hereoes would include Walt Disney,Jim Henson,Bob Clampett,Tex Avery,Friz Freleng,Chuck Jones and Max Fleischer. But George Pal might take the crown. He influended my love of music with Tubby and laid the seeds for a positive vision for mankind in his interpretation of H.G. Well's TIME MACHINE. Like the others mentioned above,he never talked down to me as a child and yet his stories resonate with powerful images in my adulthood. I think all of these artists were their own best audience and if they liked what they created,well,the audience came along for the ride.
Of particular interest to cartoon fans is The PUPPETOON MOVIE disc in general and the extras in particular. There are 12-count 'em-12 complete and unedited Puppetoons added to the disc,with their original titles where available. Such a feast for the eyes! Some of these were made as one reel commercials for Philips electronic producats(radios and light bulbs)that were shown in European movie theatres during the 1930s. Pity the feature film that followed one of these "commercials",especially if it was a musical. I suspect even Busby Berkeley dropped a jaw at the images that Pal lovingly filled the screen. Colors,sound,movement-all swirl in your head and await another go round. I promise you will watch thiese short films over and over with amazement. George Pal loved his work and had high hope for mankind-not a bad way to go through life. Important lessons to be learned from a shy little tuba."
A Brilliant Composition Of A Brilliant Man's Works!
Ed Turner | Piscataway, New Jersey USA | 09/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal is truly worlds of wonder! Arnold Leibovit, producer of this marvelous documentary, has done a wonderful job at encapsulating the colorful life and career of producer/director George Pal - from his meager beginnings as a cartoon artist, through his years of creating the stop-motion animated short films, fancifully named "Puppetoons", and into his wonderful works of feature motion pictures. The documentary guides us with affection through Pal's career, by way of interviews with the cast, crew and peers of his films, and includes interviews with Pal himself. His work touches a cord within all of us - the child that lives within and is dazzled by science and fantasy, prophetic visions and flights of fancy. All who have known or worked with him remember Pal with delight - "He was a sweet, sweet man; ...a gentle man.", as Tony Randel puts it when telling of his experience of working with Pal. This was a sentiment felt by all who have had the honor of knowing and working with Pal. This documentary thoroughly captures the whimsy and kind heart of a man who not only was a dreamer, but was one who inspired us to dream. People like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg only stand on Pal's shoulders, and continue the line of imaginative filmmaking which he started. The contemporary term "eye candy" can so easily be applied to this documentary, for it is a treat to see this montage of works by the master that started it all. Thanks George! And thank you Arnold Leibovit, for giving us this special and delightful glimpse into the life and works of a man who will never be forgotten! The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal was obviously a labor of love!"
The Fantasy Film Worlds Of George Pal DVD
Alan R. Applegate | Roswell, NM United States | 09/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whether you are a Sci-Fi fan or not, buy this DVD ! The star line-up of actors, writers, and directors explaining their parts in the various films outlined is worth the price of addmission. You'll be surprised-and perhaps amused-at some of the faces, and the films they worked on. But be warned: You'll want to race right out and buy everyone of George Pal's films after you view this great DVD. Hats off to Arnold Leibovit."