Logged on to FilmStruck to watch The Adventures of Prince Achmed, yet another unconventional animation—although in this case, many of the conventions hadn’t even been invented yet: released in 1926, this German production is the earliest known feature length cartoon. Combining stop motion and shadow puppetry, the innovative visual style compensates for the somewhat simplistic and episodic fairytale narrative. And while several plot points don’t quite mesh with twenty-first century values (the title cards constantly go out of their way to mention that the evil wizard hails from Africa, and the hero straight up stalks and kidnaps his love interest), its historical significance is undeniable. Thank goodness the National Film and Television Archive, London was able to preserve it for future generations (the original German print is considered lost).
[Originally written September 30, 2017.]