Tag Archives: Toei Animation

From Hong Kong and Japan: THE MERMAID (1965) and THE LITTLE MERMAID (1975)

23 Feb

Two of the loveliest films I’ve seen in a long time are THE MERMAID (1965, Hong Kong) and THE LITTLE MERMAID (1975, Japan), which I watched a day apart. It was my very first viewing of THE MERMAID, a Shaw Bros. Huangmei Opera, while I’d previously seen THE LITTLE MERMAID, a Japanese animated film, only in a poor-quality, severely cropped English dub on VHS. Seeing the widescreen version on DVD, in Japanese with English subtitles, was like seeing it for the first time. The two films have some elements in common, although I’m not sure if the Hong Kong film was inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen tale or by a much older Chinese folk tale. I’m guessing that the screenwriter drew on elements of both. The title mermaid in the Hong Kong film is not, technically, a mermaid as we’ve come to know this creature. Instead, she’s the spirit of a golden carp, a fish living in the pond adjacent to a garden in a Prime Minister’s villa in Old China. The carp takes on full human form, while retaining her magical powers, in order to console a poor scholar who’s been shunned by the family of the maiden to whom he was betrothed. The animated Japanese film is a direct adaptation of Andersen’s tale about a mermaid who trades in her fish tail for a pair of legs in order to live on land and try to win the favor of a prince and was made in 1975 to commemorate the centennial of Andersen’s death. Unlike the later Disney adaptation of the same title (1989), the anime version retains the tragic ending of the original story.

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Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild” – two animated versions

9 Dec

I have two animated versions of Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild.” The first is a Japanese feature made by Toei Animation in 1981 and initially shown in an 85-minute edition, apparently on television only, according to the Anime News Network.  It was released on home video in the U.S., in a cut, 67-minute English-dubbed version and may have been shown on syndicated TV here as well. That version, a VHS edition from Vestron Video, is the one I have. I also have an Irish-Canadian version co-produced by Animundi Productions and Emerald City Productions in 1990 that is 46 minutes long and was also apparently made for television, although I can find very little info about it on the web. It’s included in the DVD set, “Classic Adventures 10-Story Set,” that I cited in my entry on “Swiss Family Robinson” here on November 17.

Call of Wild 1 Classic Stories 1

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