Begone Dull Care


The years that I spent in the 1990's working in the animation industry really opened my eyes to the fact that not all animation was "cartoony". Or do I want to say "cartoonish"? Anyway, I learned that just because it wasn't live action didn't mean that it had to have big doe eyes or the ability to drop anvils at will. Not that I don't love anvil dropping...I DO, but there's more out there.

Canada has been, for well over half a century, a hotbed for arty animation thanks to the National Film Board of Canada. Those of us that grew up watching TVO or CBC were weaned on the stuff that the NFB put out. It's shaped our National Identity in a very real way. When I worked with Kai Pindal and Derek Lamb I got a lot of insight into what made the NFB tick back in the early days. One guy they both talked about a lot, and with a great sense of respect was Norman McLaren. He was the master. He was the true original.

The first film of McLaren's that I saw, turned out to be an enduring favourite. It's quick, it's happy and it shows that even if it's anvil free and arty it doesn't have to be a downer. "Begone Dull Care" (which was made in 1949) embodies two of the main characteristics of McLaren's films: the application of the colors and images directly onto the film itself, whether they are painted or etched or what have you and the use of music as central to the film. Begone Dull Care is the epitome of McLaren-ness, taking these two characteristics and blending them so well, so meticulously, that the viewer is enabled to literally see as well as hear the music. Happily, the music is provided by none other than another true Canadian hero Oscar Peterson.

I've been searching for a DVD of this short film for years and just found out that the NFB is working on a new box set of McLaren's work. That's exciting, but what about NOW? Well...thank you, Youtube! It's not quite the same as seeing it on a big screen with surround sound, but it's wonderful to see and hear it again. Enjoy!


  1. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Thanks. Some things are just cool. Their coolness cannot be denied. (It's like George C. Scott not accepting his Oscar for Patton - who else would they give an award to?)

    Disney did some cool music to art interpretations. The meet the soundtrack part of Fantasia comes to mind. You must reacquaint yourself with the After You've Gone (BG4) segment of Make Mine Music. It is, well, cool.

    Did you express your gratitude to the kindred spirit who posted this on YouTube? They deserve a shout out and some cake.

    Thanks for banishing my dull care,
    Black Tarantula

  2. Anonymous11:55 AM

    Thank goodness for You Tube!!!


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