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September 1996, Week 3


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"Richard J. Leskosky" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 17 Sep 1996 14:04:40 -0500
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Don Larson notes:
>Richard Leskosky notes:
>"This is an animated cartoon, but the animals are realistic enough that they
>do not wear clothing or carry other identifying characteristics.  It's
>necessary for animators to do something to distinguish animals of the same
>species significantly enough so that viewers do not get confused, and,
>let's face it, one lion looks pretty much like another.  The only way to
>stage the fight scenes (between Scar and Mufasa and between Scar and Simba)
>and make it clear who's who is to give them different colorations."
>The coloring issue goes beyond TLK, though.  For example, several reviewers
>noted the dark skin tones of the evil poacher in THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER.
Anyone who took the poacher to be anything other than Caucasian--a bad
Caucasian--was being wilfully obtuse.  Must all color symbolism and
expressive use of color henceforth be banned?
If the color symbolism in Disney character designs has such a profound
effect on young viewers, then shouldn't Disney be praised for making Mickey
Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy (and all his relatives) black;  Chip & Dale,
brown; and his most flawed main character, Donald Duck, white?  In the
features, Dumbo is grey, Tramp (from LADY AND THE TRAMP) is grey, Bambi is
brown.  Human villains are virtually always white in Disney features.  What
is the rational justification for focusing on the occasional instance when
a dark animal is a negative character?
--Richard J. Leskosky
Richard J. Leskosky                        office phone: (217) 244-2704
Assistant Director                             FAX: (217) 244-2223
Unit for Cinema Studies                   University of Illinois
2117 Foreign Languages Building   707 S. Mathews Avenue
                                                         Urbana, Illinois
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