24 September 1999 | Hup234!
A masterpiece of impressionism with a well-deserved Academy Award.
To many, the 1930s is the Golden Age of film animation. A wonderful palette of colors runs throughout The Old Mill, a labor of love for the master artists who would continue their craft through the great Disney triumphs yet to come. It's a film of moods and impressions, all set within a brief period towards nightfall early on one summer's evening.
An abandoned windmill rests in a pastoral setting, its productive days behind it, with only wildlife visiting the weathered old structure to seek shelter within. As evening falls, there is a play of light from the fireflies; crickets chirp and the nearby frog pond is alive with the sounds of the impending night.
But a gust of wind signals an approaching storm - and Leigh Harline's soundtrack music now becomes ominous, as the freshening breeze begins to nudge the long-disused windmill blades.
The creatures seek shelter, and now the only sound is the rising wind ... and soon it becomes a gale, raging at full fury, and the rotted ropes that secure the tattered blades can no longer hold against the violence of the storm. The age-weakened ropes sever - and the old windmill begins to turn one final time, the wooden gears meshing again, and picking up speed with every revolution in concert with the force of nature driving them. The storm worsens, and in an unforgettable image the windmill, silhouetted against the raging sky and rain by flashes of lightning, becomes an apparition, alive with mindless motion and energy. Amidst the roaring thunder comes one mighty bolt of lightning, and . . .
See "The Old Mill", with its wonderful, rare artistry in sight, color, action, sound and music.
A masterpiece, with a Top Rating of 10.
(A note of caution: the storm scene is intense, and will frighten the very young and/or impressionable.)