A hat tip to Legion at the ZBB, who pointed out this lovely French animation feature, Le Roi et l’Oiseau, by Paul Grimault, working with Jacques Prévert.  The video has English captions for those who neglected to learn French.

I love full animation, and there’s a lot of good stuff going on here. It’s the sort of animation John K. would approve of: the storytelling is visual, not based on the written word and a bunch of celebrity cameos.  The movement is fluid, the characters are well designed (the king is a great creation– funny and yet completely villainous), and there are some very clever bits: the paintings coming to life; the machines used by the king (I especially liked his elevator, his trapdoors, and the fish-hovercraft used by the police).

There’s an interesting story behind the film as well.  Grimault went over budget and was removed from the project; it was hastily finished and released in 1952, under the title La bergère et le ramoneur (The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep).  Grimault was never satisfied with this, and in 1967 he managed to buy the rights to the film.  He then found financing and remade the film as he wanted it– keeping about 2/3 of the original film, but adding 45 minutes of new animation.  He also replaced the original music with a new score by Wojciech Kilar, and had all the voices redone.