During a storm at sea Lemuel Gulliver washes overboard and ends up on the beach of a country called Lilliput. Gulliver passes out on the beach from exhaustion. This is no ordinary beach and Lilliput is no ordinary country. The people that live there are tiny. At least compared to Gulliver.
Gabby is the town crier. It is his job to go through the countryside to make sure all is well. When he gets to the beach he discovers what, to him, is a giant. Gabby races to the village of Lilliput to tell the king.
At the castle King Little is in a meeting with neighboring King Bombo from Blefuscu. They are going over the final wedding arrangements for King Little’s daughter Glory to King Bombo’s son David. An argument ensues as to what the wedding song will be. King Little wants the Lilliput song “Faithful” but King Bombo insists on Blefuscu’s song “Forever”. Tempers flare. This is enough to have King Bombo call the wedding off and declare war on Lilliput.
After King Bombo and David leave, Gabby finally can tell King Little about the giant on the beach. The King sends out the men from the town to capture the giant and bring it to him. Gulliver is still passed out on the beach so the men get to work tying down the giant and building a wagon big enough to hold it. Once in the village square Gulliver regains consciousness and easily breaks his bonds. Everyone is terrified until Gulliver assures them that he is friendly and means them no harm. Just as he is getting through to the king, the village is attacked from the sea by Bombo. When Gulliver sits up Bombo and his men see the giant and quickly flee. Gulliver is welcomed by Lilliput as their savior.
King Bombo, charges three of his spies Sneak, Snoop, and Snitch with coming up with a plan to kill the giant so he can attack Lilliput. The spies steal Gulliver’s pistol. The plan is to shoot Gulliver with his pistol while Bombo is attacking from the sea.
“Gulliver’s Travels” is an animated, fantasy, musical film that was released in 1939. The primary director was Dave Fleischer. The film is loosely based on the book “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift. Actually part of the book. The film deals with the experiences Gulliver had in Lilliput.
Produced by the Fleischer Studios, it is the first animated feature length film made by the studio and the second made by an American studio. The first being “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” done by Walt Disney Studios. The film was nominated for Best Original Score and the song “Faithful/Forever” was nominated Best Original Song.
Various animation techniques were used to create the film. The majority of the characters were created using these techniques but the characters of Gulliver, Glory and David were done through a method called "rotoscope". This method was created by the Fleischers where tracings were done over the movements of a live actor. The model used for David was writer Cal Howard. He recalls having to have his legs padded since his were skinny.
Gulliver doesn’t wake up from his ordeal until at least thirty-eight minutes into the movie. Until then it’s mostly a lot of tenacious Lilliputians.
Although “Gulliver’s Travels”, the book, is basically a political satire, this version still shows how wars can be waged based on stupid differences between two powers, such as a song. It illustrates, if not in fact then, at least in spirit, what Uncle Jonathan was trying to say.
I remember this movie from when I was a child. It was my first exposure to a Gulliver’s Travels film so of course it’s my favorite. I had no idea that the movie had been made in 1939. Some restoration has been done and the film is as crisp and clear as if it had been made a year ago