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Adventures of Prince Achmed [Import]

DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 32.71 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description

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The oldest extant animated feature, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) was made by Lotte Reiniger using the silhouette technique she invented. Reiniger manipulated cutouts made from cardboard and thin sheets of lead under the camera to create an Arabian Nights world of delicate, filigree backgrounds and intricately jointed figures. With the assistance of Aladdin, the Witch of the Fiery Mountain, and a magic horse, the title character battles the evil African sorcerer to win the hand of Princess Peri Banu. Working from surviving nitrate prints, German and British archivists have lovingly restored the film: the backgrounds are tinted in delicate pastels rather than the black and white of previously available versions. Included with the film is Katja Raganelli's pretty documentary on Reiniger, which erroneously insists Prince Achmed was the first animated feature "in the history of cinema." Unrated: suitable for ages 8 and older; minor violence. --Charles Solomon


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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Nov. 13 2003
Format:DVD
This is one of the most interesting animated films I've seen. The sillouhettes (sp?) are remarkable against the color tinted backgrounds. The plot has many twists and turns, but the viewer never gets lost in the plot. It will have you intrigued from the beginning right to the end.
This is a retelling of "The Arabian Nights." The animation is much smoother than that of some stop motion animation (ie the Rankin-Bass holiday programs). If you are a fan of "The Arabian Nights" or "Aladdin" (the Aladdin story is also told in this feature), then this movie is for you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Once in a Lifetime Experience(you can have over and over) Jan. 9 2005
By R Atherton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For once there is no ambiguity: "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" is definitely the first feature length animated cartoon. Working in a converted garage, Reininger and her two assistants (one of whom specialized in magical soap bubble effects!) took three years to complete "Achmed." The film was a success, but for whatever reason Reininger spent the rest of her long career making shorts and advertisements (that I've never seen-hint, hint, Milestone). You might think, Hoo boy, an hour of nothing but black silhouettes on white. But give the film half a chance (especially in this magnificently colored restoration, with wonderful musical accompaniment) and I guarantee you'll be hooked. The complex tale of Achmed, his beloved, the wicked Magician, the kindly and powerful Ogre, the magical flying horse, and all the other characters are animated in a fantastically expressive manner, and the film moves at a breathless but comprehensible pace. This is one you'll come back to.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historically important work - a must have... June 18 2005
By Gina Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This movie is based on the Middle Eastern classic Arabian Nights . The Arabian tapestry is felt in genuine form in Lotte's interpretation. In fact Lotte is very talented when it comes to conjuring up a particular time and place in her other works as well. Lotte is a master of creating a dreamy, hypnotic, universe, out of jointed silhouettes. The moving objects morph perfectly into complex shapes, a magnificent bird into a spellbound woman, a magical palace out of fallen stars. The movie is entrancing, beautiful, and ethereal, not just for the time it was made, but even when you watch it now. There is a mood of fairy tales, other worldly, creativity and a genuine success at telling a story, with paper for crying out loud! After watching this animation, the visions will linger behind your sight like a soft daydream glow of a memory. If you are a current day animator the results of Lotte's work considering her limited technology, will blow your mind. If you are not an animator, this movie, will blow your mind. Lotte is an integral part of cinematic history. I have a more extensive and lengthy version of this review at my animation blog site here: [...] which you are invited to visit, read and comment on.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Animation from 1926 Sept. 30 2002
By rareoopdvds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
A silent animated film created in 1926 by German artist Lotte Reiniger. Considered to be the first full-length animated feature at 65 minutes, what makes this so special is not the story, but the animation itself which sets itself apart from anything tradional or even experimental Disney has done in their youth. All the characters and sets are done in silhouette from paper cut outs with hinges to manipulate the peoples actions. The result is an incredible and unique look that has never been matched before or since. Reineger certainly has her work cut out for her as she mastered this format throughout the rest of her career. In this video, in addition to the main feature which is a story from the Arabian Nights, is also a commercial Reineger did for the German creme company, as well as a 60-minute documentary on Lottes life. The documentary is bit slow, but it does display many of her other works, equally obscure and beautiful. If you are interested in classic cinema or animation, then by all means, you really should see this. While watching this, I am surprised that Disney showed no signs of influence in their early experimental stages. Highly reccomended classic!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The oldest surviving animated feature film Jan. 2 2007
By Galina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Visiting last week the exhibition," The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America" at Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, I was very lucky to watch as a part of the exhibit Charlotte (Lotte) Reiniger's "Die Geschichte des Prinzen Achmed" (The Adventures of Prince Achmed"), completed in 1926, which makes it THE oldest surviving animated feature film. Lotte Reiniger (June 2, 1899 - June 19, 1981) was a German (and later a British) silhouette animator and film director. Through elaborating articulated paper silhouettes set to an original score by Wolfgang Zeller, Reiniger combines in "Prince Achmed..." several fairy tales from the Thousand and One Nights aka Arabian Nights. Reiniger was ahead of Walt Disney by a decade using her innovative camera which separates foreground from background to produce 3-D illusion. She also experimented with wax and sand to create magical special effects. The result is simply stunning considering that the film is 80 years old. It did not age at all, it is paced extremely well, and its backgrounds literally hypnotize the viewers of any age. By the power of her creativity and imagination, Reiniger takes the viewers to the dream world of mesmerizing and magic characters and their incredible adventures.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully restored animation, with elements of "The Arabian Nights" April 25 2005
By M. Bromberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Milestone should be given high praise for this project. Most viewers will have seen nothing like Ms. Reiniger's silhouette animation, which seems as remarkable today as it must have in 1926. Jean Renoir had a hand in getting this film exhibited in Paris, and then became a lifelong creative friend of the animator and her husband. On the DVD, the English subtitles seem less distracting to the music score than the voiceover track, but viewers have that option. The companion documentary is a glimpse into the director's life and art for those who are unfamiliar with Ms. Reiniger and want to learn more. "The Adventure of Prince Achmed" is a fascinating film most viewers will want to watch more than once.
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