Lotte Reiniger's The Adventures of Prince Achmed Officially Announced
Posted July 19, 2013 03:18 PM by Webmaster
The British Film Institute has officially announced that it will release a Dual Format Edition of Lotte Reiniger's Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed a.k.a The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). The release will come with with a newly recorded narration and the original orchestral score, along with a selection of short films and an illustrated booklet. Street date is August 19th.
Three years in the making, this beautiful 1926 silhouette animation brings to life magical tales from the Arabian Nights. The earliest surviving animated feature film – preserved in the BFI National Archive – it has been hailed as one of the world's most innovative and influential animations.
Handsome young Prince Achmed is brave and eager for adventure, so when the most powerful sorcerer in the world challenges him to fly a magic horse, Achmed plunges headlong into a series of exciting escapades which take him from Baghdad to China via the enchanted spirit lands of Wak-Wak.
Made in card, cut entirely by hand, and then manipulated using sheets of lead joined by wires, Reiniger's exquisite shadow characters move intricately through colourful worlds of demons, witches, beautiful princesses and flying castles.
The incredible talent and creativity shown here has influenced the animation in other films including Snow White, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Sword in the Stone.
Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
Original orchestral score by Wolfgang Zeller
Newly recorded alternative narration based on Lotte Reiniger's own translation of her German text Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed, spoken by actress Penelope McGhie
The Adventures of Dr Dolittle (Lotte Reiniger, 1928, 30 mins): a series of three short films based on the classic stories by Hugh Lofting
The Flying Coffer (Lotte Reiniger, 1921, 8 mins): a poor young fisherman tries to rescue the Emperor of China's daughter who is imprisoned in a sky high pagoda
The Secret of the Marquise (Lotte Reiniger, 1922, 2 mins): an early advert for Nivea skin care products
The Lost Son (Lotte Reiniger, 1974, 14 mins): the New Testament parable animated in Lotte Reiniger's inimitable style
The Star of Bethlehem (Lotte Reiniger, 1956, 18 mins): the nativity story with music by Peter Gellhorn, performed by the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays by Jez Stewart and Philip Kemp and a contribution by Marina Warner.
Note: Lotte Reiniger's The Secret of the Marquise (see video below) shows her enchanting silhouette animation in an early advert for Nivea skin care products. It is included in the BFI's Dual Format Edition release of The Adventures of Prince Achmed.
@Arkadin: According to the film's Wikipedia article: "It is the oldest surviving animated feature film; two earlier ones were made in Argentina by Quirino Cristiani, but they are considered lost." Promotional material written for the U.S. DVD release (linked from the Wikipedia article) discusses several possible alternative claims (including some questions about Cristiani's long-lost films) for "first animated feature", but there is very little question that this is indeed the oldest surviving fully-animated feature.
Snow White was the first widely-distributed feature made almost entirely with cel animation (what we now call "traditional"), so 75 years of Disney claims aren't entirely wrong. Animated shorts, of course, were being made for many years before this film; the oldest short to use animation techniques, J. Stewart Blackton's "The Enchanted Drawing" (1900), came long before even the well-known "Gertie the Dinosaur" (1914).