Weston Woods Studio 50th Anniversary Celebration | Chicago Reader

Weston Woods Studio 50th Anniversary Celebration

For half a century the Weston Woods Studio, located in Weston, Connecticut, has faithfully adapted preschool and elementary school books to the screen, helping teachers and librarians battle the tube (or surrender to it, depending on your point of view). These ten shorts are consistently carming and imaginative, though the credit belongs mostly to the original authors and illustrators; because the characters have already been visualized and the text is supplied in voice-over, the director's creative input is confined mostly to movement, which tends more toward iconography (panning and scanning the illustrator's original work) than full animation. The program is heavy with classics—Robert McCloey's Make Way for Ducklings, Ezra Jack Keats's The Snowy Day, Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur, and Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (the favorite of young pagans everywhere). But the most imaginative film is Virginia Wilkos's fully animated 1993 adapation of Robert Krause's Musical Max, about a multi-instrumental hippo whose constant jamming drives its neighbors crazy; it's also a showcase for composer Ernest V. Troost, whose lively scores bolster five of these films. 91 min.

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