Lotte Reiniger Fairy Tales

Lotte Reiniger, at work in Rome, 1939. (via Wikipedia)

Lotte Reiniger was a true pioneer in the world of animation. Her paper cutouts were works of art, and truly magical when brought to life before the cameras. I know I saw some of her short films as a child. I assume they were on Pinwheel, as they filled much of the show with animated shorts from around the world, but I'm not positive. Her full-length silent feature film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, is sometimes shown on Turner Classic Movies, often as part of their Silent Sunday Nights. I loved it enough to buy it on DVD.

What I would love to own on DVD or Blu-Ray is a collection of Reiniger's fairy tale shorts. Until such a collection becomes available here in the U.S., I'm making do with what I can find on YouTube.

She made some silent fairy tales in her native Germany. For instance, Aschenputtel (Cinderella) from 1922.

Many of her most famous silent films were made in London, in the 1950s, under the banner "Primrose Productions." The British Film Institute has released a collection, which I would love to own, if it's ever released in Region 1 format.

The BFI has posted most of Jack and the Beanstalk on YouTube. It's missing the ending, unfortunately, but isn't the color beautiful?

The Magic Horse (1953) is spun-off from The Adventures of Prince Achmed.  About Prince Achmed, to quote Wikipedia:
The story is based on elements taken from the One Thousand and One Nights, specifically "The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou" featured in Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book.

Her version of Hansel and Gretel (1955) is much less grim than the Brothers Grimms'.

Däumlienchen is the German name for Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina, animated by Reiniger in 1954.


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  1. Enchanting! Love this. I have a Sleeping Beauty book illustrated by Arthur Rackham that reminds me so much of her silhouette animation!

    1. Oh, I bet that's lovely! There are some lovely silhouette illustrations in the big Taschen book of Brothers Grimm fairy tales, too - I'm thinking of "Little Red Riding Hood," in particular.


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