Commercial and Artistic Success
All the films of Mary Ellen Bute and Oskar Fischinger that utilize Art music exploit some aspect of the music. Fischinger usually emphasized structural elements: form and musical contrast. Fischinger’s use of contrasting shapes with contrasting musical themes is one of the most elegant visual analogues to absolute music. His unique vision and his fine precision with all the modes of animation at his disposal allowed him to create visuals that powerfully evoke the spirit of the music he chose. Bute saw greater potential in the use of non-programmatic and programmatic music to tell a story. Bute experienced commercial success in America while Fischinger’s early films found an international audience. One must remember, however, that success is not a product of talent alone. Each animator’s personal relationships affected his and her career. Both Bute and Fischinger showed great artistic talent, but their personalities must have been very different. Fischinger, by many accounts, was a perfectionist and preferred to work independently. Bute attracted supporters and collaborators easily. Fischinger’s accent—especially during the war years—and his inability to speak English, proved to be a sizable obstacle in his path. As an émigré, the German government made it impossible for Fischinger to export prints of the films he made while in Europe. Furthermore, as an independent filmmaker, he was at the mercy of his patrons.
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________. “Light, Form, Movement, Sound.” Design (1956): 25.
________. “New Music for New Films.” Film Music. Vol. 7, no. 4 (1953).
________. “Reaching for Kinetic Art.” Harvard
Independent Film Group
________. Talk given at the Chicago Institute (7 May 1976) quoted in
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Lukach, Joan M. Hilla Rebay:
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___________. “Fischinger at Disney or Oskar in the Mousetrap.” Millimeter.
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___________. “Mary Ellen Bute: Seeing Sound.”
___________. Optical Poetry:
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___________. “You Can’t Get Then From Now.” Los
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Oskar Fischinger Archive: www.oskarfischinger.org
Center for Visual Music: www.centerforvisualmusic.org
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[no author] “Expanding Cinema’s Synchromy 2.” Literary Digest (8 August 1936).
Press Release from Ted Nemeth Studios for “Abstronics” and “Spook Sport.”