I saw this $1 DVD near the checkout at a certain Americal retail chain (W**M***) and snapped it up. The DVD is a pretty bad transfer of a beat-up negative, but still worth a buck.
The movie is actually Paul Grimault's 1953 feature La Bergère et Le Ramoneur, which seems to exist under a zillion different titles (Le Roi et l'Oiseau, Cross-Eyed Tyrant, The King and Mr. Mockingbird etc.). It's a weird and dreamlike story where paintings come to life, police fly like bats, and there's a trapdoor under every square inch of floor in the combination castle/city. The animation is dated - some of the characters look like they were designed by Fleischer Studios - but it's very fluid, maybe even animated on ones. There are some songs and Disney-esque cuteness, but they're mercifully brief.
This movie is also known for inspiring some of the elements in Miyazaki's Castle of Cagliostro, one of my favorite movies ever. If you've seen Cagliostro, the King's apartment in Wonderbird will look awfully familiar ...
The French DVD of the movie looks pretty classy - anybody seen that version? I'd like to see it in the original language, and without Peter Ustinov.
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