“The greatest ambition that burns and swells in the soul of every creative animator is to illustrate music, to give visual form and color to its notes.”
In a parody of Disney’s Fantasia (1940), an Italian producer (Maurizio Micheli) announces a completely novel type of movie: classical music with animated accompaniment. Meanwhile, a pompous conductor (Néstor Garay) corrals a group of old female orchestra members and bullies a harried artist (Maurizio Nichetti) who has eyes for a pretty young cleaner (Marialuisa Giovannini).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Animated Features
- Episodic Films
- Satires and Spoofs
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “ambitious, moderately successful film… both pays homage to Fantasia and mocks its Disney innocence.” In showing yet again “how classical music and animation can enhance one another, the picture consists of vignettes set to the music of Debussey, Dvorak, Ravel, Sibelius, Vivaldi, and Stravisnky” — but since “this is for adults, [the] sequences have to do with sin, sex, loneliness, [and] death.” Indeed, “most of the pieces are hard-edged and sad” – but “since the animation is colorful, the animal and human characters are quirky and likable, and there is enough humor”, we “never get depressed.” The “black-and-white live-action sequences” — which are “full of slapstick humor and dealing with a Felliniesque orchestra”:
— are a mixed bag, but ultimately an indelible part of the film’s unique style; it’s easy to see how this film has been “a nice change of pace from typical repertory-theater fare” (though as Peary notes, “you have to be in the right mood to enjoy it”).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Many enjoyably eccentric, well-animated sequences
Yes, as a cult favorite.
One thought on “Allegro Non Troppo (1976)”
First viewing ( 5/29/20). Not must-see.
The film opens with a host / narrator / (producer, I guess) who boldly informs us that we are going to see one of the best movies ever made – he tells us in a way that makes us think we should expect the opposite. He gets a phone call from Hollywood, telling him that his idea has already been done (‘Fantasia’) and he calls the person on the phone a liar and hangs up. From there, we move into a proper parody of ‘Fantasia’… and it’s pretty bad, though the format is similar. We see six pieces of classical music done in animation styles that are a blend of ‘Yellow Submarine’, Pink Panther cartoons and Ralph Bakshi flicks. The animation is consistently… ok without being outstanding in any way. It’s certainly got nothing on ‘Fantasia’. These pieces are interspersed with ‘comedy’ scenes dealing with the musicians, the conductor and the animator. All of the comedy is forced and unfunny.