Valentine's Day seems a fitting time to celebrate a couple of rarely explored segments from the Disney anthology films of the late 1940s.
Transitioning out of WWII, Disney Studios was left with a number of unfinished story ideas. To keep the studio functioning, various unrelated ideas were completed and 'packaged' into films for theatrical release. The various segments within these films also provided an opportunity to experiment with new processes. Make Mine Music released in theaters, Spring of 1946. Featured within this film were two visual Valentines which offered the artists of Disney the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and providing a foray with these advances into the animated art form.
Two Silhouettes explored a visual celebration of music, dance and the rosy glow of love. This segment offered artists the chance to explore stylized impressionistic backgrounds as the simple setting for roto-scoped dancers, David Lichine and Tania Raibouchinskaya. Minimally animated elements, set within a Monet-esque garden setting, result in a tender take on the visual expression of love.
In contrast, Without You — a "Love Letter in landscape" was Walt's quest for a "translucent, poetic tone, a moody shifting of colors and forms in various lights - all reflecting and underlining the tone colors of the music and the meaning of the lyrics." Artists achieved a tonal mood through an experimental wash-technique dubbed "Water Color Luminosity." This newly-developed approach involved literally washing away lines with pure, transparent color.
On this day of romance, open up your heart and take a second look at these two visual tone-poems that explored new horizons in animation...and love!