Eve Of The War

George Pal's "Tulips Shall Grow"
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Author:  morrisvan [ Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  George Pal's "Tulips Shall Grow"

If anyone has the WoTW special edition then mention is made of one of George Pal's Puppetoons "Tulips Shall Grow" Set in a stylised Holland of tulips and windmills it is about young dutch couple Jan and Janette whose courtship is disrupted by the arrival of the fasistic Screwball Army whose troops consist of goosestepping spheres with nuts and bolts heads; transparent fish-shaped aircraft with sweptback wings and tanks that are parachuted in on umbrellas which then fold up inside the vehicles. The army lay waste to the country with beautiful churches being bombed, the tulip fields flattened and a tank smashing down Janette's pretty windmill. One scene has Jan and Janette fleeing down a road pursued by the tabks that fire at them. The couple are seperated by the tanks and later a depressed and lonely Jan prays in the ruined church. Miraclously it starts to rain that causes the metal troops and tanks to rust away: one soldier raises its arm in the fascist salute before falling to pieces while a tank tries to put up it's umbrella before disintegrating. Reunited, Jan and Janette dance back up the road as the tulip fields grow again and the windmills rebuild themselves.
Some comentators have drawn parallels between this film and Pal's version of WoTW with a tranquil landscape invaded and a young couple terrrorised and seperated by a powerful, unstopable force. The climaxes are also similar with a prayer for devine intervention being answered; particulary after a church is attacked. The swept-back wings of the bombers are similar to the manta-ray shaped Martian machines while the unstopable tanks are also akin to the seemingly inestructable war machines. There are also two shots that remind one of WoTW with Jan and Janette hiding behind a wooden door just as Gene Barry and Ann Robinson hid from the Martians in the ruined house, and the two later pursued by a tank that has them in it's sights.
Pal lived in Holland before coming to America and said that "Tulips Shall Grow" was his reaction to the Nazi invasion of Holland with the Screwball Army parodying the Nazis whom he had first hand experience of in Germany - when the army first appear their goose-stepping leader is imitated by a goose. The film ends Jan and Janette looking up into the sky as a title reads: "Tulips shall always Grow."
If anyone is interested then the film is available on DVD on "Retour de Flamme" Volume 1. It's released by Lobster films and the number is QLDVD 6885.

Author:  Alland [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:23 am ]
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Didn't Ray Harryhausen work on the special effects for Pal's Puppetoons? Pretty ironic, since Harryhausen had expressed interest in doing a stop-motion version of WOTW's Fighting-Machines.

Author:  morrisvan [ Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yes he did. In his autobiography: "An Animated Life" Ray Harryhausen said he worked on the Puppetoons for two years and he said that while he found the experience useful he didn't really enjoy it as he found the animation style the films required very restrictive (rather than use one model the Puppetoons required different models and were usually heavily pre-planned). Harryhausen left to join the US Army and though he and Pal had some contact after the war they never worked together again.
Incidentally Harryhausen worked on "Tulips Shall Grow" and another Puppetoon that featured the Screwball Army called "Mr Strauss Takes a Walk" where they invade the Vienna Woods. I have not seen this film but I have seen a still of them following behind Johann Strauss as he leads them Pied-Piper fashion into the Danube.

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