Friday, 20 November 2009

Faith and John Hubley "Voyage To Next "

I have the highest regard for the work of husband and wife team, Faith and John Hubley. Sponsored by the Institute for World Order, Voyage To Next epitomises the 1970’s challenge to the establishment, attacking war and the greed of mankind as seen through the eyes of Mother Earth and Father Time, their voices provided in naturalistic fashion by Maureen Stapleton and Dizzy Gillespie, the latter’s music miraculously conveying an altogether different era. The pair look down from above amazed at the fall from grace of we humans. Whilst Father Time treads the wheel that keeps everything in motion they marvel at what they see. On the ocean is a huge floating box from which emanates a giant hand plundering the contents of the smaller boxes, the Lilliputian inhabitants vainly firing their weapons at the aggressor triggering a further intervention as a lid is firmly slammed shut on the smaller box. Thus Faith and John deal with the richer nations' exploitation of the less rich. Dizzy's historical account of man's decline gets to the root of the problem as the simple illustrations have early man sharing food, hoarding food, building castles, sailing off to far off lands (in boxes) to plunder more goodies from foreign lands. Mother Earth is generous: "Maybe if you give them more time." Dizzy laughs: "Give ’em more brains." Today's commentators in all sorts of media are harsher: cynicism reigns. Voyage To Next reflects a gentler, more idealistic age, seeing the faults, but possessing an elegance and grace in its depiction of man's abundant inadequacies.


Michael Sporn said...

Truly a blast from the past as I opened your blog this morning. I was intimately involved in the making of this film during my working years at the Hubley studio.

The film had many difficulties during its making. It ran short of funds several times and there were several long breaks in the production. Faith had a strong blow with breast cancer during the production, which meant her treatments (in those primitive days of the 70's) were ongoing.

Bill Littlejohn and Phil Duncan were rocks that we counted on during the making of the film, and they came through with some fine animation.

I still have some artwork from this film.

Ian Lumsden said...

Thank you for the personal touch, Michael. There is something special about a Hubley movie. Their work is so much more experimental than is usually attempted today. I love their choice of music, use of improvised voices (perhaps not so much here)and the extemporized feel of it all, a product of a confident crew. I ration myself, you know - always a treat to write about the classics.