Emile Cohl - Writer





Animator. Nationality: French. Born: Emile Eugène Jean Louis Courtet in Paris, 4 January 1857. Education: The Ecole Professionnelle, Pantin, 1864; Ecole Turgot, Paris, 1870. Family: Married 1) Marie Servat, 1879 (separated 1889); child: Andrée; 2) Suzanne Delpy, 1896; child: André. Career: 1872—apprenticed to jeweller; 1875–76—military service; 1878—studied under Andre Gill; 1879—caricaturist and illustrator of journals; 1881—designer for theatre, wrote comedies; 1884—founded portraiture company; 1907—worked at Gaumont animating his drawings; 1910—left Gaumont for Pathé; 1911—made films combining live-action and animation; 1912—joined Société Française des Films-Eclair, left for U.S.; began Newlywed series of cartoons; 1914—returned to France; 1919–23—made animated commercials. Died: In Paris, 20 January 1938.

Films as Animator, Director, and Writer:

1908

Le Violoniste ( L'Agent et le violoniste ; Violon et agent ); Fantasmagorie ( Metamorphosis ; Black and White ); Le Prince azur ; La Monnaie de 1.000F ; Blanche comme neige ; La Vengeance de Riri ; La Séquestrée ; La Force de l'enfant ; Le Veau ; Le Coffre-fort ; Et si nous buvions un coup ; Le Journal animé ( Mon Journal ); L'Hôtel du silence ; Le Cauche-mar du Fantoche ( The Puppet's Nightmare ; Living Blackboard ); L'Automate ; Un Drame chez les fantoches ( A Love Affair in Toyland ; Mystical Love-Making ); Les Allumettes animées ( Animated Matches ); Le Cerceau magique ( Magic Hoop ); Le Petit Soldat qui devient Dieu ; Les Freres Boutdebois ( Acrobatic Toys ; Brothers Wod ); N.I. ni-c'est fini

1909

Les Transfigurations ; Soyons doncs sportifs ( A Sportive Puppet ); La Valise diplomatique ( La Bourse ; The Ambassador's Despatch ); L'Omelette fantastique ( Magic Eggs ); Les Beaux-Arts de Jocko ( The Automatic Monkey; Jacko the Artist ); La Lampe qui file ( The Smoking Lamp ); Japon de fantaisie ( Japanese Magic ; A Japanese Fantasy ); L'Agent de poche ( Pocket Policeman ); Les Joyeaux Microbes ( The Merry Microbes ); Moderne Ecole ; Les Gricheux ; Le Docteur Carnaval ; L'Eventail animé ( Historical Fan ; Magic Fan ); Clair de lune espagnol ( The Man in the Moon ; The Moon-Struck Matador ); Les Locataires d'à côté ( Next Door Neighbors ); Les Couronnes ( Laurels ); Le Linge turbulent ; La Bataille d'Austerlitz ( The Battle of Austerlitz ); Monsieur Clown chez les Lilliputiens ; Porcelaines tendres ( Sevres Porcelain ); Les Chapeaux des belles dames ; L'Armée d'Agenor ( L'Ecole du soldat ); Génération spontanée ( Les Générations comiques ; Magic Cartoons ); Les Chaussures matrimoniales ; La Lune dans son tablier ( Moon for Your Love ); Don Quichotte ( Don Quixote ); Un Coup de Jarnac ( Jarnac's Treacherous Blow ); Un Chirurgien distrait ; Les Lunettes féeriques ( X-Ray Glasses ); Affairs de coeur ( Affairs of Hearts )

1910

Cadres fleuris ( Floral Studies ); Le Binettoscope ( The Comedy-Graph ); Rêves enfantins ; En route ; Les Chaines ; Singeries humaines ( The Jolly Whirl ); Le Songe d'un garçon de café ( Le Rêve du garçon de café ; The Hasher's Delirium ; Café Waiter's Dream ); Le Champion du jeu à la mode ( Solving the Puzzle ); Le Mobilier fidèle ; Le Petit Chantecler ; Les Douze Travaux d'Hercule ( Hercules and the Big Stick ); Le Tout Petit Faust ( The Beautiful Margaret ); Le Peintre neoimpressioniste ; Les Qautre Petits Tailleurs ( The Four Little Tailors ); L'Enfance de l'art ; Les Beaux Arts mysterieux ; Monsieur Stop ; Le Placier est tenance ; Toto devient anarchiste ; Histoire de chapeaux ( Headdresses of Different Periods ); La Telecoutre sans fil ; Rien n'est impossible à l'homme ; Dix Siècles d'elegance ; Monsieur de Crac ( Le Baron de Crac ; The Wonderful Adventures of Herr Munchausen ); Le Grand Machin et le petit chose ; Bonsoirs russes ; Bonsoirs (in 8 languages); Les Chefs d'oeuvres de Bébé ; La Musicomanie (last film for Gaumont)

1911

Le Retapeur de Cervelles ( Brains Repaired ); Les Aventures d'un bout de papier ; Le Musée des grotesques ; Les Bestioles Artistes ; Les Fantaisies d'Agenor maltrace ; Jobard est demande en mariage ; Jobard ne peut pas rire ; Jobard a tué sa belle-mere ; Jobard change de bonne ; Jobard garçon de recettes ; Jobard amoureux timide ; Jobard portefaix par amour ; Jobard ne peut pas voir les femmes travailler ; Jobard fiance par interim ( Jobard chauffeur ); La Vengeance des esprits ; La Boite diabolique

1912

Les Exploits de feu-follet ; Les Jouets animés ( Les Joujoux savants ); Les Allumettes fantaisies ( Les Allumettes magiques ); Les Extraordinaires Exercices de la famille Coeur-de-Bois ; Campbell Soups ; Les Metamorphoses comiques ; Dans la Vallée d'Ossau ; Quelle drôle de blanchisserie ; Une Poule mouillée qui se sèche ; Poulot n'est pas sage ; Ramoneur malgré lui ; Le Mari a mal aux dents ; Le Premier Jour de Vacances de Poulot ; Jeunes Gens a marier ; Le Prince de galles et fallières ; La Marseillaise ; Fruits et légumes vivants ; Moulai Hafid et Alphonse XIII

1913–14

Bewitched Matches ; Clara and Her Mysterious Toys ; A Vegetarian's Dream ; Unforeseen Metamorphosis ( Exposition de Caricatures ); Le Ousititi de Toto

1915

Le Voisin trop gourmand ; La Trompette anti-neurasthenique ; Ses Ancêtres ; Fantaisies truquées ; La Blanchisserie américaine ; Fruits et legumes animés ; Les Braves Petits Soldats de plomb ; Le Terrible Bout de papier ; Un Drame sur la planche à chaussures

1916

Les Exploits de Farfadet ; Les Tableaux futuristes et incohérents ; Pulcherie et ses meubles ; Les Evasions de Bob Walter ; Mariage par suggestion ; Les Victuailles de Gretchen se revoltent ; Figures de cire et tetes de bois ; Croquemitaine et Rosalie ; Jeux de cartes ; La Journée de Flambeau ( Flambeau, chien perdu ); Flambeau au pays des surprises ( Flambeau aux lignes ); La Main mystérieuse ; Les Fiancailles de Flambeau ; Les Aventures de Clementine ; La Maison du Fantoche ( Fantoche cherche un logement ); La Campagne de France 1814-(?) ; Pages d'histoire numbers 1 and 2 ; numerous publicity and educational films

1917

L'Enlevement de Dejanire Goldebois ; L'Avenir devoile par les lignes des pieds

1922–23

Numerous publicity films for Publi-Cine


Newlywed Series—


1912–14

When He Wants a Dog He Wants a Dog ; Business Must Not Interfere ; He Wants What He Wants When He Wants It ; Poor Little Chap He Was Only Dreaming ; He Loves to Watch the Flight of Time ; He Ruins His Family Reputation ; He Slept Well ; He Was Not Ill, Only Unhappy ; It Is Hard to Please Him, But It Is Worth It ; He Poses for His Portrait ; He Loves to Be Amused ; He Likes Things Upside-Down ; He Doesn't Care to Be Photographed

Other Titles, Possibly Belonging to Newlywed Series—

1912–14

Pick-me-up est un sportsman ; La Baignoire ; Il aime le bruit ; Carte américaine ; Il joue avec Dodo

The Moving World Series—


1912–1922

Films, 15 to 25 meters long, based on news events of the day

Eclair Journal Series—

1915

4 films, 10 to 12 meters long

1916

32 films, most between 10 and 30 meters long, and on subjects relating to the War


Les Aventures des Pieds-Nickles Series—


1916

Numbers 1 through 5

Other Films:


1908

Le Mouton enragé ; Le Miracle des roses

Publications


On COHL: books—

Duca, Lo, Les Dessins animés—histoire, esthétique , Paris, 1948.

Crafton, Donald, Emile Cohl: Caricature and Film , Princeton, New Jersey, 1990.


On COHL: articles—

Auriol, Jean, "Les Premiers dessins animés cinématographiques: Emile Cohl," in La Revue du Cinéma (Paris), January 1930.

Dauven, L.R., "En visite chez M. Emile Cohl," in Pour Vous (Paris), August 1933.

d'Allemagne, Henry, "Emile Cohl (Emile Courtet), créateur du dessin animé sur pellicule cinématographique," in Bulletin de la Société d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale (Paris), March-April 1937.

Lapierre, Marcel, "Trois Hommes ont inventé le dessin animé—Reynaud, Cohl et Disney," in Paris-Soir , 28 April 1937.

Martin, André, "Le Dessin animé revient à ses origines," in Arts (Paris), 20 August 1958.

Courtet-Cohl, Pierre, "Les Beaux-arts mystérieuses—portrait d'Emile Cohl," in Catalogue des Huitieme Journées Internationales du Cinéma d'Animation , Annecy, 1971.

Maillet, Raymond, "Les Pionniers français de l'animation," in Ecran (Paris), January 1973.

Maillet, R., "Emile Cohl 1857–1938," in Avant-Scène (Paris), 15 June 1978.

Maillet, Raymond, "Emile Cohl 1857–1938," in Anthologie du Cinéma vol. 10 , Paris, 1979.

CinémAction (Conde-sur-Noireau), no. 51, April 1989.

Cosandey, R., "Émile Cohl: animation, dessins animés, ou film à trucs?," in Positif , no. 371, January 1992.

Cosandey, R., "Le peintre neo-impressionniste d'Émile Cohl ou la cause commune," in Positif , no. 371, January 1992.

Crafton, D., "Emile Cohl and American Eclair's animated cartoons," in Griffithiana , no. 47, March 1983.

Cherchi Usai, Paolo, "Émile Cohl l'artista," in Segnocinema (Vicenza), November-December 1990.

Abel, Richard, "An Incomparably Incoherent Cinema," in Persistence of Vision (Maspeth), no. 9, 1991.

Animation Journal (Orange), Fall 1992.

Jeune Cinéma (Paris), January 1993.

Crafton, Donald, "Emile Cohl and American Éclair's Animated Cartoons," in Griffithiana (Baltimore), May 1993.

McLaren, N., "Hyllest til Emile Cohl," in Z Filmtidsskrift (Oslo), no. 2, 1997.


* * *


The invention of animated cartoons goes back to the invention of film itself making it difficult to trace its exact origins. However, one of the first (if not the first) to discover this art form was Emile Cohl. Before he began his career as a film animator (aged 50), Cohl had achieved some fame in France as a newspaper caricaturist and political satirist. With his background as a cartoonist it seemed only natural that he should add movement to his drawings.

Before Cohl's work, both drawn and object animation was used only as a novelty in "trick" films, such as those done by George Méliès and J. Stuart Blackton. Cohl expanded the form so that an entire story could be told using animation. One of Cohl's first films, Fantasmagorie , ran only two minutes, but was composed of 700 drawings narrating the adventures of a little clown.

Cohl's animation style is rather surreal and also makes good use of the medium. The cartoons are not formally structured, but the images flow easily from one to another as objects melt into other shapes. For example, an elephant turns into a house or a window changes into a man. These films have had an obvious influence on later animated films, such as George Dunning's Yellow Submarine , or the pink elephant sequence in Walt Disney's Dumbo .

Emile Cohl's films also contain many technical innovations used in later cartoons. For example, Clair de lune espagnol uses matte photography to combine animation with live-action. Although it is a "simple" split-screen technique, it is amazing that Cohl registered any synchronization at all between the live and animated halves since these scenes must have been composed in-the-camera.

Emile Cohl was the first animator to have to deal with the pressures of studio production schedules. While at the Gaumont Studios in France he was required to complete a film every two weeks. This time pressure forced him to take several shortcuts. In some cases his animated films were lengthened with live-action footage; at other times he was forced to use cut-out animation. (Cut-out animation uses a single figure with movable limbs in order to save time by not having to redraw the figure every frame.) Cohl naturally disliked the look of the cut-out animation because of its obviously limited motion. His situation at Gaumont Studios can be compared to television animation today where time and money limits the potential of the animators in favor of more product.

In 1912 Cohl moved to New Jersey to work for the Eclair Studios. In America Cohl worked on a number of cartoons known as The Newlyweds , marking the first time that a continuing set of characters appeared in a cartoon series. Of course, many competitors, such as Krazy Kat and Mickey Mouse, soon followed.

Though Cohl's films were extremely well received in America (where his French films were distributed by Gaumont), he was, unfortunately, given no credit. The production companies received all the praise and the true artist went unknown. However, the influence which Emile Cohl has had on the shape of the animated cartoon is invaluable, the basis for the art form as it exists today.

—Linda Obalil



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1
Michel Legros
Report this comment as inappropriate
Mar 22, 2006 @ 4:16 pm
Please correct :

Married 1) Marie Servat, 1881 (divorced 1889);
2) Suzanne Delpy, 1905;

First mariage 12.11.1881
Second mariage 2.5.1905

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