George Dunning - Writer

Animator. Nationality: Canadian. Born: Toronto, Ontario, 1920. Education: Attended Ontario College of Art. Career: Freelance illustrator; 1943–48—worked for the animation unit of the National Film Board of Canada: first film as director, Chants populaires , 1943; 1948–50—worked for Unesco in Paris; 1950–55—worked in Canada; 1955–56—worked in New York on The Gerald McBoing Boing Show ; 1957—formed T.V. Cartoons Ltd. (later TVC London): made commercials, worked for the National Coal Board, Ford Motors, and other companies; television work included producing The Beatles series in the UK, 1964, the Cool McCool series in the U.S.A., 1966. Died: In 1979.

Films as Animator:


"Auprès de ma blonde" ep. of Chants populaires


Grim Pastures, or the Fight for Fodder


The Three Blind Mice


"J'ai tant dansé" ep. of Chants populaires ; Cadet Rousselle


Upright and Wrong (co)


Family Tree (co)


The Wardrobe


Visible Manifestations


The Ever-Changing Motor Car ; Mr. Know-How in Hot Water ; The Apple ; The Flying Man


The Ladder


Safety Boots


The Chair


Yellow Submarine ; Lazy River


Hands, Knees, and Bumps-a-Daisy


Moon Rock


Damon the Mower ; Horses of Death


How Not to Lose Your Head While Shotfiring (co); The Maggot


Teamwork (co)

Other Films:


Keep Your Mouth Shut (asst d)


Canada Is My Piano (Sewell) (pr)


By DUNNING: article—

Animafilm (Warsaw), January-March 1980.

On DUNNING: articles—

Films and Filming (London), June 1964.

Roudévitch, Michel, in Cinéma (Paris), no. 98, 1965.

Filmmakers Newsletter (Ward Hill, Massachusetts), July-August 1973.

Cornand, André, "Le Festival d'Annecy et les Recontres internationales du cinéma d'animation," in Image et Son , January 1977.

Obituary in Cinéma (Paris), July-August 1979.

* * *

George Dunning, like his contemporaries John Hubley and Norman McLaren, can best be described as an "experimentalist," having used every medium to make animated films, including cut-outs, painting on glass, and direct painting onto film as well as more orthodox methods such as cel and paper. Most of his early energies were directed toward commercials, and once he had formed his UK company, sponsors were eager for his particular brand of animated television advertising. While working on commercial projects, Dunning's enthusiasm still found outlets in projects done for his own personal satisfaction in his spare time and usually at his own expense.

Damon the Mower , a visual interpretation of Andrew Marvell's poem, is photographed as a pencil-test which enhances the quality rather than loses it. He always attempts to bring the right technique to each of his films. In The Apple , the humorous story of a man trying to reach an apple high in a tree, Dunning draws his characters in simple outline with the apple being the only colored object on the screen. The Flying Man is painted directly onto glass in a different fashion of artwork entirely.

Each new film Dunning produced reflected the fact that he was still experimenting. This proved true in his highly acclaimed film Yellow Submarine , which includes every style and technique from water color on cel ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds") and Rotoscope to early forms of computer animation. Unfortunately, due to ill health Dunning was never able to finish his pet project of several years, Shakespeare's The Tempest . His company carries on in his memory, chalking up awards for such masterpieces as Raymond Briggs's The Snowman (1982). No doubt Dunning would approve.

—Graham Webb

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