Tag Archives | Antiquity

Middelboe Chronicles, Part 73: The Boy Who Had No Story

And now we come, at last, to the final installment of the Middelboe Chronicles – appropriately enough, a story about stories: The Boy Who Had No Story (“Animated Tales of the World,” 2003, from Ireland) – and, incidentally, the third story in a row posted here to deal with (inter alia) Noah’s Ark.

Of the 75 Middelboeverse episodes I’ve been able to identify, I’ve now posted 73 here – omitting only Moby Dick and Twelfth Night, which seem to be unavailable online.

And while we’re on the subject of animated adaptations of Irish legends, I want to put in a plug for the remarkably beautiful movie The Secret of Kells (a French-Irish-Belgian production, not part of the variously Welsh-Russian-Spanish-Hungarian Middelboeverse, but clearly a worthy rival thereunto):

Our revels now are ended. (But be of good cheer, the SciFi SongFest continues through Hallowe’en.)


Middelboe Chronicles, Part 72: Creation and the Flood

From Chaucer’s parody of Noah’s Ark (in the Miller’s Tale) to the original, here’s Creation and the Flood (“Testament: The Bible in Animation,” 1996), featuring the story of Noah’s Ark but with Genesis 1-3 shoehorned in too, as well as the fall of Lucifer (here identified with both Satan and the serpent of Eden, despite the flimsiness of any biblical basis for that traditional three-way identification):

Incidentally, I’ve seen many visual representations of the Noah’s Ark story, but I have yet to see any that acknowledges the fairly important deviation from popular conceptions that’s implied by Genesis 7:2-3.


Middelboe Chronicles, Part 70: Canterbury Tales – Arriving at Canterbury

“Arriving at Canterbury” (1998), the second of three installments from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, adapts the Merchant’s Tale, the Pardoner’s Tale, and the Franklin’s Tale.

The Pardoner’s Tale was one of the inspirations for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

The Franklin’s Tale is an interesting case of a courtly-love relationship surviving into marriage, contrary to the standard Laws of Love that supposedly make the two relations incompatible. (I’ll be blogging about this soon.)

At 18:54, we see a canopy with the emblem “À MON SEUL DÉSIR” writ thereon, the which doth signify a tapestry of great fame, as may be seen below (or in the Musée Cluny in Paris):


Middelboe Chronicles, Part 69: Canterbury Tales – Leaving London

The first of three sets of adaptations of episodes from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This installment, “Leaving London” (1998), adapts the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, the Knight’s Tale, and the Wife of Bath’s Tale.

Casting note: Sean Bean’s in this one – and his character doesn’t die!


Middelboe Chronicles, Part 64: Julius Caesar

In the most high and palmy state of Rome
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets

From the periphery of Roman imperial power, in yesterday’s The Miracle Maker, to the epicenter, in today’s Julius Caesar (“Shakespeare: The Animated Tales,” 1994).

The way that Caesar’s cape flaps behind him reminds me of Beowulf’s similarly flapping cape back in Part 1.

Inexplicably, this adaptation changes the manner of Brutus’s and Cassius’s deaths. What happened to “Hold then my sword … while I do run upon it” – which I remember vividly from my old Classics Illustrated comics?

Even before the comics, my first introduction to this play, and to Shakespeare generally, was when my mother bought me a recording (pictured below) of speeches from Julius Caesar and The Tempest. (Oddly, the cover artist seemed to think he was illustrating Midsummer Night’s Dream. I mean, I suppose the chap with wings there could be either Ariel or Puck, but his companion can only be Nick Bottom.) Even without context, and having no idea which side to root for, I was fascinated by the exchange of funeral speeches between Antony and Brutus. (I still am!)


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