The Centaurs (1921)
It’s just a fragment, but the film is comprised of the most beautiful animation McCay ever put to screen. This is the closest he got to the highs of the Golden Age of Disney; maybe I’m just conflating it with “The Pastoral Symphony” sequence in FANTASIA (1940), but nevertheless, it is truly a nexus for another dimension.
As with GERTIE ON TOUR, the film’s status as a fragment dilutes any kind of narrative thread and leaves little explanation for the series of images that flash before your eyes. But that has the incredible effect of lending even more weight to those images. How did we get here? What are these beings and what are their motivations? THE CENTAURS is McCay’s most investing work in spite of its abridged length, and to study its innovations may lead to a revived sense of movement in animation.