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Western Animation / Madeline (1952)

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Madeline is a 1952 animated short film directed by Robert Cannon, produced by UPA.

It is an adaptation of Madeline, the first book in the highly successful series by Ludwig Bemelmans. This very faithful adaptation introduces Miss Clavel, the teacher of a boarding school for little girls, and her happy little students. Madeline is the most fearless one of the bunch, and the most individualistic, the girl who isn't afraid of mice or the tiger in the zoo and who likes to play jokes on the teacher. But one day, she gets a bad stomach ache!

Not to be confused with Madeline, the television series based on the Madeline books.



  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The little girls' yellow dresses and hats are now red and rather than being a redhead, Madeline's hair is brown, like that of all the other girls.
  • Balloonacy: Madeline is lifted into the air by a single children's balloon.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Madeline's school appears to be right next to the Eiffel Tower, and the girls walk by Notre Dame cathedral to boot.
  • The End: The signature tag line of the Madeline books, when Miss Clavel turns the lights off in the girls' dormitory.
    "She turned out the light and closed the door. And that's all there is, there isn't any more."
  • The Film of the Book: A near-verbatim rendering of the book Madeline set to UPA's signature animated style.
  • Limited Animation: Limited Animation later grew to be associated with all the cheap, crappy TV cartoons of The Dark Age of Animation but UPA cartoons like this one showed how it could be used as a distinctive style. All the backgrounds are simple watercolors on plain screens. When the twelve little girls are out walking their legs are the only thing that moves. Their faces are literal smiley faces. It strongly resembles the full-color portions of the book and works.
  • Advertisement:
  • One-Gender School: Madeline goes to a boarding school that boards twelve little girls.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The book Madeline, which is read as narration in the short, rhymed every line.
  • Ruptured Appendix: After Madeline gets her appendix removed, the other little girls at the school are jealous and want theirs removed too.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Thick line animation is used throughout the cartoon.


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