The Ugly Duckling

Original Title あひるの子
Japanese kana Rendering Ahiru no ko
English Title The Ugly Duckling
Production Date 1932
Author Yasuji Murata
Duration (minutes) 15
Sound silent
Color b/w
Plot Four ducklings are already swimming in the pond within a few days of hatching. Their mother is sitting on the last and largest egg. The grandmother duck, who likes to chat, worries that it may be a turkey egg. The chick that hatches three days later has a long neck and quacks in an unfamiliar way. However, the mother duck is relieved to see the youngest duckling actively training to swim. Being different from other ducklings in appearance, he is mocked by dogs and bullied by frogs. He is despised by other ducks and ostracized by his four brothers. One evening, the youngest duckling leaves his mother and brothers. In autumn, the duckling who continues to travel alone asks a goose to let him join his flock. While they are talking, they see a hunter fire a gun and barely escape the hound. Autumn gives way to winter. The duckling is lying on a bed in a cabin near a second house on the lakeside. A black cat and a hen are watching the duckling with a concerned look. The duckling wakes up and is told by the black cat that he was saved while being attacked by a weasel. The hen says that the duckling does not look like a duck, and the black cat tells the duckling that he can stay as long as he wishes. Summer comes after the spring. Children in a second house spot a beautiful swan. The black cat tells the hen that he is proud of having raised the swan. The young swan's days are peaceful and happy. When the evening comes, the swan remembers his gentle mother duck.
Description The 62nd issue of the Athena Film Library series of education movies produced by Yokohama Cinema Shokai. Subsequent to the existing silent version, a talkie labeled "Yoshizaka-style recording" was also released. The original length of the 35-mm version is 323 m per volume for the silent version and 535 m for the two-volume talkie version. In addition to a 35-mm version, a 16-mm Sakura Graph version was also released by Konishiroku Honten. Here is the advertisement of the movie at the time: "Andersen's famous fairy tale has been produced as an excellent animation. This animation, produced by a master, depicts a lovely and idyllic world of ducklings filled with pathos and artistry. It is a work of art that can be created only by a virtuoso" (Eiga Kyoiku, October 1932). According to The History of Japanese Animation (Katsunori Yamaguchi & Yasushi Watanabe, Yubunsha, 1977, p. 206), photos of girls reading Andersen's fairy tales are added before and after the animation in the talkie version. A real-life film of a girl and a boy watching a swan is also inserted in this version. Andersen's original story ends with the joy of the duckling, who, bullied by others, believed himself to be ugly but realizes he is a beautiful swan. In contrast, the ending of the adaptation by Chuzo Aochi is filled with pathos, where the swan remembers his gentle duck mother while quietly swimming in the lake.
Production Company Yokohama Cinema Shokai*
Distribution 35-mm version: Okamoto Yoko (Kanto)* and Oku Shokai (Kansai)*; 16-mm version: Konishiroku Honten*
Release Date September 1932
Credits: Director Animation: Yasuji Murata
Credits: Staff, Cast, etc. Adaptation: Chuzo Aochi
Intertitles T1: Adapted by Chuzo Aochi / Animation by Yasuji Murata T2: They're so active within a few days of being hatched. T3: Where's your mom? T4: She's still sitting on one egg. T5: The others hatched 5 days ago but not this one? T6: Once I was tricked into hatching turkey eggs. Maybe it's a turkey! T7: I don't think so. I'll sit on it for a few more days. T8: 3 days later T9: The swimming test T10: I'm glad he's not a turkey. A little ugly but healthy. T11: The neighbors teased the youngest duckling's appearance. T12: That's one ugly duckling. T13: He's not a duck yet, more like half a duck. T14: He gives ducks a bad name. T15: I get so irritated just looking at him. T16: Soon his siblings were ostracizing the ugly duckling. T17: One evening T18: Autumn T19: You're a duckling. You can't join our flock. T20: Winter T21: How do you feel? T22 You're young. You'll recover in no time. T23: You're lucky I found you out there. T24: Help! T25: Help! T26: Yes, you're lucky. I lost two chicks to that weasel. T27: You claim to be a duck but I don't think you are. T28: That neck and his feathers aren't those of a duck. T29: Whatever you are, you can stay with us. T30: Spring T31: Then it was sunny summer again. T32: The owners of the second houses returned. T33: Look, a beautiful swan! T34: Beautiful. Has it always been here? T35: I guess it flew over during the winter. T36: Let's feed it! T37: Who'd have guessed that the ugly duckling would become a swan? T38: I told you, he wasn't a duck. T39: I'm proud of myself for raising such a beautiful bird. T40: The young swan's days were peaceful and happy. T41: The evening quietly fell over the lake. T42: The swan suddenly remembered his gentle mother in the old creek. T43: The Ugly Duckling / The End
Censorship - Date and Number [Note] Home Ministry censorship number (silent version): G13667 (September 13, 1932); (talkie version): G14645 (October 12, 1932)
References ・ "Graphic Section: The Ugly Duckling," Eiga Kyoiku, No. 57 (November 1932), frontispiece page (with photos).
Frames per Second 18fps
Source of Digital Copy The 16mm positive owned by Planet Film Archive -> The 35mm internegative owned by NFC 
Completeness no main title
Additional Notes The mark of "*" will provide an additional explanation gained from the bibliographical information.
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