Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Review of "Hans Christian Andersen Animated Classics: The Nightingale," DVD version

 Review of

Hans Christian Andersen Animated Classics: The Nightingale, DVD version

Five out of five stars

Beautiful tale set in China

 Like so many of the fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen, this one is nonviolent and has a happy ending. It features the Chinese Emperor and includes some lackeys in the imperial court as well. However, the main human character is a young female that fishes with her grandfather and works as a cleaner in an inn frequented by arrogant male members of the imperial court.

 Word reaches the Emperor about a nightingale whose song is so beautiful that it will bring tears to your eyes. The court lackeys are ordered to find the nightingale, but they have no idea what it is or where to look.

 When they are at an inn, their laments are overheard by the young female cleaner and she speaks up, which is against the hierarchical protocol. She then takes them to the nightingale, and it agrees to sing for the Emperor. He is so stricken by the song that he elects to keep the nightingale in what is essentially a caged existence.

 After some time, the Japanese Emperor sends the Chinese Emperor a mechanical nightingale that also has a wonderful sound. Having that device, the Chinese Emperor ignores the live nightingale, and it flies away.

 A significant amount of time passes and suddenly the mechanical nightingale breaks down and cannot be repaired. The Emperor is on the verge of death when the young female goes and asks the live nightingale to come sing for the Emperor and it agrees. It has a strong restorative affect, and the Emperor recovers and promises the nightingale its’ freedom if it will sing on occasion.

 There are many different moral undercurrents in this story, the live versus mechanical, captive versus free and royal versus common people. All of them are resolved in favor of what is right, making this a joyous story for children.

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