Marco Polo Junior Versus the Red Dragon
|This article needs additional or better citations for verification. (May 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Marco Polo Junior Versus the Red Dragon|
|Directed by||Eric Porter|
|Written by||Sheldon Moldoff|
|Distributed by||British Empire Films|
Marco Polo Junior Versus the Red Dragon is a 1972 Australian animated musical adventure film directed by Eric Porter, written by Sheldon Moldoff, and was the country's first animated feature film. The two sequence directors were Porter's animation director Cam Ford (who had previously worked on the Beatles' Yellow Submarine) and Peter Gardiner.
Young Marco, a descendant of Marco Polo, and his companion Sandy the Seagull, sets off on a journey to the mythical kingdom of Xanadu, to help Princess Shining Moon defeat the evil magician, the Red Dragon.
- Bobby Rydell as Marco Polo Junior
- Arnold Stang as The Delicate Dinosaur
- Corie Sims as Princess Shining Moon
- Kevin Golsby as The Red Dragon
- Larry Best as The Guru
- Gordon Hammet
- Lionel G. Wilson
- Arthur Anderson
- Merril E. Joels
- Sam Gray
The film was conceived by Sheldon Moldoff who made the film as a co-production with Eric Porter in Australia. $60,000 of the budget was provided by the Australian Film Development Corporation. Preliminary story board work was done in the US but most of the film was done in Australia.
Over seventy artists were involved in the film. Sequence directors were Cam Ford and Peter Gardner, and animators were Paul McAdam, Yvonne Pearsall, Dick Dunne, Gairdon Cooke, Richard Jones, Gerry Grabner, Stan Walker, Cynthia Leech, Peter Luschwitz, Kevin Roper and children's illustrator Kilmeny Niland. Background work was by Graham Liney and Yvonne Perrin, sister of Disney's Sleeping Beauty background stylist Eyvind Earle. Production took place from mid 1970 until May 1972.
Only one voice, that of the Red Dragon, was provided by an Australian; actor and comedian Kevin Golsby.
Shortly before the film's release in December 1972, an Australian/American cartoon special about the original Marco Polo screened on Australian television, prompting the film's distributors to make the title longer to avoid confusion. However commercial results were poor, largely due to insufficient promotion by the US distributors, although it did reasonably well in Australia and Europe. The low returns from the film persuaded Porter to undertake sub-contracted TV series work from America's Hanna-Barbera (Charlie Chan & the Chan Clan, Superfriends, plus several one-off animated TV specials), but a subsequent financial recession in 1975 finally saw Porter shutting down his animation studio.
Three books were published using art work from the film.
The film's title was changed to The Magic Medallion for its 1976 release on television.
Marco Polo: Return to Xanadu
Many years later, the story was re-edited and extended by scriptwriter (and original co-producer) Sheldon Moldoff, in collaboration with Ron Merk and, with additional footage and subplot, was released as Marco Polo: Return to Xanadu (2002). The resulting version is generally considered to be vastly inferior to the original.
- "Marco Polo Junior (U)". British Board of Film Classification. 21 March 1973. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
- Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998 p268
- "Animation in Australia". Australian Government, Culture Portal. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
- "An "Anonymous" Actor.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 17 January 1973. p. 7. Retrieved 27 September 2012.