'Windy Day' Is Immortal
Looking at a Faith and John Hubley masterpiece.
Late last year, the comic strip Doonesbury did something unexpected. Author Garry Trudeau dedicated a whole Sunday edition to hyping up, and linking, an animated film. “This Oscar-nominated gem has been delighting kids of all ages for years,” he wrote.
The film was Windy Day (1968) by Faith and John Hubley.
We’ve written a lot about the Hubleys. From their first collaboration in the mid-1950s, this husband-and-wife indie team broke rules — and ground. No one else in America made cartoons like them. Their dreamlike Moonbird (1959), built from improvised dialogue and double exposures and modern painting, was the first indie film to win an Oscar in the animation category. Over the next decade, the Hubleys would win two more.
Their work is gorgeous, funny and meditative. It should have held up, but it had a problem. With no major studio push to restore and re-release the Hubley films, many of the old prints simply yellowed, even as the Disney and Warner classics were reborn for a new era. By the ‘90s, it was hard to recognize a lot of the Hubleys’ cartoons.
Windy Day endured it better than some, but the general public couldn’t see its full beauty. At least until March of last year, when the Criterion Channel started to stream a restored copy. It’s one of several Hubley films to get this treatment.
Seeing Windy Day in good quality is a revelation. The aging effect that the old prints had on it — that’s gone. All that remains is a timeless, immortal cartoon.
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