Three years in the making, Lotte Reiniger’s beautiful 1926 silhouette animation, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, brings to life magical tales from the Arabian Nights. The earliest surviving animated feature film – preserved in the BFI National Archive – it has been hailed as one of the world’s most innovative and influential animations. On 19 August 2013, the BFI releases The Adventures of Prince Achmed on Blu-ray for the first time, in a Dual Format Edition with a newly recorded narration and the original orchestral score, along with a selection of Lotte Reiniger’s short films.
Handsome young Prince Achmed is brave and eager for adventure, so when the most powerful sorcerer in the world challenges him to fly a magic horse, Achmed plunges headlong into a series of exciting escapades that take him from Baghdad to China via the enchanted spirit lands of Wak-Wak.
Made in card, cut entirely by hand, and then manipulated using sheets of lead joined by wires, Reiniger’s exquisite shadow characters move intricately through colourful worlds of demons, witches, beautiful princesses and flying castles. The incredible talent and creativity shown here has influenced the animation in other films including Snow White, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Sword in the Stone.
Charlotte "Lotte" Reiniger was a German film maker and the foremost pioneer of silhouette animation. Reiniger made more than 40 films over her career, she created the oldest surviving feature-length animated film, preceding Walt Disney's feature-length Snow White by over ten years.