Ivanov-Vano, who'd been one of Russia's foremost animators since 1927, brought forth his first feature-length cartoon, The Hunchback Pony, in 1947. When the film was released in the U.S. in 1949, its title had been toned down to The Magic Horse. Based on an ancient legend, the 57-minute production weaves a wondrous tale about a young boy who is blessed with supernatural powers. To test his skills, the Czar orders the boy to perform a series of "impossible" feats. This he does with the help of the talking, flying horse of the title. The film's visual design owes more to traditional Russian-peasant artwork than it does to the so-called "Disney School".
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