More Brothers Quay scarcities


Look What the Cat Drug In (Long Way Down) (1992).

More short films by the Brothers Quay that haven’t yet appeared on their DVDs. Look What the Cat Drug In is a music video for Michael Penn that I was unable to find last time I did a YouTube trawl. It’s a good one.


Dolls (1994).

A 30-second warning about the perils of AIDS, made for the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Watch for the bizarre detail of a puppet snorting coke. The Quays made a lot of commercials and idents during the 1990s but few of them surface.


Black Soul Choir (1996).

A music video for 16 Horsepower featuring animated nails and pieces of chalk.


Alice in Not So Wonderland (2008).

Another short warning—climate change this time—made for Live Earth. How much of the message makes it through the surrealism is debatable but it’s good to see the Quays’ take on Lewis Carroll.


The Metamorphosis (2012).

Mikhaïl Rudy plays a piano piece by Leos Janácek (the subject of an earlier Quays film) while Gregor Samsa deals with his traumatic awakening. The previous scarcities post found a trailer for this piece which apparently runs for 33 minutes. The version linked here is only the first 5 minutes but it gives a better idea of the film as a whole.

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The Quay Brothers archive

Brothers Quay scarcities


Igor: The Paris Years (1982).

More animation, and scarce in the sense that some of these films were omitted from the core Quay Brothers canon released in the UK by the BFI as Quay Brothers: The Short Films 1979-2003. Quay obsessives such as myself would have been happy to pay for an extra disc featuring more of their oeuvre but we can at least turn to YouTube to fill in some gaps. This is by no means everything so I may add more discoveries at a later date. Some of the DVD-issued films can be seen on the BFI’s official Daily Motion channel.

I was eager to see the Stravinsky film again having watched it one time only in a Channel 4 screening some 25 years ago. After a fresh viewing it’s not as impressive as I remembered, in part because the Quay’s distinctive approach to animation—and filmmaking generally—developed a great deal following the unforgettable Street of Crocodiles (1986). Igor: The Paris Years concerns the composer’s relationship with Jean Cocteau and Vladimir Mayakovsky, all of whom are animated as cut-out figures in a Modernist cityscape with The Rite of Spring playing on a piano.


Leos Janácek: Intimate Excursions (1983). Part 2 is here.

In a similar vein, but more successful, is this portrait of Czech composer Leos Janácek. This uses the same cut-out character style but places the composer in Eastern European settings similar (down to the floating tram pantographs) to those seen in the very first Quay film, Nocturna Artificialia (1979). Among the other puppet characters there’s one figure singing an aria who later appears as Enkidu in This Unnameable Little Broom (1985).


Old Piano (1988).

A very short (and poor quality) ident for MTV.

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